NY Elite Exclusive Interview with the brilliant George Varsimashvili, Screenwriter, Film Director and Photographer

George Varsimashvili:  – screenwriter, film director and photographer

George Varsimashvili is a talented Georgian writer and director born in Tbilisi in 1986. After graduating university in Georgia, he went to study film making in Paris 8 university (bachelor’s and master’s degree) and ESRA Paris film school. During his studies he made a dozen of short films, which traveled on different film festivals. He shot his graduation feature film “Particulier a Particulier” in Although film was only a graduation movie, it was still released in film theatres in France, Russia and Georgia. In 2016 he made a film for the Georgian public television “Dzmebi Qalaqshi” and following year directed a short film “Schody” in Poland. In 2019 he was invited by Bela Tarr to direct a short film in Switzerland, which was premiered at Locarno film festival in 2019. In August 2019 George moved to Germany where he made a short film “Das Opfer”. In 2020 he became an artist for the light equipment manufacturer Dedolight.

Films:
2019 Das Opfer (short, Germany)
2019 Under the God. Segment: La Scelta (short, Switzerland)
2017 Schody (short, Poland)
2016 Dzmebi Qalaqshi (TV Movie, Georgia)
2014 Iko Erti Katsi (Short, Georgia)
2013 Particulier à particulier (Feature, France)
2012 À vous la parole (Documentary short, France)
2011 Les faux-amis (TV Movie, France)
2010 Aukhdeneli Otsneba (Short, Georgia).

Education
• Locarno Academy (2017) : Documentary.
• ESRA Paris (2014) : Film direction.
• Paris 8 University (2013) : Master’s degree in film direction.
• Paris 8 University (2011): Licence cinema.

NY Elite Exclusive Interview with the brilliant George Varsimashvili, Screenwriter, Film Director and Photographer

NY Elite: Congratulations on being an ISC finalist. What does it mean for your work to be selected at the International Screenwriting Competition in New York?

George Varsimashvili:  It’s a great honor to be here. Everyone wants to be part of New York festivals, almost two thousand writers have sent the application and to be in the final is a great feeling. Now I have a label that the project was selected in NY and it opens many doors worldwide. When I send the project to the funds, they’ll pay attention to this. Besides, when the movie is ready, I’ll send it here and they’ll say: hey this is the script we liked, let’s see what came out.  

NY Elite: Can you tell us about the work that you participated with at ISC? What is the story about?

George Varsimashvili:  When I was kid, we had the telephone info center. You dialed a number and a lady would answer any question you had. I decided to write a fairy tale about a kid, who discovers this service and asks childish questions. On the other side, we hear the same lady give lessons of wisdom to him. Thought the script we grow up with this child and once’s he’s adult and doesn’t believe in magical telephones, his childhood souvenirs will find him.

NY Elite: Can you tell us yourself and your artistic talents?

George Varsimashvili:  I’m mainly a writer, but sometimes I direct as well. I also like taking pictures and my recent photo album took part in NY Nil Gallery exhibition this year. So, I’m very happy to be presented here with two projects at the same time.

NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?

George Varsimashvili:  Maybe a dozen, some have been made as film, some are still looking for support. I had to transform one of my favorite scripts into a novel, because it was too expensive to make the movie. The book is called “Enemies of the People” and it’s a love story during Stalin Terror. It was sold out before even entering the bookstores and now we are printing for the shops. That’s probably my biggest achievement.

NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?

George Varsimashvili:  The first film I worked on was the most memorable. It was called “Chantrapas” and was directed by Otar Iosseliani, who is the legend of European cinema. I also loved to work with Bela Tarr, who was my mentor at a workshop in Switzerland. We all love student projects and one was particularly important in my career. I was a camera operator and we were filming a short film with the kid and a dog, plus director who was yelling all the time. It’s very hard to work with kids and animals and when both are there, it’s a nightmare. The director got fed up and left the movie during the shoot, so we ended up with only 2/3 of material. Then we received scan from the lab and one reel was completely overexposed and the other underexposed. So, we had 1/3 of the film available, but everything was too dark. No one wanted to finish the movie, so I took all parts and edited it. In the end, there was a movie, not a masterpiece of course, but it looked like an okay film. That was a great experience, because we managed to cope with all possible issues.

NY Elite: What type of scripts do you want to write in your career?

George Varsimashvili:  I think that good film is the one that makes you a better person. You should have something to say to the audience, but the script should also be entertaining. Also let’s not forget that we work in the industry of emotions, so the best combination would be the mixture of entertainment, philosophy and emotions.

NY Elite: As a writer, what is the most important aspect of building a character?

George Varsimashvili:  They should have a weakness. Even the strongest man in the world named Achilles had a weakness. We love characters who want to achieve something, but find it hard to do.

NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?

George Varsimashvili:  First of all, this short film, which I really want to shoot this year. That’s my priority. Another goal is to find the editor and translate my novel in English. I think that the story could be interesting for the foreign audience.

NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?

George Varsimashvili:  I’m taking pictures, when I’m tired of writing. My recent album is exhibited at NY Nil Gallery right now, so you can also have a look. These captured beautiful mountains and hope with this pictures audience will travel in these areas.

NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking/writing?

George Varsimashvili:  Believe in yourself and never give up. It’s going to be very hard, but those people who truly love their stories will always succeed.

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