In 2001, in order to rescue the cinema industry, the Ministry of Culture established the National Film Centre which, to some extent, drove the reforms in the film sphere. The Georgian National Cinematography Centre, as a distanced organization, distributes state funding and operates as an in-gatherer and supporter of this industry. Its work is also crucial in strengthening international ties and promoting joint production.
To promote the film industry, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia initiated the amendment to the Tax Code of Georgia which provided that producers that obtain funding from the National Film Centre will be charged income tax only after the release of a film. 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 under which 20% of qualified expenses from the film production costs are returned to the production company; in addition, 2-5% of qualified expenses are reimbursed for the promotion component.
The situation in the film distribution network is poor. Only 4-5 cinema theatres in Georgia meet modern standards. One of the main problems of cinema halls is the piracy releases in private TV companies, 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.
Georgia became a member of Eurimages in 2011. During these years, the Georgian Film Centre has supported 17 Georgian-foreign co-productions, and 3 322 322 EUR have been issued to finance Georgian projects.
The number of Georgian films has increased significantly in international forums and festivals: Cannes, Berlinale, Locarno, and others.
Among 7 international festivals in Georgia, the Tbilisi International Film Festival is important.
In 2021, 973 000 GEL was allocated for the priority area “Promotion of Georgian Cinema” of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
Among Georgian film producers, JSC Georgian Film is the largest film production company in Georgia, which has 100 years of filmmaking history.
The audiovisual services industry is developing rapidly in Georgia. For example, POSTRED, a Tbilisi-based post-production film company founded in 2015, already collaborates with Netflix, A24, BBC, and Paramount.
The computer games industry is also growing in Georgia. It is noteworthy that state support in this area started with creation of a simulation game for the police. 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.
In 2021, 150 000 GEL were allocated for the creation of a computer game promoting Georgian culture, history and mythology in the priority area of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
Today, various successful companies operate in this market, and an important role for the development of the field is given to the training of professional staff in such a leading organization as the Computer and Mobile Games Laboratory of Ilia State University (GAMELAB ILIAUNI).
Unlike the film and computer games industry, the cultural content of Georgian media is rather uniform. The total annual airtime of local television feature programmes is divided as follows: according to 2016 data, in the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s programmes, feature programmes holds 46%, of which 37% (3051.8 hours) are local productions, 8% (657.7 Hours) – co-productions, and 54% (4439.8 hours) – international productions. Apart from the Public Broadcaster, only Internet TV Artarea has a large amount of cultural content.
The strategic document “Culture Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks, highlights the following priorities for the Audiovisual sector:
- Develop services and professions linked to the production, post-production and distribution of audio-visual content;
- Develop regulatory mechanisms for the audiovisual sector (e.g. box office transparency, designation of age limit, dubbing quality, etc.) by employing best international practices (EU Directive on Audiovisual Media Services);
- Promote Georgia’s convenience as a filming location and facilitate international co-production by developing the necessary infrastructure, legislation and system of incentives (cash rebates, tax rebates, credit incentives, insurance etc.);
- Establish the national cinema reserve in order to preserve and organize the film heritage and ensure the public’s accessibility to Georgian and world cinematography;
- Facilitate the development of multifunctional cultural-educational centres and/or of appropriate cinemas and alternative means of screening for the purpose of ensuring film screenings;
- Considering the importance of visual and audio effects for the audiovisual industry in general, to facilitate the mobilization of necessary human and technical resources – to elaborate professional training programmes and a system of incentives; to ensure access to appropriate facilities and equipment and etc.;
- Foster the development of the multi-media and games industry by promoting new business models and simplifying methods for the internationalization of the games industry.
Media and Broadcasting
- Use the potential of the media to advance public awareness about culture, cultural diversity and inter-cultural dialogue;
- Update laws and regulations and plan mechanisms in order to establish and develop cultural media outlets, encourage regional, private commercial and non-commercial media to produce cultural products and to cover cultural processes;
- Design measures to help the public broadcaster contribute to the creation and distribution of products of cultural importance;
- Produce special public broadcasting programmes, both in the official and ethnic languages, to expand opportunities for ethnic minorities to access the information about cultural processes;
- Support institutions of higher education to develop programmes in cultural journalism and facilitate the participation of journalists working on culture in local and international training programmes;
Sustain critical evaluation of professional activities to enable analysis of cultural life, which shall in return lead to increased public awareness and allow cultural professionals to assess their own work.