The 6th edition of the Taoba International Youth Film Festival, held in Tbilisi from September 25 to October 1, marks not only a significant cinematic event but a pivotal platform for the development of young audiences through the world of films. This year, the festival became even more remarkable, with hundreds of young individuals actively participating, serving as the discerning jury that selected the festival’s winners.
Taoba International Youth Film Festival has always embodied a unique blend of the vibrancy of youth and the magic of cinema. It’s not just a festival; it’s a stage where young people take center stage, both as the audience and as decision-makers. The festival consistently nurtures the idea that cinema can be a powerful tool for enlightenment, entertainment, and personal growth, especially for the younger generation.
This year’s edition was a testament to the festival’s mission. The winners, unveiled at the closing ceremony on October 1st in Orbeliani Square, within the Tbilisi City Celebration, emerged as the voices of the young audience themselves, who acknowledged and celebrated the cinematic works that resonated with them the most.
Young Audience Award for Best Short Film: “The Load”
Miranda Namicheishvili’s “The Load,” a Georgian production from 2021, received the Young Audience Award for Best Short Film. The poignant narrative of Mate, a 33-year-old man attempting to enter the United States illegally, struck a chord with the young audience. The film’s exploration of the shared human experience in the most challenging of circumstances mirrored the aspirations and challenges that many young viewers could relate to.
Young Audience Award for Best Feature Film: “Grazie Ragazzi!”
Riccardo Milani’s “Grazie Ragazzi!” from Italy, made in 2023, was the recipient of the Young Audience Award for Best Feature Film. The story of Antonio, an actor turned teacher in a penitentiary, captivated the young audience. Antonio’s journey of rekindling his passion for theater while helping inmates discover their own talents mirrors the transformative power of art and the resilience of the human spirit, making it a fitting choice for this award.
Taoba Award for Best Film: “The Eight Mountains”
The Taoba Award for Best Film was bestowed upon “The Eight Mountains,” a 2022 Italian production co-directed by Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch. This film is a poignant tale of friendship, tracing the journey of children as they grow into men, striving to escape the shadows of their fathers. However, life’s twists and turns always lead them back to their roots. Pietro, a city boy, and Bruno, the last resident of a forgotten mountain village, form an enduring bond. Bruno remains steadfast to his mountain, while Pietro’s life takes him on a journey of comings and goings. Through their encounters, they experience love and loss, reconnecting them with their origins and unveiling the tapestry of their destinies. “The Eight Mountains” beautifully narrates the timeless story of true friendship that lasts a lifetime.