Oscars: Georgia Selects 'Beginning' for International Feature Category

BEGINNING
Wild Bunch

Ia Sukhitashvili in 'Beginning'

Dea Kulumbegashvili's debut follows a woman in a persecuted Jehovah's Witnesses community, facing a crisis in her marriage and in her faith. 

Georgia has selected Beginning, the debut feature from director Dea Kulumbegashvili, as its official entry for the 2021 Oscars in the International Feature category. 

The drama premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival this year, where it swept the top awards, winning best film, best director, best screenplay, and best actress for lead Ia Sukhitashvili. She plays Yana, a woman living in emotional isolation within a community of Jehovah's Witnesses in a sleepy provincial town in Georgia. Her familiar, insular world begins to crumble after her religious community is violently attacked by an extremist group and Yana, the wife of a community leader, suffers a crisis of faith, struggling to make sense of her desires and inner discontent. 

Director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), jury president in San Sebastian, called Beginning "a revelation, a moment of authentic cinema that fills the screen with flames." 

Originally picked for the Cannes 2020 official selection, the film also screened in Toronto, where it won the Fipresci critics' prize, and at the New York Film Festivals. 

Kulumbegashvili co-wrote Beginning with Rati Oneli, who also co-stars. Ilan Amouyal, David Zerat, Oneli, and Paul Rozenberg produced the film, with Carlos Reygadas and Gaetan Rousseau as executive producers.

Wild Bunch International is handling world sales and co-repping North American rights with CAA Media Finance. 

Georgia has only once received an Oscar nomination — for Nana Jorjadze's A Chef in Love in 1996 — and the country has yet to win an Academy Award. 

Originally scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021, the ceremony for the 93rd Academy Awards has been pushed back due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and will be held on April 25, 2021.