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Yerevan's Golden Apricot Film Festival Gives Green Light to Censorship: Filmmakers and Activists Issue Protest

We want to inform you that the ARMENIANS: INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL VIEWS non-competition program is completely cancelled. We apologize for any inconveniences.” (Тhis is the letter of Golden Apricot to the filmmakers, who were involved in the program)

There would be no need for this sort of letter if the people and institutions in Armenia that are meant to protect the interests of the films and to develop cinematography were not frightened and did not give up and shrink  from the demands of a few unknown people and cancel the whole program from the festival.

We condemn the actions of both the Union of Cinematography of Armenia, that has dared to censor the special program of the Golden Apricot International Festival because of the themes broached in the films “Listen to Me: untold stories beyond hatred” and “Apricot Groves”, and the Golden Apricot management, that has sent a note to 37 film directors without any explanation, rather than putting all its efforts to restore the whole program in another venue.

By removing the program from the festival, the “Golden Apricot” is giving a green light to censorship in Armenia and confirming that in Armenia any film can be treated in an arbitrary way. Moreover, the Armenian people are well acquainted with the results of censorship when taking into consideration the incidents of censorship during Soviet times, by the Young Turks, by  the Ottoman Empire and others.

Golden Apricot should immediately restore the screening of all films regardless of the format. Otherwise the Golden Apricot International Festival should accept that they are the ones who are legitimizing the censorship and changes in the Festival. This institution which is accepted by the Armenian society should not block and hinder the development of Armenian cinematography.

We are calling upon the organizers of Golden Apricot to protect the films selected by them, instead of issuing an apology, and to restore the whole program and screen all films in another place and to publicly condemn the actions of the Union of Cinematography of Armenia. Only by restoring the program can the festival maintain and protect its former reputation.    

Shahane Bekarian, film director

Gagik Ghazareh, film director

Gevorg Kaas, film director

Liana Smbatyan, film director

Inna Sahkyan, film director

Arpi Balyan, film director

Suren Stepanyan, journalist, film director

Sona Margaryan, filmmaker

Seda Grigoryan, filmmaker

Chaga Yuzbashyan, filmologist

Sargis Hovsepyan, writer, script writer

Vahan Ishkhanyan, documentalist, writer

Davit Avetisyan, cinematographer

Hayk Martirosyan, sound operator

Violet Grigoryan, writer

Byurakn Ishkhanyan, scientist

Anna Muradyan, journalist

Andranik Atoyan, IT specialist

Marine Petrossian, writer

Nvard Margaryan, human rights defender

Eva Abrahamyan, architect

Ruzanna Aslikyan, social worker

Mika Artyan, doctor

Tsovinar Chilingaryan, writer

Astghik Aslanyan, lawyer

Tigran Aleksanyan, writer, traveler

Nairi Hakhverdi, translator

Hovhannes Madoyan, human rights defender

Lilit Martirosyan, human rights defender

Hasmik Tangyan, artist

Elvira Meliksetyan, psychologist

Sone Baghdasaryan, artist

Florence Low, artist

Hovhannes Ishkhanyan, journalist

Kyle Khandikyan, LGBT activist

Eduard Dainelyan, human rights defender

Hrachya Armenakyan, artist

Araqs Sekhposyan, artist

Marina Adamyan, political scientist

Karapet Mgrdichian, scientist

Asya Khalatyan, archeologist

Arthur Avtandilyan, international relations specialist

Hayk Tiraturyan, project assistant

Karen Hovhannisyan, scientist

Gevorg Gevorgyan, rescuer

Rima Sardaryan, LGBT activist

Arpy Manusyan, sociologist

Marine Margaryan, lawyer

Hovsep Khurshudyan, politician

Taguhi Ghazarian, writer

Oceane Antonyan, artist

Syuzanna Siradeghyan, ethnographer

Tigran Avinyan, Yerevan City Council member from “Yelq” fraction

Narek Babayan, Yerevan City Council member from “Yelq” fraction

Ani Yants, artist

Ani Mejlumyan, journalist

Emanuela Avagyan, linguist

Irina Poghosyan, tourism specialist

Kamo Davtyan, LGBT activist

Karine Davtyan, lawyer

Anahit Simonyan, human rights defender

Romik Danial, marketolog

Anna Barsegian, artist

Rafael Ishkhanyan, musician, lawyer

Sofia Danielyan, artist

Hasmik Simonian, writer

Laura Poghosyan, psychologist

Mel Daluzyan, weightlifting

Sargis Khandanyan, antropolog

Vardan Hambardzumyan, doctor

Hasmik Petrosyan, laywer

Arqmenik Nikoghosyan, literary critic 

Gemafin Gasparyan, writer

Zara Hovhannisyan, human rights defender

Lusine Ghazaryan, lawyer

Misak Khostikyan, architect

Christian Batikian, writer

Lilit Bleyan, singer

Arthur Mesropian, translator

Mamikon Hovsepyan, human rights defender

Armen Aghajanov, LGBT activist

Robert Karapetyan, LGBT activist

Eduard Martirosyan, LGBT activist

Gor Chalyan, scientist

Lilit Avetisyan, scientist

George Qehyan, human rights defender

Sargis Davtyan, translator

Sevak Mnacakanyan, IT specialist

Sofi Maytesyan, linguist

Mher Hakobyan, volunteer at European Network on Independent Living

Razmik Amirkhanyan, architect-designer

Arshak Tovmasyan, entrepreneur

Sara Andrasyan, literary critic

Tsovinar Martirosyan, student

Nare Arshakyan, designer

Arsen Ohanyan, IT specialist

Hayk Petrosyan, actor

Mkrtich Matevosyan, publicist

Aram Amirbekyan, translator

Hasmig Hakobyan, translator

Arayik Beybutyan, translator

Armo Safaryan, economist

Gohar Vardevanyan, economist

Sianna Movsisyan, psychologist

Mariam Sargsyan

Heghine Babayan

Mariam Chakaryan


Comments (1)

Robert Davidian
It's horrible that the powerful Golden Apricot Film Festival is allowing backwards-thinking homophobia to drive it to go so far as to cancel an entire program of the festival - disappointing talented filmmakers and audiences who the festival previously promised to proudly screen the films! This is short-sighted because it now puts a shameful blemish on this festival as being cowardly and homophobic.

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