Nikozi Animated Film Festival to kick-off in early September

Nikozi Animated Film Festival to kick-off in early September


The third International Nikozi Animated Film Festival has some nice surprises in store for its guests this year. From September 2-8, the village of Nikozi, located near the central Georgian town of Gori, will again host directors and animators who will come to display their work.

Initiated by Nikozi and Tskhinvali Orthodox Christian eparchy, the festival is being held with the generous assistance of the Georgian Ministry of Culture and the National Film Center.

According to the organizers, there is no special requirement to participate in the festival. Nikozi completely excludes the concept of competition. In fact, it’s not important how long ago the film was produced. The festival welcomes seasoned directors, as well as amateur filmmakers. The idea behind the festival is to showcase individual creativity, not to have a contest.

The festival boasts an interesting history. In 1995 Bishop Isaiah (Chanturia) became the ruling hierarch of the Nikozi Diocese. Prior to becoming involved in the church, he worked as a cartoonist. Metropolitan Isaiah studied at the Art College and then continued his studies at Tbilisi State’s Shota Rustaveli Theatre Film Department specializing in art-animation. Over the years, he worked in an animated films studio. His graduate degree project was a 10-minute animated film based on Georgian rhyming proverbs.

At the monastery, he organized a small animation studio, which was destroyed together with several other buildings during Georgia’s tragic August War of 2008. Later, the studio was restored with the help of representatives of some of Georgia’s friends from allied countries. Hence, the Nikozi Art School was founded. Today the students of this school study animation along with other forms of art.

“Animation is one of the finest forms of art. In the hands of an artist, animation can be transformed into a supreme art that touches the souls and hearts of all human beings,” said Metropolitan Isaiah of Tskhinvali and Nikozi.

Director-animator Yuri Norstein does not hide his enthusiasm regarding the last two festivals held in Nikozi. “This festival is a courageous response to the ongoing destruction and misfortune [in the country],” he said, “Any pieces of art, whether they are chants, a fresco or painting, sewn shoes or a film, infuses our souls with the fullness of being.”

According to Norstein, Nikozi represents the smile of love. “It is easier to restore the bombed houses than it is to cure an emotional shock sometimes,” he says. “This festival is a spiritual healer, showing that justice, hope and the beauty of life can help restore peace of mind.”

This year, animation directors from Russia, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, the US and Belarus have been invited to the festival.

Along with showing films, Nikozi will welcome the painting exhibition of famous Italian screenwriter, Tonino Guera, as well as the music of Georgian composer Teimuraz Bakurdze, pianist Nana Khubutia and the Anchiskhati Cathedral Choir. During the festival the filmmakers will present their work and will also conduct master classes.

The festival’s organizers will provide transportation for all interested guests.

By Eka Karsaulidze