Helmer turns topical with 'Dream' project

Director Renny Harlin has seen a lot — and shot almost as much — since breaking out of his native Finland with the action film “Born American” in 1986.

He’s seen his name spelled out in fireworks over the skies of Cannes for the release of the Sylvester Stallone blockbuster “Cliffhanger,” seen his films like “Die Hard 2″ top the box office charts around the world and he’s seen the other end of the charts with large-scale misfires like “Cutthroat Island.”

Now he’s made a torn-from-the-headlines thriller called “Georgia” that Harlin calls “the fulfillment of a dream I had.”

The pic is set in Georgia during the brief but horrifically violent conflict with Russia less than two years ago, and Harlin likens the project to his experience producing 1991’s “Rambling Rose,” in that it is “one of those projects that are smaller and very interesting but very hard to put together in Hollywood.”

Thanks to producers George Lascu of Rexmedia and Mirza Davitaia, Harlin got his dream project together, and he’ll be showing a 15-minute promo reel at the European Film Market in Berlin.

Owing to the assistance of the Georgian authorities, Harlin can boast that “there is no CGI” in this big-scale actioner and that what’s on the screen — a sky filled with jets and helicopters, dozens of battle tanks and thousands of extras — is real.

It has the breathtaking beauty of the country as well as re-creations of the devastation caused by the war that tore the country apart.

Harlin’s budget on “Georgia” was a little over $12 million; cast includes Val Kilmer, Andy Garcia, Rupert Friend and Emmanuelle Chriqui.

“There are so many problems in the world today that I think an adventure film on the subject is perhaps better than a documentary, because it means that viewers can get drawn into the human story but come away learning something that isn’t on page one of the newspapers this week.”

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