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.
The development of the creative industries is one of the priorities of the declared entrepreneurial cultural policy (2010). 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.
The development of creative industries was significantly promoted by the Culture Strategy 2025 (approved in 2016), which is based on intensive use of expert methods.
The 6th of 8 strategic areas of the “Culture Strategy 2025” is “Creative Industries”:
“Chapter II: Strategic Goals
Goal 6. Creative Industries
Goal: Creative industries represent an important source for job creation, economic growth and innovation, it is a competitive sphere of activity.
6.1. Objective: Creative industries in Georgia have a favourable environment for development, the output of higher quality and competitive products and services is increased.
- Perform mapping of the current state of the creative industries, evaluate their economic importance and potential (e.g. analysis of companies’ operations, turnover, employment, exports, etc.), in order to design an effective system for the attraction of investments;
- Establish a supplementary public programme – “Creative Georgia” in order to develop creative industries with different mechanisms (e.g. implementation of awareness raising campaigns, creation of specific training opportunities, development of creative incubators, stimulation of exports, etc.);
- Create and strengthen organisations (e.g. Crafts Council) concerned with the business-oriented development of different sub-sectors of culture in order to support professional development, intersectoral dialogue and internationalisation of the cultural sector in question;
- Raise financial power of creative industries on the one hand by creating sector-specific funding programmes, initiatives and system of incentives and, on the other hand, by raising awareness about relevant national and international funds and programmes;
- Modernise/create appropriate spaces for creative industries; offer outdated, dysfunctional and unused buildings (factories, warehouses, etc.) to creative industries in order to stimulate the materialisation of their creative and innovative ideas, revitalise cultural activities and facilitate clustering within the cultural sector and their cooperation with the private sector;
- Execute special programmes to help creative industries develop their business-related skills (e.g. management, marketing, innovation, new technologies, protection of copyright and related rights, tax regulations, etc.) and vice versa, help the business expand its creative skills;
- Help the establishment of creative incubators where creative businesses, among them start-ups, are offered appropriate space and services (e.g. training programmes, consulting, sharing of new technologies, clustering etc.)
- Support the development of creative industries’ webpages and commercial platforms (auctions, art fairs, online shops, etc.);
- Encourage the establishment of clusters and networks of creative industries in Georgia and beyond its borders.
6.2. Objective: The protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and related rights contributes to the development of creative industries in a competitive and fair environment.
- In the framework of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, improve legislative tools for the protection of copyrights and related rights, strengthen law enforcement mechanisms in collaboration with relevant agencies and ensure that the owners of the IPR’s and related rights receive deserved royalty payments;
- For encouraging greater awareness regarding the IPR’s and related rights, carry out various activities and information campaigns (e.g. strengthening of communication between the representatives of the cultural sector, IPR owners, collective management organisations, representatives of the judicial sector and policy makers, ensure that the media highlights cases of how the violation of the IPRs and related rights is prevented and that the public is fully informed in this regard);
- Ensure legal protection of toponyms, brand names, names of the places of origin, names of traditional cultural products, both at national and international levels;
- Taking into consideration the challenges derived from the development of technological and electronic information systems, help establish specialised organisations, which will monitor the protection of the rights of the authors, performers, publishers, producers, etc.
- Strengthen preventive measures against online piracy, elaborate and approve Internet protocol, combat the illegal market of pirated goods by promoting legal products;
- Create successful precedents of the application of legal instruments (criminal and administrative law) with regard to copyrights´ protection.´
According to the Strategy, in 2017 a new state organization “Creative Georgia” was created http://creativegeorgia.ge/
Creative Georgia is a LEPL (Legal Entity of Public Law) created under the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, the fields of work of which are commercialisation of creative industires sector and supporting its sustainable development. (See Chapter 1.2.2)
CREATIVE GEORGIA: Roadmap for Developing – Cultural and Creative Industries in Georgia
The Creative Georgia Roadmap was elaborated based on the recommendations received in the framework of the series of sub-sectorial round table meetings with representatives of the CCI sector, held on September 7-9, 2016, and under the guidance of the leading EU experts from the EU-EaP Culture and creativity programme. The aim of the Document is to set the vision, objectives and corresponding timeframe indicating specific activities to be implemented.
The specific tasks in the Culture Strategy 2025 exhaustively define the aims and objectives of all Creative Industries, highlighting the priority of the development of this sphere by the state.
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.
Events implemented in the Literature and Publishing area:
The budgetary funds on literature amounted to:
|2015 (fact)||2,328,036 GEL|
|2016 (plan)||1,757,000 GEL|
The staff of two legal entities of public law (The Writers’ House, the National Center for Georgian Books) comprised 30 persons; the average salary was 1,341 GEL. The activities of these organizations covered 447 events and 178,450 visitors.
