YEREVAN—The 15th Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival began July 8 and will take place until July 15. Founded in 2004, the film festival is named after an indispensable part of Armenian culture: the apricot, called “prunus armeniaca” in Latin, meaning “the Armenian plum.” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Armen Sarkissian attended the festival’s grand opening.
At the festival, films are presented in two international competition sections: features and documentaries. One Grand Prize Golden Apricot and one Special Mention (Silver Apricot) are awarded in each category. The festival has a special pan-Armenian competitive section, Armenian Panorama, for films produced by filmmakers of Armenian descent.
Armenia has a long history of film production. The first film studio was founded in Armenia in 1923, and the first feature film, “Namus,” by Hamo Beknazarian was screened in 1925. It thus became obvious that Armenia — home to legendary filmmakers, such as Sergey Parajanov and Artavazd Peleshian — needed its own international film festival.
Since the republic’s independence in 1991, Armenian cinema has debuted in numerous international film festivals in Paris (1993), Montreal (2000), Bologna (2003), among others. The films of Harutyun Khachatryan, Suren Babayan, Vigen Chaldranyan, David Safaryan, Narine and Arsen Mkrtchyan, Edgar Bagdasaryan, and other Armenian filmmakers have received international acclaim.
The Golden Apricot festival is different from other such events in the sense that it is smaller in scale and thus more intimate. However, regardless of its size, the festival continues to garner international attention and respect.