The IDFA Project Award at Sarajevo Film Festival has gone to Champions by emerging Georgian filmmaker Ketevani Kapanadze. A highlight of Sarajevo’s Docu Rough Cut Boutique, Champions intimately portrays a group of lesbian athletes in Georgia who take refuge in the local football club. The director will be welcomed online at IDFA 2020 with a tailor-made package through the Industry Program, together with producer Salomé Jashi and editor Eka Tsotsoria.
The first feature film from Kapanadze, a recent film school graduate and former program head at CineDOC-Tbilisi, Champions is the latest project to be edited by Eka Tsotsoria, whose work is known from the IDFA 2019 Student Competition title No Man’s Land. Rounding out the filmmaking team is producer Salomé Jashi, who previously attended the 2010 and 2018 editions of IDFAcademy Summer School in addition to securing support from the IDFA Bertha Fund for Trees Floating.
With Champions, Kapanadze delves into a marginalized queer community in the post-industrial city of Kutaisi, Georgia. Against the backdrop of homophobic rallies in the streets, the project closely observes the intimate moments of two young couples in the local female football club, and the personal challenges they face.
“The award goes to a very important and urgent film, directed by a very young and talented filmmaker. Champions gives an intimate look into the lives of a young lesbian community in Georgia. Ketevani gets extremely close to the group, impressively capturing the daily lives of the girls,” said Laurien ten Houten, who represented IDFA Industry at the Docu Rough Cut Boutique.
For this Project Award, the IDFA Industry team took the extra step of maximizing the prize package together with that of DOK Leipzig, who also awarded Ketevani’s project. Through the complementing industry opportunities, ten Houten noted, “we will make sure that this great team will get the most out of the two festivals—hopefully a unique opportunity in challenging times.”
Read more about Champions via Sarajevo Film Festival.