ArmeniaNow.com - Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
June 25, 2004




Fruitful Season of Film: First international festival to begin this week


From June 30-July 4, Armenia will host its first international film festival.

The “Golden Apricot” International Film Festival comes during a year when Armenia’s real apricot crop is questionable, but festival organizers are promising a fertile cultural event.

The idea of carrying out an international film festival in Armenia has been on cinematographers’ mind for many years, but the ambitious step was taken by movie director Harutyun Khachatryan, the chairman of Armenian Association of Film Critics and Cinema Journalists Susanna Harutyunyan and film critic Michael Stamboltsyan.

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“First, this step of ours seemed to be insanity, since to carry out such a festival at least $2.5 million are needed. Anyway, thanks to joint efforts we created a ridiculous budget of $100 thousand, we found people who believed in us and as you see the goal became true,” says Khachatryan, the director of the festival.

According to Khachatryan film is one of the basic tools of art, through which one can show the world the country’s history, its art and culture.

“If before there were five countries in the world that didn’t have a film festival, Armenia was one of them. This is funny and it’s a shame,” Khachatryan adds.

Fifty filmmakers from 20 countries will take part in the festival. Fifty-five films will be shown in five competitions and 30, hors concours.

Prizes will be awarded for: Best Full Length Fiction; Best Short Fiction; Best Documentary; Best Animation or Experimental; and Best Student Film.

The jury for the festival will consist of cinematography specialists of international repute, including: Massimo de Grandi (Italy), president of International Association of Film Unions; Ally Derks the director of Amsterdam International Film Festival,; Kirill Razlogov project director of Moscow International Film Festival, Swedish movie director Gunar Bergdahl and others.

Three retrospective programs will be carried out during the festival dedicated to Armenian Film, and to Sergei Parajanov's and Charles Aznavor's 80th anniversaries. New Russian, Swedish, German, Bulgarian and Italian movies will be shown under the title Yerevan Premieres.

The movies will be shown at Moscow and Nairi movie theatres, and a press center will organize press conferences each day, as well as meetings with cinematographers in order to present completely the works of the film festival.

“The main purpose of the festival is to bring art movies to Armenia, which create a desire to think, to philosophize, to connect with real art,” says Khachatryan. “Our youth doesn’t see anything but the American movies, we need to bring up a new movie audience.”

Financing for the festival is being underwritten by the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia.

“This is the first serious attempt to make Armenia a country of international culture. Maybe this very festival will give a new life and spirit to our art,” says the President of the Union of Businessmen Arsen Ghazaryan. “A face of a country is its culture; let us help ourselves not to lose that face.”

For more information about the festival see www.gaiff.am


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