COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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The establishment of the LEPL National Centre for Georgian Books in 2014 is important for the promotion of the publishing sector in Georgia.

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Georgia/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes

In Georgia, the culture industries are in the process of development and have not yet been formally established, nor properly defined and analysed. Private companies offering cultural items and services (publishing houses, periodicals, providers of audio cassettes and CDs etc.), as a rule, are independent from state cultural policy and operate without any government support. Nevertheless, there are some partnerships between the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia and some companies engaged in the publishing business, concert activity etc. but, in general, the relations of central and local authorities with public agencies may be described as sporadic. The contacts between them are limited to non-permanent cultural events and projects.

Publishing

Georgia is one of the leading countries in the world to produce the most books per capita, claims the International Publishers Association. Georgia made it into the top 5 book producing countries with 1 547 titles per million people, while big countries such as the United States and China ranked only 12th and 25th respectively.

The establishment of the LEPL National Centre for Georgian Books (http://www.book.gov.ge) in 2014 is important for the promotion of the publishing sector in Georgia.

In 2014 the National Centre for Georgian Books, supported by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, announced three translation programmes that are intended for foreign and Georgian publishing houses. They are aimed at promotion of the translation of both Georgian literature into foreign languages and foreign literature into Georgian and publishing of translated books.

  • The programme "Georgian Literature in Translation" is intended for foreign publishers that wish to translate and publish Georgian literature into foreign languages.
  • The programme "Foreign Literature in Georgian Translation" is intended for publishers that wish to translate and publish foreign literature into the Georgian language.
  • The "Trial Translation Programme" is intended for translators, publishers and literary agents that wish to translate Georgian literature into German and English languages. These translations will then be offered to foreign publishers for publishing abroad.

Professional seminars in international rights and publishing management for Georgian publishers were held in September 2014, under the initiative and support of the National Centre for Georgian Books, as well as the Goethe Institute, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Some state programmes are open to the private sector on a competition basis, for example with regard to the publication of books, where competition is open to all publishing houses regardless of their ownership. However, the selection of a winner is not effective in all cases as the criteria for selection is not adequately specified and this affects the decision-making process. Often selection in these competitions is not transparent.

The Tax Code of Georgia specifies some preferences for the importation of scientific, creative editions and fiction, books and periodicals where the authors are citizens of Georgia as well as for the importation of Georgian classics published abroad. Guidelines are also set for the distribution, import, sale and printing of periodicals and fiction. The state supports publishing activities through governmental programmes. The publishing sector is developed more effectively than the cinema and showbiz sector which require a more powerful and stable economy and larger market than is available in Georgia. Until now the attempts to introduce an industrial model of development for the folk art and handicrafts sector in the context of the development of cultural tourism have not been successful.

Film Production

There is a significant need to develop Georgian film production and distribution. The leading force in Georgian cinema is the film studio "Gruzia-Film", where 90% of the production capacities and cinematography staff are concentrated, and where most national films are produced. Some years ago the film studio was privatised and today it holds a special status in that two-thirds of the shares are held by the state. Today it is recognised by those working in the film industry that the privatisation process was managed incorrectly, as it has brought no investment and the studio is in a more difficult situation than previously.

In 2001, in order to rescue the cinema industry, the Ministry of Culture established the National Film Centre (http://www.filmcenter.ge/) which, to some extent, drove the reforms in the film sphere. The Fund for the Development of Georgian Cinema was also established with the aim of joining together cinematography forces in the country. However, the state still fails to meet the needs of film production.

The situation in the film distribution network is poor as well. Only 4-5 cinema theatres in Georgia meet modern standards. One of the main problems in the operation of cinemas is the piracy operating in private TV companies (which show dozens of unauthorised films each day), despite the active work of the Georgian National Communications Committee. Another issue of concern is the dominance of American films which must be addressed by developing and propagating Georgian national and European cinema with the help of public television companies.

