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About Yerevan, Aznavour and career

Atom Egoyan:

About Yerevan, Aznavour and career

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian-Canadian film director Atom Egoyan is in Yerevan to participate in the Golden Apricot International Film Festival (GAIFF) for the tenth consecutive year. He not only accepted a photo session request from PanARMENIAN Photo but also agreed to answer some questions from PanARMENIAN.Net news agency.

Transformations of Yerevan

The city has changed dramatically. When I first came here, I was shocked. There was deprivation, blockade, no electricity. It was really terrible. So, I feel very hopeful and grateful to see how the city looks now. As for people, they have become much more inquiring and that’s good. People are questioning the future and where ‘they are going’ and they should do so. I think we are now at another critical point.

“Traces” of Ararat

The confusing point is that we expected more openness from the Turkish side, as I think the film is actually offering a dialogue. But many people reacted against the film and it’s a part of propaganda. The positive thing is that the film is still being talked about, although 11 years have passed since its release.

Aznavour and Ararat

I have always dreamt about having the world’s most famous Armenian starring in my film.

About the influence of previous works

Sometimes my previous works make me angry and I think that something could be different. It’s important for a filmmaker to find his own and unique style through freeing himself from other styles. And the influence of previous films should be reduced to zero.

GAIFF development

I believe the question for now is to invite more distributors and producers to make it more marketable. We have to think about it seriously as the next step of development.

Social filmmaking

I think the opportunity social films provide is the window for the other part of Europe to see how people live here. It’s not necessarily to present the positive sides of the life. It’s the chance to see what the problems are and what people are struggling with. That’s one the reasons we have these types of films.

Armenian movie industry lacks…

There should be more connection with the outside world, like cooperation agreements and technical connection with other countries. The Ministry of Culture should also contribute to this process.

Difference between European and Hollywood films

They become more and more connected. I think the real issue is the difference between small films and industrial films. Europe, as well as Armenia loves Hollywood - everyone loves Hollywood. The real question is how you continue to fight the tendency of large scale, industrially-driven cinema.


During my childhood I was desperate to assimilate, in Victoria, I wanted to be like the other kids. They used to call me the little Arab boy because I was a little darker, had a strange name and came from egypt. It wasn‘t until adolescence that I realized something had been lost in my life

Arsinée Khanjian

Armenian princess, my desired actress and wife, we love actually working together, arguing that theatre is far more collaborative than film, it’s actually a huge disruption in terms of family life making a film, Adultery, terror and vials of poison notwithstanding. She affected my professional life and forced me to think more strongly about my Armenian identity. Our relationship merged with the stories of the movies

About non-professional actors

It's ingenious and we can get the performance in a natural form. So I applaud it.

100th anniversary of Genocide

I hope we'll make a film that talks about that. But we're running out of time, so this film is to be made now. I would rather have a strong film that centers on the issue, so the production has to launch now, what is only 2 years till the 100th anniversary. So I'm just happy that I made my film 12 years ago.

Vahan Stepanyan / PanARMENIAN Photo, Mane Yepremyan / PanARMENIAN.Net
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