Golden Apricot draws international film talent to Yerevan

by Seda Stepanyan

Published: Friday July 22, 2011

Festival founder Harutyun Khachatryan (on left) with Fanny Ardant and Armenian government officials. Tigran Tadevosyan / Photolur


Golden Apricot draws international film talent to Yerevan

Yerevan - For the eighth consequent year, leading international film directors and their works came together in Armenia for the Golden Apricot International Film Festival. This year's festival, taking place from July 10 to 17, involved films from nearly 60 countries.

As has become tradition, the festival was preceded by the blessing of apricots at Yerevan's Zoravor church.

This festival itself began with screening of Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy." Last year, the film by internationally acclaimed Iranian director won the Cannes Festival prize in the "Best Actress" nomination for the lead role played by French actress Juliette Binoche.

Festival's main guest was another famed French actress Fanny Ardant, who presented two films that she directed: "Ashes and blood" 2009 and "Absent Dreams" 2010.

Another Cannes awarded film came from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan who presented his "Once upon a time in Anatolia." The film follows a doctor who works in small towns of provincial Turkey finding himself in unusual situations and often suggesting eccentric solutions, to life's challenges.

One of the most impressive film was "Sunrise over Lake Van" directed by Artak Igityan and Vahan Stepanyan in 2011. An 80-year-old Garabed whose mother miraculously survived the Genocide tries to preserve the memory of the lost Motherland in his American-born children and save the family from mutual alienation and rift.

Garabed himself believes he is duty-bound to burn the Turkish flag in front of the Turkish Embassy every year on April 24. This is the only form of protest available to him. Such stunts irritate Garabed's son Tigran, who has to pay fines for his father, and lead to discord with his 17-year-old grandson, who is in love with his Turkish-born classmate.

One of this year's novelties at the festival was a short film program "Apricot Stone" in which young filmmakers had a chance of sharing their vision for the future of cinematography.

Festival winning entries included in International Feature Film Competition:

"Golden Apricot" for the best feature film was bestowed upon "Nader and Simin, a Separation" by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi.

"Silver Apricot" was awarded to "The Journals of Musan" by Korean director Park Jung-Bum.

The Special Jury Prize was given to "The Prize" by Argentine-Mexican director Paula Markovitch.

In international Documentary Film Competition:

Golden Apricot: "The World according to Ion B." by Alexander Nanau

Silver Apricot: "Summer Pasture" by Lynn True, Nelson Walker III, Tsering Perlo

Special Mention: "Magnificent Nothing" by Ahmad Seyedkeshmiri

In Armenian Panorama Competition Program:

Golden Apricot for Best Armenian Film and Best Short film: "Loading My Life" by Haroutyun Shatyan

Silver Apricot: "The Spaceship" by Emil Mkrtchian

Special Mention: "The Last Hippie of the Pink City" by Anastasia Popova

In Golden Apricot Stone Competition for Short Films:

Golden Apricot: Glasgow by Piotr Subbotko

Special Mention: Bicycle by Serhat Karaaslan

And in special prize categories:

FIPRESCI Jury Prize: "Mandoo" by Ebrahim Saeedi

Ecumenical Jury: "Europolis" by Cornel Gheorghita

Jury Commendation: Steel Gates by Armen Khachatryan

Hrant Matevosyan Prize went to Emil Mkrttchian for the film "The Spaceship".

British Council prize went to "Loading My Life" by Haroutyun Shatyan. The same film won the "Nvard" prize.

The Special Prize of the Armenian Film Academy "Unique Artistic View" went to "The Prize" by Paula Markovitch.

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