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“Keep Smiling” by Rusudan Chkonia wins CICAE prize in Vilnius!

“Keep Smiling” by Rusudan Chkonia wins CICAE prize in Vilnius!

Georgia again! 

RUSUDAN CHKONIA’s “KEEP SMILING” won CICAE ART CINEMA AWARD within the framework of the 18th Vilnius International Film Festival last Monday – just one month and a half after Simon Groß et Nana Ekvtimishvili’s victory in Berlin!

Cicae international jury was composed of German theater, cinema and television actress Elke Bludau, Austrian descent film programme curator, cinema journalist and editor Evelin Stark and cinema theater “Pasaka” director Justas Prascevicius.

Keep Smiling’s Film actress Olga Babluani  with the Cicae Art Cinema Award in Vilnius

Photo: Audrius Solominas, Vilija Buivyde



A heartfelt tragicomedy about 10 women and their fierce rivalry to win a beauty contest for mothers who have borne several children. Competing in five categories, including Best Cook and Super Mother, the prize they’re desperate to win is an apartment and $25,000. The contestants, charming and ambitious, start out with high hopes and great expectations. Their dreams, however, are soon shattered when they realise that the whole thing is a charade. The participants become pawns for the media and contest organizers who shamelessly exploit their underprivileged circumstances for entertainment value. In this ludicrous microcosmos the women not only have to deal with each other, their families and the society they live in, but they also must confront themselves in order to preserve their self-respect and dignity.

 watch trailer


original title: Keep Smiling
country: France, Georgia, Luxembourg
sales agent: Doc & Film International
year: 2012
genre: fiction
directed by: Rusudan Chkonia
film run: 90′
screenplay: Rusudan Chkonia
cast: Ia Sukhitashvili, Gia Roinishvili, Olga Babluani
cinematography by: Konsantine Esadze
film editing: Jean-Pierre Bloc, Rusudan Chkonia, Levan Kukhasvili
art director: Sopo Bazgadze
costumes designer: Giorgi Nadiradze
producer: Rusudan Chkonia, M. Nicolas Blanc
co-producer: Marc Bordure, Jani Thiltges, Arnaud Bertrand, Dominique Boutonnat, Hubert Caillard
production: Ex Nihilo

I always find it interesting to observe how people behave in extreme situations – when they have to do things they would never have imagined doing normally. Some years ago, when I was shooting a documentary about homeless children, I visited a shelter called Bediani. It was a shelter for families who, due to difficult social conditions, found themselves out on the street. In Bediani, I met Tamar, a very intelligent, beautiful mother of seven, who told me about her struggle for survival in Tbilisi and how she even took part in a beauty contest for mothers to win a cash prize. This beauty contest was a deeply humiliating and disappointing experience for her. It was a tragic painful story, yet at times so absurd that I could hardly refrain from laughing. That’s how I decided to make this film. I also want to mention that all the stories and characters in the film are invented, with no resemblance to Tamar.


Rusudan Chkonia (b. 1978 in Tbilisi, Georgia)

“Children without a Name” (2001, graduation film), “Bediani – Lucky Village” (2001, doc), “Spring” (2005, doc), “Land of Promise” (2002, doc), “This is Life” (2007, short), “Keep Smiling” (2012, “Kino pavasaris”).

See the whole palmares of the 18th Vilnius International Film Festival

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