Documentary on Morro Bay music teacher wins award at Maine film festival

slinn@thetribunenews.comJuly 22, 2013 

In this 2007 photo, "Botso" Korisheli gives a piano lesson to student Madeline Ogle, 10, at his home in Morro Bay.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

A locally made documentary has taken the top honor at the Maine International Film Festival.

“Botso: The Teacher from Tbilisi” won the festival’s audience award for best film on Sunday.

"We are thrilled to receive this honor, especially since it was our world premiere,” filmmaker Tom Walters said.

“Botso” was among more than 100 films screened at the Maine International Film Festival, which ran July 12 through Sunday in Waterville, Maine.

Directed by Walters and written by Hilary Roberts Grant, “Botso” tells the story of Morro Bay music teacher Wachtang “Botso” Korisheli, a native of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia who endured personal loss, political strife and war before immigrating to the United States.

Since arriving in Morro Bay in 1957, the 91-year-old has become one of the region’s most influential arts educators. He founded what is now the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony in 1965.

In addition to the Maine International Film Festival, Grant and Walters plan to screen “Botso” at a Hawaiian film festival early next year.

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