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‘Blind Dates’ Wins Project Prize in Karlovy Vary

Blossoming Georgian biz produces another promising project

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Rep. — The Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s Works in Progress Award has gone to tragicomedy “Blind Dates” from Georgia, which has replaced Romania as the rising star among European film industries.

The pic is helmed by Levan Koguashvili, who also produced, alongside Olena Yershova and Suliko Tsulukidze. Koguashvili and Boris Frumin penned the script.

Yershova, who presented the project at the fest, was awarded a check from Prague’s Barrandov Studios for Euros 10,000 ($13,000) in post-production services.

Koguashvili’s last film “Street Days” was in competition at the Rotterdam Fest in 2010, and was the Georgian entry for the foreign-language film Oscar.

“Blind Dates,” which has a budget of Euro 650,000 ($846,000), is set to be released in September with an eye to a berth at a major fall fest.

The pic centers on Sandro, a 40-year-old Tbilisi teacher, who still lives with his parents. He has little luck with the women he looks up on dating sites, but then meets hairdresser Manana, and falls in love. However, she turns out to be married and her husband, Tengo, is an ex con.

“In Georgia, despite all the wars, misery and constant political and social problems, the people are warm-hearted,” Yershova said. “In our pragmatic and often cold times, the warmth of human relationships helps.”

The jury, which comprised Keiko Funato of Paris-based sales company Alpha Violet, Mira Staleva of the Sofia Film Festival and Sofia Meetings in Bulgaria, and Czech producer Pavel Strnad of Negativ, commented: “All projects were blind dates for the jury, and we selected this film because of the director’s strong vision, sense of humor and brilliant minimalistic acting when portraying the delicacy of human relationships.”

Nineteen projects were chosen to compete out of 56 entries.

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