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In the isolated mountainous region of Tusheti in North East Georgia, life has remained largely unchanged since medieval times until last summer, when the Georgian government introduced free wifi access. As a result, the aspirations of young Tushetians are shifting dramatically, caught between nostalgia for the past and yearning for the future – and nowhere is this conflict of desires more pronounced than during Atengenoba, the region’s traditional summer festivities, which also fall within its busiest tourist season.

This screening is part of Projections Commissions 2019. Most people encounter artists’ work in the moving image in gallery spaces, or not at all. But given that from its earliest days, all cinema was artists’ cinema, it seems like a missed opportunity – for artists and audiences alike – that artists’ voices are seldom heard in cinemas.

The annual Projections Commissions from Tyneside Cinema aim to address this by asking artists to make films specifically for the context of the cinema. For the artists, it’s a unique challenge and a huge opportunity, to reach a truly mass audience. For cinemas, it’s a chance to expand programmes and connect with audiences and ideas in a different way.

Xitana will screen with Minding the Gap from Fri 22 Mar.