Georgian Film Academy cancels screenings of film “Taming the Garden”, about Ivanishvili’s tree collecting hobby

Georgia: The Georgian Film Academy has cancelled screenings of Salome Jashi's documentary Taming the Garden, which tells the narrative of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the country's unofficial ruler and ex-Prime Minister, and his passion for replanting centuries-old trees in his arboretum.

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Georgian Film Academy cancels screenings of film
Georgian Film Academy cancels screenings of film "Taming the Garden", about Ivanishvili's tree collecting hobby

Georgia: The Georgian Film Academy has canceled screenings of Salome Jashi’s documentary Taming the Garden, which tells the narrative of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the country’s unofficial ruler and ex-Prime Minister, and his passion for replanting centuries-old trees in his arboretum.

According to the filmmaker, the head of the Georgian Film Academy, Mindia Esadze, referred to the film as “a work that provokes controversy and divides society for political reasons,” and the screening at the Cinema House in Tbilisi was cancelled for this on this basis.

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The director wrote on Facebook that there would be only one showing at the Cinema House.

“The film doesn’t mention the politics of Georgia, which in fact, has been the reason for criticism toward the film. And even if it would show more of Georgian politics, why is this a problem for the officially independent Film Academy?” Salome Jashi wrote.

Taming the Garden was also nominated for a prize at the Sundance International Film Festival and participated in the Forum, one of the sections of the Cannes Film Festival, in addition to the European Film Academy Award nomination.

The Films which are directed by Salome Jashi were, The Leader is Always Right, Their Helicopter, Bakhmaro and Swimming.

Artists in Georgia have previously expressed their dissatisfaction with censorship and political involvement.

After the appointment of former Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani, the protest against Georgia’s Minister of Culture became permanent.

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A protest rally in front of the Ministry of Culture was held in January with the slogan “Glory to the party for exposing the enemies of culture.”

The demonstration was incited by several recent scandals associated with the ministry, including the decision to demolish a historic Art Museum building and lay off opposing personnel, as well as a scandal involving a book produced by the Literary Museum.

A part of society sees political repressions, as well as attempts at censorship and prosecution of dissidents.

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