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Maryam d’Abo-honorary guest of TIFF

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, December 6
One of the honorary guests of the 14th Tbilisi International Film Festival (TIFF), Maryam d’Abo met with journalists developing their English language skills at the British Council Georgia.

Welcoming TIFF, d’Abo said she has attended for the last several years. “If I did not like it I wouldn’t be back.” she said on December 5th.

Expressing her respect towards TIFF organizers Gaga Chkheidze and Nino Anjaparidze “for making it a special event for cinema,” d’Abo said it is a relaxing festival where you can discover the culture of other countries.

The granddaughter of anti-communist Georgian General Giorgi Kvinitadze, d’Abo was not born in Georgia, nor she can speak Georgian, but still there is something in her genes that makes her familiar with this country.

“My mother was born here and they escaped…” she said recollecting the story of her family. D’Abo remembers how her Georgian grandfather called her “Malenkaia Dushka” which in Russian means “my little sweetheart.”

The street where the Georgian Ministry of Defense is currently located is named after General Kvinitadze.

The actress, who was born in London and raised in European cities such as Paris and Geneva, still knows Georgian words like madloba, which means thank you, and gamarjoba, which means hello.

Despite their European lifestyle, her Georgian mother used to make typical Georgian dishes like lobio and hachapuri.

During her visit to the British Council Georgia, d’Abo presented the short film Madame Ida about the last days of the famous ballet dancer Ida Rubinstein, who died in total obscurity.

British Council also received a unique present from d’Abo called On the Front Line, which is the collected journalism of Marie Colvin, a well-known journalist killed on assignment in Homs, Syria, on February 22, 2012. Colvin was her friend.

Apart from her acting career, d’Abo is also interested in documentary film-making. Last year she even made a film on brain surgery-a problem she has personally experienced in life.

The former Bond girl is currently making a film about people with extraordinary names. “And the most extraordinary name is James Bond.” she told journalists, stressing that a common name has changed her life.

Story-telling in Georgia is on d’Abo’s agenda for the next year. While trying to get funding for her documentary, she is generating story ideas. She wants to make a film about Georgia in the early 20th century.

D’Abo explained that Georgian story-telling takes different forms-from tamadas (toast-masters) to poetry, theatre, cinema… “It is culture that attracts people to Georgia,” she said promising to visit Georgia again this next spring or summer when shooting her film.

The British Council regularly works in partnership with TIFF to present contemporary U.K. films to Georgian and international audiences at the festival. It also encourages U.K. film professionals to attend the festival, which helps promote British films and encourages cooperation between British and Georgian filmmakers.

Among the British films being screened at TIFF this year include Nick Broomfield’s The Battle for Haditha and Biggie and Tupac, Paul Wright’s For Those in Peril, Sophie Fiennes’ The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, William Oldroyd’s In Mid Wickedness and Michael Hoffman’s The Last Station, which is the closing film of the festival.