The film recounts the dramatic events that take place at a beauty contest involving ten mothers, five of whom belong to the poorest sections of society, and their many children. The mothers are desperately trying to win a beauty contest which main prize is an apartment and $25,000. Dreams are quick to vanish as realization dawns that the competition is a complete farce. The media and organizers of the show are exploiting the misfortunes of the participants: Georgian women, the Abkhazian war and patriotism are all themes constituting a ploy to create entertainment for the audience, ending up causing a massive fight among participants.
"While shooting a documentary, I met a beautiful, intelligent woman, and the mother of seven kids, who told me how she took part in a beauty contest for mothers. I was swayed by ambivalent feelings as I listened to her. It was a tragic painful story, yet at times so absurd that I could hardly refrain from laughing. I decided immediately that somehow I was going to make a film out of it. Keep Smiling is a heartfelt story, a vast reservoir of pain but told with satiric humour, a tale of six Georgian women taking part in a beauty contest of mothers. The media and organizers exploit the participants' human tragedies: the lives of Georgian women, the Abkhazian war, patriotism. The film is about how easy it is to become a puppet in somebody's hands and how hard it is to retain self-respect. Is it right that the end justifies the means? And does winning at the price of lost dignity make one happy?" (Rusudan Chkonia)
Rusudan Chkonia (Tbilisi, Georgia, 1978) graduated from film directing studies in 2001. That same year, she directed Bediani - Lucky Village and Children Without a Name - her diploma film, which earned her numerous prizes. The following year, she followed with Spring and Land of Promise. Between 2005 and 2006, Chkonia took part in Berlinale's Talent Campus. In 2007, she was invited to The Résidence at Cannes' Cinéfondation foundation. After receiving a number of scholarships and taking on several projects, in 2012, she produced, wrote and directed Keep Smiling.