CAA Signs Déa Kulumbegashvili, Writer-Director of ‘Beginning,’ Georgia’s International Feature Oscar Entry (EXCLUSIVE)

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CAA has signed filmmaker Déa Kulumbegashvili, whose film “Beginning” is Georgia’s submission for best international feature at the 2021 Oscars.

“Beginning” marks Kulumbegashvili’s feature directorial debut and has made major waves along the film festival circuit since its debut last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the film won the Fipresci Prize. An official selection by the Cannes Film Festival, the project also swept the best film, director, actress and screenplay prizes at the San Sebastian Film Festival; and was featured on the main slate at the New York Film Festival.

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Born and raised in Georgia, Kulumbegashvili studied film at Columbia University, and previously screened her short films “Invisible Spaces” (2014) and “Léthé” (2016) at Cannes.

“Beginning” stars Ia Sukhitashvili as Yana, the wife of the community leader in a sleepy provincial town in Georgia. When the Jehovah Witness community is attacked by an extremist group and Yana’s outer world begins to crumble, her inner discontent grows as “she struggles to make sense of her desires.”

In an interview with Variety last October, Kulumbegashvili reacted to the film being chosen as Georgia’s submission for the international feature film category at the 93rd Academy Awards.

“This year on the jury of the Georgian Oscar selection committee was a lot of young directors and that’s important because I can see that they want to be a bit radical and they connected with the film and have a lot of trust in it,” she said.

Kulumbegashvili also confirmed that she’s started work on an as-yet-untitled second film.

“In some way, I’m exploring the same themes, but I want to go into more depth this time. At the center of the new work is a woman,” she shared. “It’s again set in Georgia and the places that I grew up. The producers and cinematographer are the same, possibly some actors. But I can’t say much more about it.”

“Beginning” will be released via MUBI in North America — as well as in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, India, Turkey and Latin America — on Jan. 29.

Kaleem Aftab contributed to this story.

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