In 2016 the following was implemented:
- 5 literary contests
- Tbilisi International Book Festival
- Tbilisi Literature Festival
- Publishing 43 books, albums, catalogs
- The Literary Prize of the Ministry and LEPL “The Writers’ House” was founded
- Promotion of the publishing of 6 periodic magazines
Translations of literature works:
- 44 international projects
- More than 100 works of Georgian writers translated into 15 languages
- 14 books translated into Georgian
- Participation in 4 international markets – Leipzig, Bologna, London, Frankfurt
- Participation of Georgian writers in 40 international cultural events
- 7 professional workshops for publishers and translators
- Literary forum-dialogue for up to 60 Georgian and foreign publishers
- Preparation of the country’s honorable guest program of Georgia at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2018
- Contest on the creation of a film script based on the modern Georgian literature works
- Support for Georgian Illustrators
- Promoting the Tbilisi Book Festival
The Writers’ House implemented the following in the area of popularization of literature:
- Children in the Writers’ House – 34 events
- Conversations on literature – 15 events
- Presentations of new editions – 54 events
- Exhibitions – 11 events
- Conversations on art – 30 events
- Project “City Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” – 10 events
- Vakhushti Kotetishvili’s anniversary events – 3 events
- David Sarajishvili’s anniversary events – 3 events
- Creative performances – 53 events
The project “Live Books” has been recognized as the best literary event of the year in all regions of Georgia, covering 61 municipalities; within the frames of it 100 meetings were held and 75 writers participated in it.
The memorandum was signed by and between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection. A new cultural program “Live Books” provides for the active cooperation and meetings of military men and writers. It is a unique event in the Georgian culture policy practice. https://mod.gov.ge/en/news/read/4316/cocxali%20wignebi%20jarSi
Also, the cooperation with the civil sector is underway, in particular within the framework of the NNLE |Book Art Center”:
- Employment of 25 students
- 10 exhibitions
- 5 workshops
- Event “Tbilisi Book Days”
In 2017, the preparatory activities of Georgia´s guest status at the Frankfurt International Book Fair were the most important:
- Literature marathon – with the participation of 5 Georgian authors
- Presentations of translations of Georgian classics (N. Baratashvili and Gr. Robakidze)
- Reading of books of 3 Georgian modern authors, in 2 cities
- Discussion dedicated to the German-Georgia year
- Katie Melua and Gori Women’s Chamber Choir performance
- Documentary: “Georgia as a Guest Country – Part 1”
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/culture
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 4). 20% of qualified expenses from the film production costs are returned to the production company; additionally, 2-5% of qualified expenses are reimbursed for the promotion component.
The activities implemented in the area of cinema
Budgetary sums on cinema were:
|2015 (fact)||8,077,672 GEL|
|2016 (plan)||5,797,000 GEL|
The staff of one legal entity of public law – the National Center for Cinematography comprises 23 persons; the average salary was 1,486 GEL.
The following was implemented under the auspices of this organization:
- Over 100 film screenings at film festivals
- Up to 30 prizes
- Days of Georgian cinema in 5 countries
- 2 film productions became the winners of the Eurimages Foundation
- 10 local international film festivals were held
- For the protection of the cinema heritage, the return of Georgian films by “Gosfilmofond” was important – more than 705 films produced in 1921-1991 were returned.
- A new direction “Film in Georgia” appeared in the governmental program “Produce in Georgia” .
3,090,000 GEL was spent on film production in 2015 as well as in 2016.
In 2015-2016 the following took place:
- 13 contests
- 22 films in the production process
- 35 productions in development process
The National Center for Cinematography announced new competition areas:
- A full-length feature film dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Georgia
- A comedy and full-length feature film for kids
- A screen adaptation of the 21st century literature work
- An animation film based on a book for kids
- A creative documentary
The number of Georgian films has increased significantly in international forums and festivals:
- Nomination for an Oscar and Golden Globe
- Nomination for the Best European Film at The European Film Awards http://www.gnfc.ge/geo/news/1484
- 8 international film festival awards
- Awards in the Asian World Film Festival Los Angeles, San Sebastian, and Warsaw international film festivals
In 2017 the following was implemented for promotion of the Georgian cinema:
- “Film in Georgia” – filming of 9 movies with the 15 million GEL budget, 1,800 persons employed
- 11 more full-length films of Georgian cinema heritage were returned from “Gosfilmofond”
- A digital catalog of documentary cinema heritage was created
- Restoration of 3 Georgian films, including their digitisation and transfer to the Cinema Center (the German Cinema Institute “Arsenal”)
- “Georgian Chronicles” – up to 5000 cleared and identified boxes of Georgian documentaries, scientific and historical films
- Recommendations were developed for the establishment of a cinemas network and distribution system in Georgia (by TAIEX)
In the strategic area “Awareness raising” the following was implemented:
- The Film Forum “See for the First Time in Bakuriani”, for film experts, journalists and students
- “25 Years of Independence – Georgian Cinematography” – study of 25 years of history of this film industry
International recognition of Georgian cinema in 2017
- Georgian films were presented at over 300 international film festivals (Berlin, Cannes, Sarajevo, Locarno, Sundance and others) – more than 75 awards
- Georgian pavilion at the international film festivals (Berlin, Cannes, AFCI Location Show, AFM, “Focus London”)
- Animation “Pocket Man” – screening in 185 cinemas in France
- Georgian film distribution – in 4 European countries
- Distribution of the film “My Happy Family” via Netflix (110 million subscribers); screening in 60 cinemas in France, over 60.000 viewers
- The Eurimages Foundation funded 3 Georgian film productions (700.000 euros).
