The news broke last night (December 7) during the closing weekend of the Tbilisi International Film Festival, which ran in the Georgian capital throughout this week. Attendees at the fest took to social media to express their grief at the news.
Urushadze was one of the country’s most prominent filmmakers. In addition to his directing work, he also oversaw the Georgian National Cinema Center between 2002 and 2004, and until recently headed the Georgian Film Academy.
The son of a famous Soviet football goalkeeper, Urushadze was born in Tbilisi in 1965. His debut feature was 1998’s Here Comes The Dawn, which played international festivals and was the country’s Oscar submission that year, though was not nominated.
A decade later, he returned with the drama Three Houses, and in 2013 directed his most renowned work, Tangerines – the film was a hit on the festival circuit after premiering at the Warsaw Film Festival, eventually leading to its Oscar nomination in 2015 and its acquisition for U.S. distribution by Samuel Goldwyn Films.
He also directed two features since then: 2017 drama The Confession, which played festivals including Chicago and Busan, and the 2019 drama Anton, which is yet to premiere.
According to media reports, Urushadze died as a result of a heart attack. Deadline has reached out to sources in Georgia for further information.