Georgian director Ana Kvichidze is in production with her first feature documentary, the Georgian/French coproduction “Heart, Don’t Be Afraid.” The film is supported by the Georgian National Film Center and France’s CNC, Film New Europe reports.
Vardo lives alone and unlike the witches from the fairytales, she is a kind character. She was a popular “magician” years ago, but now her livelihood is mainly pension money and food brought by neighbors. With the help of her spells, the film examines the lives of everyone in the village and witnesses their plight, from young women who have reproductive problems to families who are losing the last of their livelihood.
“I fell in love with witchcraft because of my grandmother, who was a spellcaster in our village. People came for spells and healing to her. I inherited spells and recipes from her,” Ana Kvichidze told FNE. “I want to relate the style of the film to magical realism. The magic of Vardo is not visible, but it can be felt through the visuals and colors. I would also like to illustrate the various rituals performed by her, which are both absurd and mystical.”
The location of the film covers the Lechkhumi region. Filming began in November 2021. “About half of the film has already been shot and the production process is planned to be completed in October/November 2022. We have distributor candidates, but we have not made the final decision in this regard and we are open to all offers and interest (distributor, sales agent or coproducer),” Kvichidze said.
The film is produced by Mariam Bitsadze and Ana Kvichidze through 17/07 Productions in Georgia and coproduced by Stéphane Jourdain through La Huit in France.
“Heart, Don’t Be Afraid” is the winner of the Georgian National Film Center’s 2020 Project Development Competition and the 2021 Documentary Film Funding Competition (20,000 Euros/60,000 GEL). It is also supported by the French CNC with 40,000 Euros.
The total budget is 100,000 Euros/300,000 GEL.
“This is a special project for me. The idea and storytelling are unique and I consider the involvement of the director as a main asset; she knows exactly what to shoot and how to achieve her goals as a documentary filmmaker. This is a wonderful story, which actually describes the hard social life of the village and its inhabitants. Our main goal is to bring this story to the audience, who will come up with their own conclusions,” Bitsadze told FNE.
Kvichidze studied feature film directing at the Shota Rustaveli theater and film department of the Georgia State University. She has worked on films and TV shows as a script supervisor, casting director and assistant director. Her first short fiction film “Downpour” was inspired by Georgian folk tales and mythology. She has also directed two short documentaries, “Magic Recipes of Deniza” and “Madona and Upside-down Moon,” which is inspired by charmers and legends from the mountains of Georgia.
Macedonian TV Series ‘Clear Water’ in Production
Director Jani Bojadzi is filming the drama thriller TV series “Clear Water” (Bistra voda) at several locations in Skopje, North Macedonia. The shoot started June 2 and runs to July 31. The 12 episode series is produced by Macedonian Cinnamon Media Factory in coproduction with Macedonian Alfa TV.
“Clear Water” unravels the secret intrigues of business, crime and high politics, presented through the prism of two families and a 45-year-old conflict.
The project was started 12 years ago as an idea of the late Ljupcho Todorovski Upa, Moni Damevski, Jani Bojadzi and Vladimir Karpuzovski, and it has been developed and prepared in the last few years. Dejan Milosevski is the executive producer.
The main characters are played by Dejan Lilic, Jelena Zugic, Vasil Zafircev, Aleksandar Mikic, Robert Veljanovski and Zoran Ljutkov, and the cast consists of more than 100 actors.
The series will be filmed on more than 50 locations in Skopje, but also throughout the country.
“Clear Water” will start airing in mid-September 2022 on Alfa TV.
Multi-national TV Series ‘Estonia’ Shoots in Belgium
The TV drama series “Estonia,” a coproduction between Finland, Estonia, Belgium and Sweden, is shooting in Belgium.
“Estonia” tells the story of the tragic events of Sept. 28, 1994, when the MS Estonia ferry sank in the Baltic Sea, taking 852 lives. The series is budgeted at 13 million Euros and is set to be broadcast as eight 45-minute episodes or four 90-minute episodes.
The showrunner is Miikko Oikonen from Finland, and Swedish Måns Månsson and Finnish Juuso Syrjä are directing.
The series is produced by Fisher King Oy from Finland in coproduction with Estonia’s Amrion, Belgium’s Panache Productions and Kärnfilm from Sweden. The producers are Tarja Ahava (Finland), Lina Ehrenpreis (Sweden) and Elina Litvinova (Estonia). Matti Halonen (Finland), Johannes Lassila (Finland), Martina Stöhr (Sweden), Petra Jönsson (Sweden), Riina Sildos (Estonia) and André Logie (Belgium) are executive producers.
MTV/CMore and the Scandinavian, Finnish and Belgian national film funds are supporting the project.
Estonia is prominently represented in the creative aspects of the series, with Andris Feldmanis and Livia Ulman involved as screenwriters, Jaanus Vahtra as costume designer, Kaire Hendrikson as make-up designer, Matis Mäesalu and Eva Maria Gramakovski as set designers, as well as several actors like Gert Raudsep, Priit Pius and Juhan Ulfsak in key roles.
The shoot started in Belgium on May 30, 2022. The production is planned to continue until Oct. 30, 2022 with locations in Belgium, Turkey, Estonia, Finland and Sweden. The Estonian parts will be filmed from Aug. 10 to Sept. 9.
Germany’s Beta Film is handling the sales.
This article is published in partnership with online news service Film New Europe, which covers film and TV industry news from across Central and Eastern Europe.