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Would-Be August War Film Premiere Protesters Arrested
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Jun.'11 / 01:48

Four persons were arrested on the Rustaveli Avenue on Sunday, as they were intending to express protest close to a movie theater where a much-hyped premiere of an action film 5 Days of August was about to start.

Hollywood stars Andy Garcia and Sharon Stone were in Tbilisi on Sunday to attend the premiere of the film about the Russia-Georgia war of August, 2008.

Directed by Renny Harlin, best known for his Hollywood big-budget action movies Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger, the 5 Days of August saw its local premiere in Tbilisi on June 5, accompanied by an overly extensive TV coverage in lead up and during the Hollywood celebrities' presence in the town.

Garcia plays President Saakashvili in the film. Sharon Stone, who arrived in Tbilisi after attending a music award ceremony Muz-TV 2011 in Moscow, does not appear in the film at all; she attended the premiere in Tbilisi and after that a charity event to raise funds for the families of those who suffered during the August war.

Lasha Chkhartishvili, an opposition activist, who together with some other activists were reportedly intending to hold a banner "August Days are Celebration for Saakashvili and Tragedy for Georgia" was arrested by the police close to the Parliament not far from the Rustaveli movie theater, where the film's red carpet premiere was held. He was charged with petty hooliganism and disobeying police orders; three other persons were also arrested with the same charges.

Late on Sunday Chkhartishvili was sentenced by the Tbilisi City Court to ten days in jail and three others were released, but fined with GEL 400 each. 

Also on June 5, a separate, also small group of protesters were holding English-language banners like "Cheap Propaganda is't Art"; "Don't Make Show by War" outside the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, where the Hollywood stars were staying. Protesters were saying that the film was "a waste of money on useless propaganda."

The film director Renny Harlin said, that the film budget was USD 12 million, not USD 20 million as it was reported initially when he was starting filming in 2009.

Produced with Georgia's support, the main plot of the film follows an American journalist – played by British actor Rupert Friend -  and his cameraman who get caught in the midst of the August war.

The film premiered more than two years after Russia's state television station, First Channel, aired Olympus Inferno, the movie about the August war, depicting the Russian official version of events.

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