New General Director and Program Director of Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival Announced

19 December 2018


On December 18 Golden Apricot IFF had a press conference in the Armenian Union of Filmmakers, during which the heads of the festival announced changes in staff and program structure.

The three co-founders of the festival - director Harutyun Khachatryan, program director Mikayel Stamboltsyan and artistic director Susanna Harutyunyan summed up the festival’s work in the past 15 years, after which Khachatryan announced that although they will remain consultants and run the Golden Apricot Fund for Cinema Development, the co-founders feel it is time to pass the torch to the younger generation: “It’s better to get out yourself before they kick you out”, he mentioned jokingly.

Afterwards he gave the floor to the newly appointed general director Hasmik Hovhannisyan and program director Karen Avetisyan, both of which have cooperated with Golden Apricot in the past. A number of years ago Hovhannisyan, a producer, managed the festival’s international department, while Karen Avetisyan, a radio host and cultural journalist, has long been a member of the festival’s selection committee and a writer for the festival daily. The two spoke of their vision of the festival’s future.

According to Avetisyan a few changes are to be expected in the festival’s program: “Fiction and documentary feature-length films will be united in a single competition program, which will not have genre limitations and will seek to include the best current films of any kind. A similarly conceived short film competition will be added to the program, but with a regional focus, meaning it will include films from Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey”.

Armenian fiction and documentary films may be included in international competitions. Avetisyan explained that “instead of the traditional “Armenian Panorama” format the festival had, Armenian cinema now will be viewed and contextualized within international and regional cinema”. Along with the traditional Yerevan Premieres programs, which showcased award-winning films from international film festivals, the festival will now also have the Armenian Premieres section, where Armenian productions will have their first screenings. A non-competitive showcase of feature-length regional films will be added, while the retrospectives and tributes programs will remain the same.

Noting that they are not planning on doing many drastic changes, Hasmik Hovhannisyan stated that “the festival will be adopting a more environmentally friendly policy, meaning that it will focus on developing AR and mobile applications, while reducing the amount of printing”.

Another speaker, program manager Sona Karapoghosyan, stated that the GAIFF Pro Industry Platform, which had its first successful run in 2018 led by Melik Karapetyan, will continue its work with plans of expansion in the near future.

Golden Apricot 16th Yerevan International Film Festival will take place July 7-14, 2019. The call for applications will open on January 10, 2019, while the GAIFF Pro professional accreditation will open on February 28, 2019.