studio hopes that cooperation with partners
will lead to more reels and more success.
Since 1976 Hayfilm movie studio (named after
Hamo Beknazaryan) has maintained its place on
33.4 hectares just outside Yerevan.
But since 1990, little has gone on there. This
year, though, six films have been shot at the
studio and are now being edited.
"If during the past 12 years we've been
in the abyss then today we've reached the surface
and now are climbing up," says director of
the film studio Gevorg Gevorgyan.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union Hayfilm
had to face the problem of survival. Before the
collapse eight movies were shot every year. Since,
however, Hayfilm could manage to work only on
one movie per year. In its prime, 1,100 people
worked at the studio; now there are 270, barely
managing on money allotted from the state budget.
"This is the only place in Armenia today
where there are so many constructions and buildings,
which remained intact," Gevorgyan says. "Everything
is in its place. Nothing was lost or sold, not
even a single needle. With great difficulties
we've managed to survive and we've saved the studio
by all means."
Gevorgyan has been director of the studio since
1992. He complains that difficult years fell to
his lot but he also says that the world of art
is something that, once entered, cannot be left.
Every year the studio gets 256 million drams
(about $450,000) from the state budget for shooting
one feature film and 117 million drams (about
$210,000) for shooting three animated films. An
additonal 4.5 million drams (about $8,000) is
allotted for preservation of the cinematography
collection and the same amount of money for participation
at different festivals.
But the money from the government is not enough
to do its work, so Hayfilm has started searching
for money itself.
"To be more exact, we are looking for partners
for producing films," Gevorgyan says. "We
divide sums allotted for shooting feature films
into three parts then we prepare the estimates
and give 30-50 percent of the total sum to our
business partners. Movies produced in cooperation
are not only sources for finding money but they
are also an opportunity for entering the free
270 workers keep HayFilm going.
Director Vigen Chaldranyan's "Symphony of
Silence", an Armenian-French production,
is one such movies. This year an American-Armenian
movie "Samantha" has been shot (directed
by Ruben Kochar). "Mariam", a movie
directed by David Safaryan, was done in cooperation
with Holland and Germany.
Gevorgyan says that the movie "Merry Bus"
(directed by Albert Mkrtchyan) is taken with great
enthusiasm in Berlin, however, there are no countries
that wish to screen the movie even for the cheapest
"When we ask why they say, 'The audience
will like your movie but how can we make them
come to theatres if they don't know Hayfilm director
and actors?'. It means that we must become known
in the world," says Gevorgyan.
"Ashugh Jivan" directed by Harutyun
Khachatryan and "Searching for Paradise"
directed by Suren Babayan are now on the final
stage of editing in the film studio. A documentary
dedicated to Aram Khachatryan will be finished
soon as well. Gayane Martirosyan's "Three
Bells", Robert Sahakyants' "Fairy Tale"
and the third part of "David of Sasun"
animated films will also be finished soon.
The director says that movies shot in Hayfilm
are taken to different festivals and win awards,
hoewver, today Hayfilm cannot enter the film market
because it requires too much money. Businessmen
don't invest money in the film industry as there
is no film business in Armenia.
"Making movies is a very expensive thing
as well as a big source of business. We still
have a long way to go. The world of cinematography
has finally been developed and, like in the mafia,
newcomers are not welcomed very well and are treated
suspiciously in this field," Gevorgyan says.
Gevorgyan is sure that Armenia has great possibilities
for becoming a regional center of film industry.
"We have been holding on to Hayfilm with
all our strength for 15 years. We were against
the sale of the film studio. Now we try to privatize
and save the studio by attracting investments,"
In spite of cold working conditions, Gevorgyan
says the film studio staff are happy doing their
"Of course, still there are a lot of things
to do before we call the situation satisfactory
but we are happy that Hayfilm exist," he
says. "We are happy that we can shoot movies
freely and we will do anything to put the studio
into shape. I believe that Armenian cinema has