For the 9th year, Yerevan celebrated the Golden Apricot International Film Festival. The country of Sergei Paradjanov, one of the oldest and richest cultures in the world, needed and deserved an event like this, giving the chance to the people of the city, specially the numerous youth community, to see some of the best movies made all over the world in the most recent months. The festival also offered the foreign guests – directors, producers, journalists — a possibility for an insight look at both the national cinema and the cinemas of bordering countries.
The viewers of Golden Apricot could see movies from Cannes official selection, as Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or winner Love (Amour) or Sergei Loznitsa's In the Fog (V Tumane), which moved from the FIPRESCI Cannes glory to winning the main Jury prize at the Yerevan festival. Another major festival asset was the rare possibility to see films, produced by Georgia, Turkey, Kazhakstan and Iran, which demonstrated not only the actual development of their national cinemas, but also allowed for a glimpse into important social and cultural issues, troubling these countries.
The intense, but always highly anticipated social program included, among others, the awarding of "Let There Be Light" prize to Alexander Sokurov, bestowed at the Gevorkian Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin; a celebration of the 80th anniversary of Andrei Tarkovsky, held at the Sergei Parajanov Museum; the launch of Armenian Cinema in 100 Years, a book, written by our FIPRESCI colleague Artsvi Bakhchinyan.
However, nothing could be compared to the real pleasure of sharing a week with Victor Erice, president of the international jury, who agreed to offer a Master's class at TUMO, the Centre for Creative Technologies, a unique space intended for young adults and teenagers. Their lively communication with Erice was one of those rare moments of truth which, being rooted in both the past and the present of cinema, reassured us that it would definitely also have a future!
Focusing on films from the region, our jury decided to give the FIPRESCI prize to a movie from the section Directors Across Borders, namely The First Rains of Spring (Koktemnin Birinshi Zhambyry), directed by Yerlan Nurmuhambetov and Sano Shinju (Kazakhstan/Japan, 2011), for its "the poetic sensitivity and immaginative ways of telling a universal story of life, death and love". (João Antunes)
Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival: www.gaiff.com