Iva Pezuashvili sat in the cozy confines of Cortado during a brisk, bright morning. As one of the International Writing Program residents, Pezuashvili is a filmmaker, screenwriter, and writer who hails from Georgia. Pezuashvili has written for several TV dramas, has written and directed several short films, and is currently an author of two story collections. With short brown hair and glasses, he speaks in quick rhythmic swathes about his adversities when attending Shota Rustaveli Cinema and Theatre University for filmmaking.
“Of my four years there, I’d never seen a professional camera until my movie set,” he said. “We didn’t have funding from the university. We were spending our parents’ money to shoot something.”
His university didn’t offer the students any cameras or anything of that sort when they were studying filmmaking.
On Sunday, he screened his short film, Babazi, at the IWP Cinémathèque. Babazi was originally a short story that he turned into a film. The film was met with applause, with several scenes being shot in a forest in the dead of winter.
“We used an old camera,” Pezuashvili said. “In under 10-degree weather, we worked for only 14 minutes. By that time, the battery would die. So we would charge, then shoot, then charge, then shoot.”
Pezuashvili’s dedication to filmmaking runs deep; it’s his craft. During his time writing for television, he said, it was a strange and long process.
“I’ll be on a set for 26 or 27 hours,” he said. “No one is paid extra for it. It was our job. In television, it’s your life. When you’re working in film or for a TV series, you don’t have the weekend.”
His passion for his craft is palpable; Pezuashvili’s eyes brightened at just the idea of shooting a film.
“When you’re standing on a set, and you’re a director, and 120 people are waiting for your orders, it’s amazing,” he said. “Storyboarding, figuring out how to shoot [a scene], all of it, it’s amazing. That’s why I see myself as a filmmaker more than a writer.”
His collection of short stories, I Tried, and an anthology in which he is featured called The Book of Tbilisi are available for purchase online. In the future, Pezuashvili plans to apply for the Iowa Writers’ Workshop fiction program after his time in the IWP, and he plans on finishing a novel that is currently in the works.