Cinema Amirani the closing ceremony of the 18th Tbilisi International Film Festival was held
Today, at the Cinema Amirani the closing ceremony of the 18th Tbilisi International Film Festival was held.
British director and producer Uberto Pasolini was the head of the International Jury, while other jury members were Film Critic and a program coordinator at Seattle International Film Festival Maryna Ajaja (USA), Director and producer Srdjan Dragojevic (Serbia), Actor Stephane Rideau (France) and Literature Critic and Actor Lasha Bakradze (Georgia).
International Competition winners are:
Golden Prometheus for the Best Picture - "Ravens" by Jens Assur (Sweden 2017).
Silver Prometheus for the Best Directing - "The Charmer" by Milad Alami (Denmark/Sweden/France 2017).
International competition jury gave special mention to the following films:
"Scary Mother" by Ana Urushadze (Georgia, Estonia, 2017)
"Scaffolding" by Matan Yair (Israel 2017).
The National Competition - Georgian Panorama is the traditional section uniting this year's most significant Georgian films. The aim of the program is to support and promote Georgian films among the wide audience. For the second time, this year Prometheus was awarded in 3 nominations: The Best Full Feature Film, The Best Short Film and The Best Documentary Film. As for the jury, together with German film critics Erika and Ulrich Gregor, Georgian films were evaluated by British film critic and journalist Carmen Gray.
Best Georgian Fiction Film - "Scary Mother" by Ana Urushadze (Georgia, Estonia, 2017)
Best Georgian Documentary Film - "City Of Sun" by Rati Oneli (Georgia/Netherlands/Qatar/United States of America, 2017)
Best Georgian Short Film - "Ana" by Margo Zubashvili (Georgia, 2017)
Jury Special Mention - "Fishing" by Tornike Bziava (Georgia/France, 2017).
Besides the international and national competition, "The European Union for Georgia" dedicated a special prize to the film with a focus on Human Rights in the frames of Tbilisi International Film Festival. The film was selected from the ten films included in the International Competition. The winner of "The European Union for Georgia" is - "The Charmer" by Milad Alami.
The winner of the Short Film Pitching Workshop organized in frames of Tbilisi IFF Industry Days is Lord of Oneself - Director: Elene Mikaberidze, Producer: Nushi Film/Takes Film.
The winner of full-length film Pitching workshop is Spineless - Director: Grigol Abashidze, Producer: Studio Artizm/Lasha Khalvashi. Writer: Gigisha Abashisze, Alex Chigvinadze.
The 18th International Film Festival Closing film was "Namme" by Georgian director Zaza Khalvashi.
International Webinar by Asian and African Media Diagnosed COVID-19 and Social Change with the Focus of Peacebuilding
On February 13, 2021, an international webinar on “Voice of Peace: Media Perspective on COVID-19 and Social Change” was held to discuss the contents of national responses to political, economic, and social aspects under the heavy influence of the pandemic.
This event was co-hosted by Risingbd of Bangladesh, The DAWN of South Sudan, PTV World of Pakistan, and a UN-affiliated NGO named Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) headquartered in South Korea.
Dr. Javed Ali Kalholo, Senior Producer of PTV World, stated that the globe witnessed disastrous diseases in the new century from swine flu to Eblola before COVID-19. He advocated international cooperation to “fight the existing menace of virus collectively and do share a cognitive approach towards the post-pandemic world.”
Mr. Nabeel Tirmazi, Broadcasting Consultant & Programme Manager of Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), mentioned that media responsibility in democratic states has grown to “dispel wrong notions, apprehensions and misinformation”, adding to the functions of informing and educating. To cope with the COVID-19 crisis, he suggested capacity building for healthy journalism from international media practitioners with the case of combating disinformation regarding the pandemic with international organizations including WHO and UNESCO.
Mr. Ibnul Qayum Sony, Senior Sub Editor of Risingbd, Actor and Independent Film Director explained that the current phenomena of COVID-19 have mixed results. In the case of Bangladesh, he said that loss of lives and economic downturn from the lockdown coexist with the significant decrease in the level of pollution in rivers of the country resulting in biodiversity.
“South Sudan is the newest country on earth, having gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but a political crisis two years later has left it bleeding,” said Mr. Okech Francis, Deputy Editor in Chief of The Dawn Newspaper. To respond to poor infrastructure, health services, and economic performance in the country and region, he highlighted that knowledge and skills for sustainable future of peace and security need to be provided, rather than handouts.
