9 Month Contract
December 15, 2022
9 Month Contract
9 Month Contract
by Ketevan Vashagashvili
1991 Productions | Georgia, Agitprop | Bulgaria
and Elamag Pictures | Germany
Documentary | 1st feature
When raising a kid as a homeless single mother in Tbilisi becomes too hard, Jana decides to rent out her uterus to foreigners, in order to give her daughter the life she herself never had.
Set in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, we meet Jana, a single Mom of 13-year old Elene. Jana has no education, nor a stable job. Her childhood was spent in orphanages and streets, with the state of homelessness plaguing her into adult life. When she finds out she can make an easy buck – 14.000 USD in just 9 months – by becoming a surrogate mother, she jumps on the occasion. And surrogacy becomes her only source of income.
Upon our meeting Jana, she’s already onto her third pregnancy. Her health is deteriorating, yet she sticks to the task to avoid homelessness. Third pregnancy turns out very unordinary. The surrogacy agency fails to provide Jana with a contract with the ‘parents’. This remains a fact throughout her entire pregnancy to the point of fraud, where the agency tries to push her into taking the baby out of the hospital illegally. Jana refuses to partake in an illegal activity, gives birth and leaves the baby behind.
The sum of those dramatic complications brings Jana towards a U-turn in her life. The ambivalence she always had towards this profession – culminating in the reality of an infant ‘standing’ at the doors of an orphanage – is a burden she can no longer carry. There’s now no other way, but to find other source for living. The questions are many. Not least, how to break the vicious circle that takes Jana and Elene back to the streets. The pressure to succeed is immense. The only other option is another pregnancy – the ‘last one’ as Jana always calls them.
Ketevan Vashagashvili is a documentary filmmaker based in Tbilisi, Georgia. She is a Chevening Alumni with an MA in Digital Documentary from the University of Sussex (UK). Her main interest lies in social and human rights issues. Ketevan has twelve years experience of working at Georgian TV channels and online platforms, directing and producing TV documentaries, TV series, and programs. Currently, she is developing her first independent feature-length documentary ”9-Month Contract” about a surrogate mother Jana. Ten years ago Ketevan made a short documentary about the same character, which created a significant impact in Georgia.
1991 Productions is a Tbilisi, Georgia-based film production and service company that develops, finances and produces talented directors’ fiction and documentary films through European co-productions. Company’s most recent work is director Levan Akin’s new feature film currently in production, produced by French Quarter Film (Sweden) and co-produced by 1991 Productions among others.
Feature documentary Glory to the Queen produced in 2020 (Georgia, Austria, Serbia) was funded by Eurimages and screened over 25 festivals globally, winning the Best Documentary award in Georgia in 2021.
Currently, 1991 Productions is releasing a feature documentary Smiling Georgia (Ex
Oriente Film 2020), as well as developing feature film Tear Gas (funded by GNFC and; CNC), feature documentaries 9-Month Contract (EAVE CHANGE), Berliner (Nipkow 2022), and mini series Nino and Iliko (Midpoint 2022).