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 4).
In 2017, in the strategic area “Awareness raising” of Culture Strategy 2025 the following was implemented:
- Regional information tours and workshops in 3 regions of Georgia – 16 towns, up to 600 participants
- Reconception of the Tbilisi Central Library and Batumi Adjara Pupils and Youth Palace
Budgetary funds allocated for the crafts amounted to: 2015-2016 – 770,000 GEL
The following is identified in the traditional Georgian craft sector:
- 600 craftsmen throughout the country
- 55 studio´s
- 1500 persons employed
Traditional Georgian crafts:
Activities implemented in the area of craft
- 10 exhibitions throughout the country
- 10 exhibitions abroad
- The catalog “Souvenirs from Georgia” was published in 2018, which covered 100 authors, 18 studios, 1000 craft pieces
- In 2016 an interactive version of “Souvenirs from Georgia” was created
- Exhibitions of Georgian arts and crafts were organized in 2016 – in Tbilisi, Frankfurt, Milan
- In 2016 a database structure was created for the whole country
- In 2016 the Georgian Souvenir brand was created – for which a design competition was held
Promotion of cultural and creative incubators was planned in 2016
The great potential of cultural and creative incubators has been identified in the following fields: knitting, ceramics, woodcarving, jewelry, gaming, design and more
- 40 small enterprises and 1,500 people employed in the field, including 960 individual craftsmen are identified in Georgia
The nongovernmental sector contributes much to the development of creative industries, namely, the development of craft.
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, https://www.gaccgeorgia.org/gift%20Shop/About.html
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.
Examples of good practice
Georgian Arts and Culture Center
2016 – GACC founded Tbilisi 1st International Summit of Crafts and Design “Ethno Fest 2016”
GACC actively cooperated with the Ministry of Culture during the elaboration of Culture Strategy document, as an expert-consultant, as well as the facilitator of the cultural industries section meetings in different municipalities of Georgia. The GACC in particular lobbied for the introduction of the notion of cultural economy and for the recognition of the role that culture and cultural industries play in the economic development of the country.
2014-2016 – Crafts Platform in Action. Enhancing Sector’s Economic Capacity for Georgia, funded by the European Union (Investing in People Programme). Project Partners: Economic Affairs Office of Tbilisi City Hall, Center for Strategic Development of Georgia, Associate Partners: Ministry of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia, British Council Georgia. http://gaccgeorgia.org/Crafts/Crafts%20Platform%20in%20Action.html
The project was a follow-up of the project implemented in 2012-2013 “Strengthening Creative Industries in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia: Heritage Crafts – Common Platform for Development” and urges for the actual implementation of Crafts Development Policy and recommendations, drawn directly from the needs of crafts actors. Overall objective: To Contribute to the transformation of the craft sector into a source for job creation and economic growth in Georgia. Specific objectives:
1.To Strengthen the Structural Capacity and Professional Network of the Crafts Sector through the establishment of a Georgian Crafts Association and provision of a First International Summit of South Caucasus Craftsmen for the enhancement of cooperation on regional levels.
2. To develop a Local Crafts Market, Enhance Working Conditions and the Business Capacity of Crafts Actors’ through the expansion of distribution channels, provision of series of workshops and small grants to craft actors to arrange workshops, studio´s & shops across the country linked with tourism infrastructure and through the development of a new line of crafts products to align with contemporary market requirements.
3. To Advocate for a Crafts Development Policy to Integration into Governmental Policies through campaigns and meetings with related governmental bodies and local authorities and to introducte international experience in raising the status and recognition of people and organizations in the crafts sector. In 2016 the Georgian Souvenir brand was created – for which a design competition was held.
4. To Facilitate Crafts Education and the Transmission of Knowledge by creating informal training opportunities for the young generation across the country and to develop crafts training modules and publish guidelines for craftsmen.