For the first time in the history of independent Georgia a film fell foul of the censors: According to an official letter from the Ministry of Culture, all state-funded cultural institutions were no longer permitted to host screenings of the film. This was enforced by the Georgian Film Academy; earlier this year several pro-government cultural institutions proceeded, one after the other, to cancel screenings of Jashi's film without explanation. The response was an active campaign of solidarity including film talks and protest actions, a price the powers that be were willing to pay however: here, the reputation of influential billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili was at stake. Over the course of several years, Jashi used her camera to track the progress of this large-scale dendrological project playing out in the west of the country, capturing on film the transformation undergone by the landscape of an entire region. How is it that nature becomes a commodity? Can economic interests prevail not only over the environment, but even over myth and legend?
Text: Irine Beridze
English: Peter Rickerby
Glad-House: original version with English subtitles + German simultaneous translation
Goga Devdariani, Salomé Jashi
Salomé Jaschi - Salomé Jashi was born in 1981 in Tbilisi, Georgia. She first studied journalism and worked as a reporter for several years. In 2005, she received a scholarship from the British Council to study documentary film at Royal Holloway, University of London. Salomé's The Dazzling Light of Sunset (2016) won the top prize at Visions du Réel's Regard Neuf competition, as well as at ZagrebDox, JihlavaIDFF, Valdivia IDFF and several other festivals. Her earlier work, Bakhmaro (2011), co-produced with ma.ja.de. filmproduktion and MDR/Arte, received an Honorable Mention for a Young Documentary Talent at DOK Leipzig, was awarded Best Central and Eastern European Documentary at Jihlava IDFF and was nominated for Asia Pacific Screen Awards and Silver Eye Awards. Salomé is the founder of two production companies: SakdocFilm and Microcosmos, both of which produce documentaries and feature films of high artistic quality. She was a recipient of the Nipkow Fellowship in 2017 and the DAADArtists-in-Berlin program in 2020.