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Source: Levan Kalmakhelidze

The first Eliso awards ceremony

Elene Naveriani’s Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry, starring Eka Chavleishvili as a woman navigating the prospect of growing older on her own, headed the winners at the inaugural Eliso awards, the new national film awards ceremony for Georgia.

Naveriani won best director, with Chavleishvili  taking the best actress prize. 

Ani Mogeladze received a special mention for her performance in the film; as did Nina Eradze for her role in Liza Go On.

Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2023. 

Lomero Akhvlediani won the best cinematography prize for work on Luka Beradze’s documentary Smiling Georgia. The film also received a special mention for best ensemble.

Further special mentions went to Mariam Chachia and Nik Voight’s Magic Mountain, for outstanding documentary storytelling and for Anna Dziapshipa’s Self-Portrait Along The Borderline for best editing.

Language professor Mzekala Shanidze won the Nato Vachnadze award, given to a woman for achievement in her field. 

The ceremony was held at the Nato Vachnadze House Museum in Gurjaani, Georgia on Friday, June 14. The prizes were chosen by a jury consisting of casting director Dixie Chassay, and filmmakers Taki Mumladze (also an actress), Tato Kotetishvili, Babak Jalali and Nino Orjonikidze.

The awards were founded by London-based Georgian actress Natalia Jugheli, a great-granddaughter of Nato Vachnadze, an early Georgian film icon after whom the Nato Vachnadze Foundation is named. Eliso [English-language title: Caucasian Love] is a feature directed by Vachnadze’s husband, leading Georgian filmmaker Nikoloz Shengelaia.

Backers for the ceremony included TBC Bank, Tegeta, Coca-Cola, Tegeta Cars, Concierge Tbilisi and the Gurjaani Municipality. The Foundation is looking to expand beyond the three official awards for its future editions.