Mr. Supalak Ganjanakhundee, Bangkok-based Southeast Asia Analyst, Thailand, says that the country is “still struggling to contain the spread of the deadly disease” and the recent student democratic protest, which also “extended to neighbor Myanmar after the military in that country staged a coup in the pre-dawn of 1 February.” He added that the demands from protest are to be taken seriously “to bring genuine democracy, stability and peace to the country.”
Dr. Ian Seo, General Director of HWPL, pointed out that the recent dysfunctional election system in Thailand and South Korea and public dissatisfaction with the current leadership during the pandemic brought uncertainty of democratic system of the two countries. He suggested that giving insights and inspiration to youth is media responsibility and dedication for the future with peaceful societies.
Press-release of the HWPL
International Scholars Raise Concerns over “an Attempt to Destroy a New Religious Movement” in South Korea
On July 20, a webinar on a new religious movement in South Korea and its political, religious, and social dimensions with the recent COVID-19 crisis invited international scholars and experts in the field of religion, international law, and human rights.
Titled “COVID-19 and Religious Freedom: Scapegoating Shincheonji in South Korea”, the webinar addressed the recent issues of aggressive attack from politically powerful conservative and fundamentalist Protestant churches in the country on a newly-established, fast-growing Christian denomination named 'Shincheonji (New Heaven and New Earth) Church of Jesus' founded in 1984.
The new Christian movement by Shincheonji has become a target of “persecution from fundamentalist protestants” because of its successful religious expansion “from the conservative and fundamentalist protestants who see Shincheonji as competitors and want to destroy it," said Massimo Introvigne as an Italian sociologist of religion who studied Shincheonji before and after the COVID-19 pandemic and published the first account of the religious group in English.
Alessandro Amicarelli, Chairman European Federation for Freedom of Belief, pointed out that the South Korean authorities problematized Shincheonji as a cause of the COVID-19 crisis to shut down the church. “Already 30 other people were tested positive before the patient 31 (a member of Shincheonji criticized for the widespread of the virus). Many Chinese including ones from Wuhan had visited Daegu (of South Korea) and infection spread,” he said.
Willy Fautre, Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), said that the recent attack on Shincheonji can be viewed as an attempt by the fundamentalist Protestant groups in South Korea to weaken and destroy the competitor in the religious market. He added, "Human rights violations against Shincheonji members through coercive conversion program (also known as 'deprogramming') with kidnapping and confinement for the last decade have been made as a result of the failure of competition from the Protestant churches in the country."
Ciaran Burke, Associate Professor in University of Derby, said that the South Korean health authorities explicitly link Shinchoenji and outbreak of the COVID-19 until now even though a greater link between the virus and confirmation cases has been found in other churches. He also expressed concerns over “collecting personal information of 300,000 domestic and international Shincheonji members by the government which is a possible violation of international agreement, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) South Korea ratified in 1990.”
The prosecution initiated investigation of Shincheonji leaders including founder Man Hee Lee for his alleged role in the widespread of the COVID-19. Three Shincheonji officials were arrested on July 8 on a charge of playing a role in major outbreak at its early stage by “(submitting) inaccurate list of members.”
“The authorities ignored requests to change the word ‘sect’ in their official reports when referring to Shincheonji church. Local governments encouraged the residents to report Shincheonji congregation and facilities to the authorities, creating stigma that the members were to be treated as criminals,” said a Shincheonji official in the webinar.
A recent statement issued by “families of the deceased and victims of COVID-19” wrote that "the thousands of the damage and deaths of Koreans reflect the failure of initial response to contain the virus by the government." It added that the Minister of Justice Choo Mi-ae “allowed COVID-19 patients from China to enter Korea, leading to a widespread outbreak of the virus across the country, which resulted in the deaths of the Korean people.” It also stated that she is trying to avoid her responsibility for the damage by “giving direct orders to prosecutors for a raid and arrests against Shincheonji Church”.
A leading South Korean TV network, MBC reported that a recently conducted screening at Daegu, epicenter of COVID-19 major outbreak within South Korea added the weight to the failure of initial response to contain the virus by the government. The report, citing analysis from a local university hospital, inferred that at least 180,000 of the total population of 2.4 million people in the city of Daegu were infected with the COVID-19, 27 times to the official 6,800 confirmed cases. Most of the confirmation cases, over 5,000, are members of Shincheonji Church as their personal information was collected by the government, while the remaining 180,000 potential infections have not been investigated.
Press Release of the Department of Public Relations
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, and the Restoration of Light
A video film is launched in the centre of Tbilisi in honour of the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan
In honor of the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia has launched a demonstration of the video film dedicated to this important event. This film is displayed on a large monitor installed in the Tbilisi city centre, in front of the Tbilisi Concert Hall.
