YEREVAN—The 12th Golden Apricot International Film Festival is underway in Yerevan, with opening ceremonies taking place at the Spendiaryan Opera and Ballet Theatre on Sunday, July 12.
Honorary guests and participants of the competition walked the red carpet on Sunday. International actresses Ornella Muti and Nastassja Kinski were both presented with the ”Parajanov Thaler” Award.
The first day of the festival began with a press conference and the traditional apricot blessing ceremony, held this year at the St. Anna Church in Yerevan.
This year, Soviet Armenian film maker Henrik Malyan was remembered with a star plaque placed next to other Armenian filmmakers’ names in Yerevan’s Charles Aznavour Square in honor of his 90th birthday anniversary.
French director, actor, screenwriter, and producer Rober Gedigian’s “Don’t Tell Me the Boy Was Mad” was the first film to be screened on Sunday. The film, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival’s out of competition program, tells the story of generations of Armenians dealing with the Armenian Genocide in the 1970s-1980s.
“With this film I wanted to present the memories of Armenians. It is always said that the winners write history and only memory remains for defeated, but this memory passes through years and again find ways to create: With the help of culture or sometimes weapon,” Gedigian said.
Following the screening, the official opening ceremony was held at National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet. Welcoming speeches were made by the festival’s general director, Harutyun Khachatryan and the general sponsor of the festival for the last ten years, VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian.
“With cinema and art in general, we Armenians stand equal among other cultural nations. It is important to present our cinema art and through the latter to present our aspirations, our vision, our identity. “Golden Apricot” is more than just a cinematographic event, it is a cultural mark for our Nation, an important step to strengthen the unique position of Armenia on the cultural map of the world. 10 years of our Company coincide with 10 years of our support to this unique festival,” Yirikian said.
Over the course of 10 years, VivaCell-MTS has given over 1.2 billion drams to the festival. The first day of the week-long festival also coincided with Vartavar celebrations.
“2015 is a special year. The Golden Apricot Festival organized screenings in various countries to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The festival carried out the program ‘Never Again’ dedicated to the Genocide’s centenary,” French-Armenian film director Serge Avedikian said at the festival’s opening.
Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Hayk Demoyan was among Sunday’s attendees.