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January 7, 2004 2:00 AM
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Artistic License to Switch on "Power Trip" in Theaters

Artistic License to Switch on "Power Trip" in Theaters

by Brian Brooks










Piers Lewis, a representative of the American owned power company that provides electricity to Tbilisi, tries to calm angry residents of the Georgian capital on why the company isn't responsible for the city's frequent blackouts in Paul Devin's "Power Trip." Photo by Paul Devlin.

North American distribution rights to Paul Devlin's documentary, "Power Trip" has been acquired by Artistic License, the New York-based film company announced Monday. The film screened during a two-week engagement at New York's Film Forum and received a best documentary nomination for the 2004 Independent Spirit Awards, which will be held next month.

"Power Trip" chronicles the attempt by American energy company AES to modernize following its purchase of a Soviet-era electrical company in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Company representatives face the challenge of modernizing the city's power while also training a populace used to free (although unreliable) electricity courtesy of the former communist regime. Attempts by the company to add new meters for billing purposes brings about comical responses from Tbilisi residents strapped for cash, including pensioners and even the country's Energy Minister. The company even cut power to the capital's airport due to an overdue bill.

In addition to its two-week stint at Film Forum, the film screened at a host of festivals in 2003 including the Berlinale where it won the Berliner Zeitung and Readers' Jury prize. "Power Trip" also received the Grand Jury award for best documentary feature at the Florida Film Festival and the best international documentary (feature) prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

"I've known Paul since he was in production on 'SlamNation,'" said Sande Zeig, president of Artistic License in a company release. "With 'Power Trip' he has proven that he's a great documentary filmmaker. Everyone who switches on the lights or the electric stove should see this film." Artistic License is currently booking the film's theatrical release.

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