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21st Golden Apricot Festival Kicks Off in Yerevan, Celebrating 100th Anniversaries of Aznavour and Parajanov

Updated: Jul 8

opening of Golden Apricot film Festval

The Golden Apricot International Film Festival, a major cultural event in Yerevan, Armenia, is celebrating its 21st year. This festival has been a significant platform for world-renowned filmmakers and award-winning international films for over two decades, showcasing works that have received nominations and awards at prestigious events like the Cannes, Berlin, and Venice Film Festivals, and even the Oscars.



This year's festival, running from July 7 to July 14, began at the Karen Demirchyan Complex in Yerevan. Unlike previous years, the traditional red carpet was replaced with unique carpets created by local artists, inspired by the works of Davit Khachunts. The opening film was "Seven Veils" by Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan, which premiered at the Toronto 2023 Film Festival. This film is a modern interpretation of Richard Strauss’s opera “Salome,” with Amanda Seyfried starring as a theater director.


Yerevan's Mayor, Tigran Avinyan, highlighted the festival's importance in revitalizing the city's cultural life. He expressed gratitude to all who made the festival possible and emphasized the significance of active participation from guests. He particularly welcomed two-time Oscar-winning director Alexander Payne, director Tarsem Singh, Atom Egoyan, and actor Kevin Spacey. Avinyan also mentioned that the municipality has taken a more active role in the film industry, resulting in the production of five short films about Yerevan, which will be screened at the festival.



Armenia’s Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports, Zhanna Andreasyan, spoke about the festival’s integral role in Yerevan’s summer culture. She noted that discussions about the festival start early and continue long after it ends, reflecting its importance to the film industry. Andreasyan assured that the government would continue supporting the festival and the broader film industry, highlighting the new opportunities brought about by recent constitutional changes. She also mentioned the potential for joint film productions, which the government will fully support.


Karen Avetisyan, the festival’s artistic director, stated that the festival is a timeless event contributing to eternity, time, and future history. The festival maintains a tradition of awarding Parajanov's Taller to individuals who have significantly contributed to the film industry. This year, the award was presented to Kevin Spacey, who expressed his honor at being part of the festival and gratitude to those who have supported his career.

Kevin Spacey actor

Atom Egoyan received a special gift of cognac dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Charles Aznavour from Sergey Khachatryan, director of the Yerevan cognac factory. Egoyan shared a personal story about his connection with Aznavour and expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to tell Armenian history through film. Festival founder and director Harutyun Khachatryan then awarded Egoyan Parajanov's Taller,  and clips from Egoyan’s films featuring his wife Arsinée Khanjian were shown. Egoyan acknowledged his wife's significant role in his work, making the award particularly meaningful.

opening of Golden Apricot film Festval

The 21st Golden Apricot festival will feature films from various countries, including those showcased at major international festivals like Cannes and Berlin. Screenings will take place at the Cinema House, Malyan Theater, and Moscow Cinema. This year’s festival will also celebrate the 100th anniversaries of cultural icons Charles Aznavour and Sergei Parajanov.


The Armenian Report’s team in Yerevan will be covering the festival from July 7 to 14. Follow us on our YouTube Channel and don’t miss anything!


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