However, in recent years there have been a few positive moves in the film industry, including 6 international film festivals. Currently there are about 60 film and television, video and audio studios and about 20 NGOs operating in the field of cinematography. The portals http://www.geocinema.ge and http://www.geoscript have been created.

Cross-Border Cinema Culture (CBCC) is a new pilot project within the Kyiv Initiative carried out in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The project aim: support and development film production.

http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/Regional/Kyiv/CBCC/Default_en.asp

Under commission by the Georgian National Film Centre, the "GeoGraphic" Company produced an electronic guide-book for film producers, which presents Georgia as a film friendly country. Information placed on the compact disc is in English and broken down in three sections such as: "Locations", "Film Making" and "About Georgia". The "Film Making" section contains information on film organisations, funds, educational institutions, film festivals, TV companies, movie theatres and film studios of Georgia, as well as brief review of Georgian film history. The "About Georgia" section presents general information about the country, its maps and regions, transport routes and tourism, as well as other useful information for foreign guests. Two laws, Law on State Support for Georgian Cinema and Law on Copyright and Allied Rights can be found in the same section.

To promote the film industry, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia initiated an amendment to the Tax Code of Georgia which will mean that producers that obtain funding from the National Film Centre will be charged income tax only after the release of a film. Under the previous regulation, the funds allocated from the state budget were charged tax before the release of a film, which hindered film producers in their use of the funds. Film producers have been also authorised to charge the 100% depreciation on the released film as an intangible asset. Amendments to the Tax Code came into effect on 1 January 2015 in the form of additions to paragraphs 65, 66, 67 of Article 309 (see chapter 5).

Development and Training

Until now, attempts to introduce an industrial sector development model into the folklore and crafts sector (in order to further develop cultural tourism) were in vain.

However, there are single cases of positive practice:

  • in terms of the cultural industries, Georgian educational institutions and programmes offer training in the telecommunications and advertising business e.g. the Georgian Telecommunication and Management Institute LAMPARI and the Institute of Media, Advertising and Arts; and
  • the Shota Rustaveli State University of Theatre and Film and the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts provide various courses which aim to train workers for the cultural industries (e.g. leather and fabric designers, clip makers etc.).

However, the lack of appropriate integration into the industrial process (due to the current crisis in the Georgian economy and inadequate development of the cultural industries) and inadequate practical studies in these sectors minimise the chances for postgraduate employment. The situation is aggravated with the total disintegration of the vocational training system the new Law on Vocational Education (2007) has not been put fully into effect yet (see chapter 5 and chapter 8.3).

Recently, the list of the Creative Industry events taking place in Georgia has increased. The Creative Industries and Crafts Development Programme is one of the Georgian Art and Culture Centre's (GACC) main activities.

The GACC helps to facilitate international exhibitions of Georgian cultural goods, as well as developing the local market within Georgia. The GACC provides local marketing, competitions and sales through the Christmas Gift Fairs and the GACC Gift Shop <gift Shop/GalleryFR.htm>.

The new project "Development of Cultural Industries in the South Caucasus Countries through the introduction of the UK experience" is being organised within the framework of the British Council's "Creative Collaboration" programme which was launched in April 2009. The project will focus on cooperation between museums and producers in the partner countries - Armenia, Turkey, Georgia and the UK in the field of cultural industries, namely museum reproductions and traditional crafts that serve as a source for creative exchanges and economic benefits - not only for cultural institutions, but also for individual producers, artists and artisans. The long term goal of the project is to turn these craft traditions into creative and business joint ventures, using the extensive expertise and experience of the UK and other western countries.

The development of the creative industries is one of the priorities of the newly declared entrepreneurial cultural policy. In summer 2010, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia initiated an innovative project aimed at the promotion and development of the gaming industry in Georgia. Within this ministry, a special studio has been created to work on 3D games technology.


Chapter published: 26-01-2016

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