International Day of Tolerance Marked in Yerevan with Award Ceremony

YEREVAN (Armenpress)-The International Day of Tolerance was celebrated in Armenia last week with a special award ceremony.
The ceremony concluded the "Tolerance Without Borders" film competition in Armenia for feature length and documentary films addressing tolerance-related issues. Twelve film projects–all in pre-production-were submitted for the competition with seven being selected for a pitching session that was held with the producers on September 20 at the UN House.
The film award went Gor Baghdasarian for his script "Playground". Gor Baghdasarian, a very young but prominent producer born in 1988, in Yerevan. He started making films in 2002 at the "Manana" Youth Educational-Cultural Center, where he was studying filmmaking and journalism. Baghdasarian now studies at Yerevan State University, Department of Philosophy. All his films have been produced with the use of his own scripts and have received several awards in different festivals for children and youth, as well as in festivals for professional filmmakers.
"Tolerance is a learned attribute, a virtue, which requires honest effort on the part of every person. It takes time to develop real tolerance, and it also takes commitment," said the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Consuelo Vidal during the opening speech at the ceremony. "The UNDP, in partnership with the OSCE, is proud to support the "Tolerance without Borders" pilot project initiated by Directors Across Borders and the Golden Apricot Fund for Cinema Development. We are confident that this wonderful initiative will contribute to shaping attitudes of openness and mutual respect among individuals as well as among ethnic, social, cultural, religious and other groups".
"Expanding the ideas of tolerance in the OSCE countries is one of the obligations and conditions ensuring stability in Europe," Silvia Pogolsa, the Human Rights Officer of OSCE Office in Yerevan. "Through concrete projects and activities, the OSCE institutions are prepared to offer all necessary support to governmen’s and civil society for the implementation of these commitmen’s".
"The role of art is to withdraw these borders–as artists are above the borders and need a ‘common space’ uniting all people in the world notwithstanding the color of skin, beliefs, ethnicity and sex," said the General Director of Golden Apricot International Film Festival Harutyun Khachatrian as he touched upon the issue of arbitrary borders created by politicians for geo-political interests. "The motto of the Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival, since its establishment in 2004, has been ‘The Crossroads of Cultures and civilizations.’"
"All the pre-selected seven projects were very interesting and worthy of being filmed, it was really hard to select the best, and we will try our best to assist the realization of other projects as well," said Susanna Harutunian the Artistic Director of Golden Apricot IFF as she expressed her gratitude to the 12 producers participating in the competition and conveyed her high appreciation to the UNDP Armenia Office and the OSCE Office in Yerevan for their interest in the initiative and great support.
The objective of the "Tolerance Without Borders" program is to trigger discussions in the society on tolerance-related issues, to address its various aspects and see how artists view the problems of tolerance and how the filmmakers address it. Within this framework, the UNDP Armenia Country Office and the OSCE Office in Yerevan established a joint award of $5,000 provided by UNDP and 1,500 euros provided by OSCE for the production of a short film.
This joint pilot project proved to be a success and laid the groundwork for further joint activities in the area of tolerance promotion. The UNDP and OSCE expressed their interest to bring this cooperation onto a new stage and engage more producers, filmmakers and artists in the upcoming initiatives within the framework of the annual DAB Regional Co-Production Forum.
"Tolerance Without Borders" competition is a pilot project of the Golden Apricot festival initiated by the Directors Across Borders (DAB) and the Golden Apricot Fund for Cinema Development and supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Armenia Country Office and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office in Yerevan.

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