Golden Apricot:  festivities for Yerevan and its guests

Golden Apricot: festivities for Yerevan and its guests

7-day festival in brief

A major event in Armenia’s cultural life, the Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival is taking place in the first half of July in Yerevan.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Yerevan citizens and tourists arriving in Armenia witness international film celebrities and festival participants in Abovyan street. Festival founding director Harutyun Khachatryan is the most noticeable figure, of course; with his white suit and hat on, he feels right at home these days. Another permanent guest of the festival, film director Roman Balayan is not much keen on Yerevan summer heat.

In 2012, the Golden Apricot took place on July 8-15, comprising unprecedented 1120 applicants from 70 countries worldwide.

This festival featured its traditional competition and non-competition programs, the Tribute and Retrospective screenings.

Frunze Dovlatyan-85, Andrei Tarkovsky-80, Yuri Yerznkyan-90 anniversaries were celebrated; a new “Book and Cinema” program was presented.

“Let there be light” award was established by the Armenian Apostolic church; Catholicos of All Armenians His Holiness Karekin II granted the first award to renowned Russian film director Alexander Sokurov.

Competition program was quite diverse this year. Interestingly enough, some documentary directors presented foreign countries rather than their motherland in their films. Petr Lom from Czech Republic tells the story of the revolution in Egypt, while Serbian Goran Radovanovic finds inspiration in Cuba people's hard life, and Fidel Castro. South Korea sent only one representative to the festival. A South American participant, José Luis Torres Leiva from Chile submitted his amateur filming of summertime in his native countryside. His film got a Jury Special Prize.

On the whole, the international competition program 2012 was notable for psychological drama movies, with discrepant public opinions. The most notorious one was Russian Vassili Sigarev's “Living”. Some dubbed it as a masterpiece, others named Sigarev a trouble-maker.

Sigarev takes the reaction calmly saying the judgement depends on a person's state of mind. Optimists strive to live, while the unhappy ones seek the contrary.

“The Minister”, a film with a political context, disliked by the administration of the ex-president of France Nicolas Sarkozy and praised by current leader Francois Hollande was among the festival participants.

As to Armenian Panorama program, its feature part comprised greater number of participants from Armenia (over the past years, feature films included mostly Diaspora Armenians or foreigners).

The documentary part, as usual, was mostly devoted to the subject of the Armenian Genocide presented by local and Diaspora Armenian directors. For instance, Suzanne Khardalian presented tattoos of Armenian women during the Genocide, Eric Nazarian and Nigol Bezjian sought traces of their ancestry in Istanbul; Eric V. Hachikian went to Amasia, the native town of his grandmother, and Armen Gasparyan told the story of generations that fled the massacre, in particular, a woman now living in Armenia.

“In the Fog”, directed by Sergei Loznitsa (Belarus) was awarded Golden Apricot as Best Feature Film. “Five Broken Cameras” by Emad Burnat from Palestine was named Best Documentary Film.

“Armenian Rhapsody” by Brazil’s Cesar Gananian got Best Armenian Documentary of the Armenian Panorama. In Best Armenian Fiction Film category, Natalia Belauskene’s “If Only Everyone” got Golden Apricot, while “Nana” by Valerie Massadian, France was awarded a Special Prize – Silver Apricot.

2012 Golden Apricot festival did not attract famous guests; instead, it presented various programs.

Next year will mark 10th anniversary of the Festival. It would be good to see some issues settled then (e.g. those organizing master classes consider wishes of the participants, or films are shown in a better quality), and our favourite Golden Apricot become even more impressive and showy.

Sona Khachatryan / PanARMENIAN News
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