08TBILISI122, FIVE EASY PRESENTATIONS – AMERICAN FILM DIRECTOR BOB

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI122 2008-01-25 12:09 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1176
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0122/01 0251209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251209Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8673
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000122 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR ECA/PE/C/CU - SCOHEN AND EUR/PPD - SALTMAN-WINANS 
 
E.O.12958: N/A 
TAGS: SCUL KPAO GG
SUBJECT: FIVE EASY PRESENTATIONS - AMERICAN FILM DIRECTOR BOB 
RAFELSON IN TBILISI 
 
 
1. SUMMARY: Bob Rafelson was an ECA Cultural Envoy par excellence, 
representing the United States at the 8th Tbilisi International Film 
Festival from December 3-10, 2007. Mr. Rafelson is one of American 
cinema's leading figures, having distinguished himself over the past 
three decades as a director, writer and producer of a unique 
collection of award-winning and ground-breaking films. His films had 
a particular following during the Soviet period, when aficionados 
watched bootleg videos of his films in closets or in peoples' 
basements, and he was seen as a free, independent and uncompromised 
artist. Within the framework of the Festival, Rafelson's films "Five 
Easy Pieces," "The Postman Always Rings Twice," and "The King of 
Marvin Gardens" were screened. Rafelson also presented a master 
class and a public lecture with Q&As, and was the guest of honor at 
a reception hosted by the Ambassador. But perhaps the greatest value 
in Rafelson's attendance at the Film Festival was in his daily 
interactions, even mentoring, with Georgian and other filmmakers, 
actors, and directors, both young and old, to talk shop and discuss 
the ins and outs of film tradecraft. END SUMMUARY 
 
THE PROGRAM 
----------- 
 
2.  Rafelson attended the opening and closing of the Film Festival 
as a distinguished guest; was the guest of honor at a reception 
hosted by the Ambassador and attended by the Minister of Culture; 
presented a master class, "Confessions of a Filmmaker," with a 
discussion of his film work based on a series of short video 
sequences; and gave a public lecture following the screening of his 
film, "Five Easy Pieces." He met, informally, with a number of 
Georgian and international film producers, directors and actors, 
both young and old, and was received by the renowned Georgian 
theater director, Robert Sturua, and by Georgian movie director and 
scion of an important Georgian film family, Giorgi Shengelaia. 
 
RESULTS 
------- 
 
3.  Because of the overwhelming interest in Mr. Rafelson's master 
class, "Confessions of a Filmmaker," the venue was moved from a 
30-seat to a 150-seat theater. Even this proved to be too small, as 
late-comers poured into the auditorium, blocking the aisles. The 
master class came to an end two and a half hours later, but only 
because Festival organizers needed the auditorium to screen a film. 
Several students in the audience followed Mr. Rafelson out of the 
auditorium and onto the street, peppering him with questions. More 
and more young people in Georgia are getting interested in 
filmmaking, and this was the first time a Georgian audience was able 
to meet an American filmmaker of this caliber. The public lecture 
that followed the screening of his movie "Five Easy Pieces" was 
another great event, with another packed hall and question after 
question until the Festival organizers had to clear the hall for 
another screening. 
 
4.  Rafelson has an uncanny ability to connect directly with people, 
and the level of discourse in the master class and lecture 
immediately moved to a very deep level. The honest and thoughtful 
way he shared his experience and professional tips was an 
inspiration to aspiring and experienced filmmakers alike, and his 
deep interest in and respect for the culture of Georgia came through 
throughout his visit.  Audience members felt honored to be in his 
presence and to hear his analysis and insights into his work. 
 
5.  Bob Rafelson's visit significantly raised the Embassy's public 
profile among the general public and art community in Georgia. His 
visit was particularly reassuring to the Georgian public since it 
occurred during a period of political turmoil, after street 
disturbances and a state of emergency in early November, and in the 
lead up to snap presidential elections in early January. His 
presence at the Film Festival in Tbilisi helped reassure Georgians 
of U.S. engagement in their country. 
 
6.  Nino Anjaparidze, the Tbilisi International Film Festival 
Director, credited Bob Rafelson's appearance with putting the 
Festival in the spotlight and hopes this will make it easier to 
market the Festival worldwide in the future. She appreciated the 
tips on Film Festival management which Mr. Rafelson gave her during 
his visit, as well as his promise to serve as an informal consultant 
on future engagements. 
 
7.  COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC: 
 
- "Bob Rafelson's visit was very inspiring for us.  It reminded me 
all over again of the 1980's when we used to watch his films in 
closets or somebody's basement. He inspired me to make movies then, 
and he is an inspiration to me now. I think I could live without 
caviar (i.e. luxuries) for a whole year if I could start making 
movies again." Ukraine-based Georgian film director Levan Kitia, who 
supports himself by making commercials and soap operas. 
 
- Beso Odisharia, a Georgian filmmaker, expressed his hope that this 
 
TBILISI 00000122  002 OF 002 
 
 
one encounter wi
th Mr. Rafelson would "infect" the younger 
generation with a real zest to make worthy movies. 
 
-  Georgian film producer, Levan Korinteli, said, "People like Bob 
Rafelson remind us that great movies can be made on a very low 
budget." An increasing number of young professionals are interested 
in filmmaking, but poor economic conditions in the country and the 
lack of investment in the movie industry are discouraging. Mr. 
Rafelson's message that it is possible to make art movies on a low 
cost budget was very reassuring. 
 
-  "Did you go to Rafelson's master class yesterday," was the 
question of the day at the Tbilisi State Theatre and Film 
University, said Olga Zhguenti, a University professor. 
 
- "Tskheli Shokoladi" (Hot Chocolate), a new high-quality arts and 
culture glossy magazine in Georgia, called the  festival  "the 
Milestone Event of the Year" and categorized the visit of the 
"legendary" American film director Bob Rafelson as the highlight of 
the year. 
 
MEDIA 
----- 
 
8.  Rafelson's program generated a number of television feature 
stories. Rustavi-2 Television focused on Bob Rafelson's career in 
the Saturday night primetime top-rated "Post Scriptum" (potential 
viewers: 70% of Georgia's population). The anchor called the 
American director "the gem" of the festival. Mr. Rafelson was also 
featured during Georgia Public Broadcaster's daily primetime 
newscasts. (potential viewers 80% of Georgia's population). The 
channel dedicated most of its Saturday "Moambe" news program to Mr. 
Rafelson's visit and called his master class and public lecture the 
"highlight" of the 8th Tbilisi International Film Festival. The 
Sunday cultural primetime program "Cultural Mzera" on Mze Television 
(potential viewers 60% of Georgia's population), also concentrated 
on Bob Rafelson's master class and public lecture and stressed that 
the organizers of the festival had to move the audience to a bigger 
hall to fit in everyone eager to attend. An interview taped by the 
Georgian high-profile art critic, Gogi Gvakharia, will be the 
central piece of the January issue of "Tskheli Shokoladi" (Hot 
Chocolate), the best quality, glossy cultural magazine in Georgia. 
Radio Liberty Radio Free Europe's Georgian Service broadcast also 
broadcast this same interview with Mr. Rafelson in its entirety on 
December 10. 
 
THANKS 
----- 
 
9.  AmEmbassy Tbilisi would like to thank ECA/PE/C/CU, and 
especially Susan Cohen of the Feature Film Service at ECA for an 
excellent program. 
 
TEFFT

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