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Awards of the thirteenth edition of the Yerevan Golden Apricot Film Festival

Apricots13th YEREVAN GOLDEN APRICOT FILM FESTIVAL GAIFF      

By Alex Deleon

 

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The thirteenth edition of the Yerevan Golden Apricot Film Festival (GAIFF) concluded officially on Saturday July 17 with a gala awards ceremony in the massive Moskva Kinotheater on Charles Aznavour Plaza and a screening of "The Unknown Girl", the latest offering from, the Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, of Belgium.

Major Awards

International Feature competition:

"Ungiven" (Imena Višnje) a Croatian drama directed by Branko Schmidt. An elderly couple uprooted by the Yugoslavian civil wars returns to their home and tries to pick up the pieces and reestablish a normal life. 

Best feature Armenian Panorama:

"Good Morning (Bari luys) a social drama and first film by Anna Arevshatyan.

Best Documentary:

"Across the Don", an unusual metafilm from Russia by Evgeny Grigoriev. Grigoriev turns the camera over to amateur filmmakers to see how they see their own home city.

Fipresci Award: "Ungiven" Croatia.

Knight of Culture Award:

"The Prosecutor, the Defender, the Father and his Son" by Iglika Triffonova, Bulgaria. This is a courtroom drama concerning a trial over war crimes during  the Bosnian War of separation from Yugoslavia. Prize bestowed by leading Russian film historian and critic Kirol Razlogov in whose name this prize was established.

Ecumenical Prize:

"Immortal", Iranian drama directed by Seyed Reza Mohaghegh. This film focusing on the guilt syndrome of a lonely sixty year old man, was also awarded the runner up Silver Apricot in the international feature film category.

 

Special festival guest Actress Jacqueline Bissett, 72, was presented with a career tribute award and three of her films screened; Bullitt, 1968, opposite Steve McQueen, Murder on the Orient Express, 1974, at the side of Sean Connery, and Truffaut's masterpiece "Day for Night" (1968) in which she plays a mentally disturbed movie star opposite Truffaut's fetish actor Jean-Pierre Léaud. Léaud, now himself 72, was honored with a lifetime award at Cannes earlier this year.

A most unusual special screening was "Who Killed the Armenians", a powerful highly detailed history of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Turkey of 1915 which Turkey still refuses to acknowledge. Directed by Mohamed Hanafy Nasr of Egypt, this is the first Arabic film about the genocide, a subject which has been kept under silence in the Islamic Middle East until now.

 

The Yerevan festival is basically regional in scope with primary emphasis on Russia, films from Eastern Europe especially the former Yugoslavian countries, neighbors Georgia, Iran and Turkey, and naturally as a showcase for the as yet little known home grown Armenian film industry. A sampling of award winners from other festivals are also presented.

 

The Yerevan Golden Apricot Film Festival is so named because the fruit in question is a national symbol. It was established here in 2004 with the assistance of Canadian Armenian director Atom Egoyan. Awardees each receive a basket of ripe yellow apricots in addition to their official award plaque.

A shocking news event, the truck driver terror attack on the Bastille Day crowd in Nice on July 14 in the very midst of the festival somewhat dampened the festive atmosphere for participants such as myself who were following the news deluge on hotel TV.

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