Filmmaker Nikolai Shengelaya had a great effect on the development of Georgian cinema, taking it in innovative directions and establishing it as a major force in Soviet cinema. A poet and novelist in the early '20s, Shengelaya became an assistant director in 1924. He also co-wrote screenplays. After working under a number of filmmakers for a few years, he co-directed Giulli in 1927. The film distinguished itself for avoiding the clichés previously associated with Georgian cinema. Shengelaya's first solo feature, Eliso (1928), was one of the first films to accurately chronicle the history of the Caucasian people. His sons, Eldar and Georgi Shengelaya, both grew up to become prominent Georgian filmmakers and screenwriters. His grandson (Nikolai Shengelaya II, son of Georgi Shengelaya) is also in the business, as an art director and set designer.
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