Two years ago, hopes ran high that Georgia's once-celebrated film industry was finally on the cusp of a comeback. Now, with little sign of an economic upturn in sight, filmmakers tend to be pessimistic about the future. Many are hoping the beleaguered and distracted Georgian government will come to the rescue. A few, however, say hopes for a revival will depend on filmmakers' own ability to adapt to the times, paying attention not only to cinematic style, but also to managing costs and marketing.
"In 10 years, everything has been destroyed," filmmaker Nana Janelidze, a scriptwriter for the 1987 glasnost sensation "Repentance," said in a phone interview from Tbilisi. "To develop again, it will take years and years. We need money and the desire, and no one's interested in that."
Younger, more market-oriented directors blame that failure on an inability to realize that filmmaking depends as much on business savvy as artistic acumen. Other filmmakers, who gained acclaim during the Soviet era, still look to the government to pick up the slack, arguing that just like Georgian tourism or wine -- the state has a responsibility to promote a national industry.
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Elizabeth Owen is a freelance writer specializing in political issues in the Caucasus.