The video film demonstrates the cultural values, traditions and customs of Turkmenistan, as well as achievements in the fields of politics, economy, industry, agriculture, culture, art and sports.
As it is known, 2020 is declared in Turkmenistan as the Year of «Turkmenistan - Home of Neutrality». The slogan of 2020 is inseparably linked to humanistic principles, which are the basis of home and foreign policy of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov who has developed universal formula of cooperation with the world community, which fully complies with global progressive tendencies of human development.
Due to the new video film presented, the Georgian public, as well as guests of Tbilisi have the opportunity to learn more about Turkmenistan.
China International Education College to open in Tbilisi
China International Education College is founded by China International Education Group. Various educational institutions in China, Europe and Asia are successfully operating under the umbrella of this group.
Our institute is dedicated to teaching Chinese, organizing multifaceted cultural and cognitive events that will help Georgian society to better understand Chinese culture, as well as deepen multilateral relations and cooperation between China and Georgia.
Our Institute is the first fully independent private institute of its kind in Georgia. It is worth noticing that the China International Education group is the one of the important investors in Georgia in the field of education, currently investing approximately 3 million GEL, and plans to invest in vocational education in the future.
On January 11, 2020, at 15:00, at the headquarters of the China International Education College, Andrew and Meliton Balanchivadze Ave. # 43, the official opening ceremony of the China International Education College will be held.
Invited guests are Ambassador of China to Georgia - Ms. Lee Ian, guests from Ministry of Education, state and public figures, also specially for this day, for the first time senior statesmen will come from China : Mr. Wu Ni - Director of the Institute for Education Development and Reforms of the Chinese Academy of Education, Mr. Xu Zhengzhong - Director of the Institute for Education Development and Reforms and other guests.
The following people will give speeches at the ceremony : Mr. Kang Zheng – founder of the institute, Ms. Eli Elisashvili – Director, Mr. Wu Ni and Mr. Xu Zhengzhong.
This event will also include a presentation of the first Chinese-Georgian dictionary, translated by the director of the Institute - Eli Elisashvili, published in China, and second edition will be performed in Georgia.
Forced Conversion that Violates Human Rights Becomes an International Problem
On 29 November, Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) from Italy and Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) from Belgium hosted a seminar on human rights entitled “Intolerance and Discrimination Against New Religious Movements: An International Problem”.
This seminar, held in Seoul, South Korea, was devoted to the protection of the rights of religious minorities targeted by the majority groups, particularly in the context of anti-human rights situations such as the forced conversion that occurred in Korea.
Forced conversion, also known as “Deprogramming”, is a social issue that causes human rights violations by kidnapping and detaining the members of religious groups labeled as “cults” by their opponents in order to compel them to abandon their faith.
More than 80 participants including legal experts, journalists, and civil society representatives reviewed the current situation of forced conversion and discussed solutions to defend the freedom of faith and human rights that have become the norm of the international community.
Massimo Introvigne, Managing Director of CESNUR as well as an Italian sociologist, stressed that forced conversion is conducted through the mainstream by saying, “Korean deprogrammers are specialized pastors from the mainline churches, most of them Presbyterian."
"The protests that commemorate the victims from forced conversion were mentioned in the 2019 U.S. State Department Report on Religious Freedom, including violations of religious freedom in the year 2018. However, there were new cases of deprogramming even after their death," he criticized.
Regarding the multi-dimensional strategy to solve such phenomenon, Willy Fautré, Founder and Director of HRWF stated several suggestions; pointing at the responsibility of the leadership of the Presbyterian Church which tolerates, endorses, and maybe encourages such a practice; developing advocacy at the UN and in organs defending freedom of religion or belief; prosecuting those who encourage people to perpetrate an act of abduction and confinement.
In an open letter, signed by 15 international NGOs including CAP-LC and HRWF, to the South Korean President Moon Jae In on July 24th, it said, “South Korea may well be the last democratic country in the world where deprogramming is still tolerated” and asked the President to “investigate in-depth accusations of forcible deprogramming, put a stop to this obnoxious practice, and hold those responsible fully accountable.”
Meanwhile, South Korea was elected to serve the 5th term on the United Nations Human Rights Council on October 17th. South Korea’s mission to the UN said that it plans “to participate in the international efforts to respond to human rights crises around the world.” Participants urged the Korean government to respond to the issue of forced conversion which is still threatening the human rights of its people.