Golden Apricot International Film Festival

Golden Apricot International Film Festival
The Golden Apricot International Film Festival (GAIFF), also known as the Yerevan International Film Festival, it is an annual film festival held in the capital of Armenia. It was founded in 2004 by filmmaker Harutyun Khachatryan and film critics Mikayel Stamboltsyan and Susanna Harutyunyan.

The inaugural Yerevan International Film Festival was held from June 30 to July 4, 2004 under the motto “Crossroads of cultures and civilizations”. It was conceived to become a kind of a cultural bridge between East and West. The first festival screened 148 films from 20 countries. Festival awards were presented to Atom Egoyan (Canada), Armen Khachatryan (Armenia), Stéphane Elmadjian (France), Artour Aristakisian (Russia), Serge Avedikian (France), and Georgiy Paradzhanov (Russia).

The first festival was a success so it was decided to make it an annual event. The main goals of the Golden Apricot Film Festival are to showcase new works by Armenian filmmakers as well as foreign film directors of Armenian descent and to promote creativity in cinema and video art.

As of 2017, the Yerevan Film Festival hosts four film competitions. They are International Feature Competition, International Documentary Competition, Armenian Panorama (national film competition) and Apricot Stone (short film competition).

The winner in each competition (except for the short film competition) is presented the Golden Apricot, the main award of GAIFF. The winner of the Apricot Stone competition receives the Golden Stone Award. The jury also presents special awards such as the Silver Apricot Award and Jury Special Mentione. Besides, there are special awards presented by various organizations and institutions.

There’s an award that deserves special mention. It is called Parajanov’s Thaler. Sergei Parajanov was a Soviet film director and artist of Armenian descent. In 1973, he was arrested on fake charges and sent to a labor camp in Siberia. While Parajanov was incarcerated, he created miniatures on aluminum foil bottle caps and called them thalers. The Parajanov’s Thaler Award was modeled after one of these thalers, it is presented for lifetime achievement in cinema.

Alongside official competition screenings, the program of the Golden Apricot International Film Festival includes non-competition programs (such as Opening Film, French Cinema Day, Polish Cinema Day, Yerevan Premieres, etc.), retrospectives, tributes, and more. Screenings are held in several venues including Moscow Cinema, Malyan Theater, Boghosyan Gardens, Cinema Star, Tumo Center, and KinoPark.

Yerevan International Film Festival





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