National film center aims to attract funding

Curators of Georgia’s film archive are hoping to boost the prospects of preserving and restoring the country’s early movies after its national film center became an associate member of the Intl. Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).

The Brussels-based organization, founded in 1938, unites 149 film archives through its 84 members and 65 associate members in 77 countries.

Although it does not provide funding for restoration, membership offers access to advice and consultancy.

“We are a small department and need to raise our profile,” said Nino Dzandzava, an archivist with the Georgian National Film Center’s film heritage department. “We see membership of FIAF as a way to attract more attention — and hopefully government assistance — for our projects.”

Georgia has few professional film restorers and lacks experience in archive management, and FIAF can help, she added.

Membership should also improve contacts with Russia’s state film archives, where many original prints of Soviet-era Georgian films are held.

Efforts to restore early silent films shot in Georgia have already begun, Dzandzava said. Last year Georgia received a $20,000 UNESCO grant to protect four films shot between 1923 and 1931, including Vladimir Barsky’s “Arsena the Brigand” (1923) and Nikoloz Kakhidze’s “The Young Pilot” (1928). New prints of the silent films, accompanied by piano, were screened in December at the ninth Tbilisi Film Festival.

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