Merab Kokochashvili

Merab Kokochashvili

Member of the Board of Directors

Classic Georgian filmmaker Merab Kokochashvili, born in 1935, has directed 21 feature films and documentaries. And even at the age of 85, he is working on a new movie that seems to encapsulate his entire career.

In 1997, the Pesaro Film Festival hailed The Great Green Valley, a cinematic masterpiece by Merab Kokochashvili, as one of the 100 most innovative films of the 20 th century. The filmmaker has garnered myriad international and local awards. But his most cherished prize is the test of time—he is truly happy that, even 50 years on, his movies are as relevant as ever. In 2017, Berlin’s Arsenal – institut für kino und veideokunst restored The Great Green Valley from the film preserved at the Georgian Film Studio. The reborn movie premiered in the Arsenal Cinema, Berlin.

In 1976, seven Georgian films made it through the locked down borders of the Soviet Union to be positioned as Georgian—not Soviet—products, a major achievement largely credited to Erika and Ulrich Gregor who had fought tooth and nail to have Georgian films recognized as such, not as Soviet pieces, and to facilitate Days of Georgian Cinema in Europe. The screenings were once again held in Arsenal, and The Great Green Valley opened the Georgian screening sessions, with Novel Prize Laureate Günter Grass delivering a welcome speech.

It is thanks to Merab Kokochashvili and his generation of filmmakers that the term Georgian cinematic phenomenon was coined to refer to Georgian cinema.