Andro Sakvarelidze and Giga Chkheidze from Georgia received an award from the Hubert Bals Fund - the Rotterdam International Film Festival's fund for filmmakers from developing countries - at the Golden Apricot International Film Festival in Yerevan, Armenia. The filmmakers received five thousand euros for their Washington film project.
Sakvarelidze and Chkheidze presented their project in July 2008 at the DAB Regional Co-Production Forum, a 'market' where filmmakers from the Caucasus and surrounding countries have the opportunity to interest possible collaboration partners in their projects.
Washington is a film created using archive material, animation and fiction, about a young boy who is fascinated by the portrait of Washington on a dollar bill. In his fantasy, he begins having a conversation with Washington; together they travel to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and to Munich, among other places. During their travels, they discover that developed and less developed countries share the same problems: an obsession with money and a lack of real human contact.
Sakvarelidze is enthusiastic about the co-production market. "Filmmaking is quite difficult in Georgia. In the Soviet Union, there was a great deal of support for the film industry from the state. The Georgian Film Institute has considerably less money. It is only in the last few years that the film industry has begun to develop a bit again. International support is extremely important for this. The co-production market has really helped us, because we have been able to exchange experiences with interesting filmmakers from countries that are also experiencing a lot of problems and to receive extremely valuable advice from them. And thanks to the award – a first and important step toward making our dream come true - possible partners are more interested in our project."
The co-production market was organised by the Gold Apricot Fund for Cinema Development and Directors Across Borders (DAB), a regional filmmaker's cooperative. It was created in 2006, based on the idea that cinema is a unique tool for improving mutual relationships between people throughout the entire region. With the HBF Award, the Hubert Bals Fund is supporting the co-production market and the development of film in the region.