"Documentarian", a film by Armenian
director Harutyun Khachatryan won second place
in the Documentary category of the 38th Karlovy
Vary International Film Festival held in Czech
Republic July 4-12.
The director met the Armenian press last week
after returning from the Czech Republic.
Using a documentary filmmaker as its hero, "Documentarian"
chronicles Armenia's transition in the 1990s.
At first it seems as though the movie were a collection
of random and unrelated episodes. But as the film
develops, viewers see how the overall story unfolds
through vignettes that include newborns, orphans,
stray dogs, prisoners, who don't despair even
in their hardest circumstance.
"I thought leading cinematographers and
the European audience wouldn't like our movie
shot on simple and usual, common and bad film,"
Khachatryan says. "However, I was very glad
when they were approaching me saying that the
movie reflects their life as well. That is to
say it is panhuman."
Khachatryan started filming the movie in 1995,
and completed it last January. "Documentarian"
is his sixth documentary and he is also the director
of four feature films. His work has received five
international awards. The film was written by
Mikayel Stamboltsyan and Valery Gasparyan. Vahan
Ter-Hakobyan is the cinematographer.
Consistent with the style of his other movies,
Khachatryan's latest work follows a style that
straddles the line between feature films and documentaries.
"Documentarian" was shot for a budget
of about $80,000 (about 46.5 million drams). The
low budget, its creators say, didn't allow for
the best technical quality, making it even more
rewarding that it should earn praise among films
of much larger budgets.
Harutyun Khachatryan and crew on location
Earlier this year, "Documentarian"
was named one of the five best films during the
Nika Film Festival in Russia.
The Czech festival has been in existence for
more than 55 years (with some interruptions),
and is registered by the International Association
of Film Producers as a class "A" festival.
According to Khachatryan, the special jury award
was a surprise for Armenian participants.
The director said it was a great honor to compete
at this festival with such directors as Austrian
Ulrich Seidl, whose "Jesus, You Know"
won the top prize for the Best Documentary Film.
Following the success of "Documentarian",
Khachatryan has received invitations to new film
festivals in Canada, Korea, Israel and the United
He is currently working on a new project "Ashugh
Jivany". Production of the film began last
year at Hayfilm studio; it is expected to be completed
by the end of this year.
Khachatryan was not Armenia's only representative
at the Czech festival. Susanna Harutyunyan of
Yerevan is president of the professional independent
jury of the feature genre of the International
Federation of Film Critics, which awarded its
prize to a Korean film.