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Projects from Georgia, Turkey and Armenia win awards at Yerevan’s GAIFF Pro


- Golden Apricot's fledgling industry section took place for the second time, and included two main strands, numerous talks and panels, and a focus on Poland

Projects from Georgia, Turkey and Armenia win awards at Yerevan’s GAIFF Pro
Artificial Sky director Anna Sarukhanova (left) during a GAIFF Pro event (© Golden Apricot International Film Festival)

GAIFF Pro, the industry section of Yerevan's Golden Apricot International Film Festival (7-14 July), took place for the second time this year. The fledgling event, now with the advantage of being able to use the state-of-the-art facilities of its partner, the non-profit organisation Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), consisted of two main strands.

The C2C Regional Co-Production Market is intended for first- and second-time feature-film directors from the region of the Lesser Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Turkey), who had the chance to present their projects to the invited international professionals. Eleven projects were included in the C2C Project Market and ten in the C2C Work-in-Progress Market. On the other hand, the C2C Showcase presented 11 films, which were either developed at Golden Apricot's earlier development programmes or came from the focus country, Poland.

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The other main strand, CineThink, is a local programme spotlighting eight Armenian projects whose teams received training and which were presented during the festival. The programme provides the participants with long-term training in order to prepare their projects to enter the international marketplace and attract co-producers worldwide.

In the C2C Project Market, the Danny Lerner Award from Bulgaria's Nu Boyana Film Studios, consisting of €50,000 in production services, went to the Georgian project Artificial Sky by director Anna Sarukhanova, whose shorts Till the End of the Day and The Perfect Order screened at Locarno in 2016 and Sarajevo in 2017, respectively. Produced by Tsiako Abesadze (My Happy Family [+see also:
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), of Tbilisi-based Natura Film, this fiction feature tells the story of former actor Sandro, who has opened a restaurant in his home where the patrons can order their desired companion from the menu – a mother, a husband or a lover.

In the C2C Work-in-Progress Market, German company Optical Art's award, consisting of making a 2K DCP with 5.1 or 7.1 audio and up to three different subtitled versions, went to the Turkish project Invisible to the Eye by Zeynep Dadak (best known for The Blue Wave [+see also:
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, which screened at the Berlinale in 2013). This creative feature-length documentary follows the footsteps of Ottoman-Armenian intellectual and traveller Eremya Celebi Komurciyan into the cosmopolitan Istanbul of the 17th century. Dadak uses Komurciyan's History of Istanbul: Istanbul in the Seventeenth Century as the basis for a cinematic travelogue inspired by the writer's farsighted relationship with the concepts of looking, seeing and viewing. The project is a co-production between Turkey's Fenafilm and Germany's Elemag Pictures.

Finally, in the CineThink section, the Prime Minister's Award of AMD 1 million (€1,872) went to The Trap, the first feature-length film by Armenian director Tatev Hakobyan. Produced by Vardan Hakobyan, it is a drama about a teacher who has been taking care of his old, mean father. He faces a tough choice when the only school in the borough closes: to continue to tolerate the ignorance and hatred of his father, or to leave the borough forever.

In addition to the pitching sessions for the projects, GAIFF Pro also included talks with professionals, such as British producer Elizabeth Karlsen, Polish actor Jan Nowicki, recipients of honorary awards Carlos Reygadas, Arthur Aristakesyan and Aleksandr Mindadze, Swiss filmmaker Nicolas Wadimoff, and Iranian director and head of the Fajr IFF Reza Mirkarimi.

The focus on Poland featured a retrospective of Wojciech Has and a selection of new Polish films, including Werewolf [+see also:
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interview: Adrian Panek
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and The Last Family [+see also:
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interview: Dawid Ogrodnik
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, as well as a creative-editing workshop led by Kasia Boniecka and Bartosz Pietras, in which 13 projects by Armenian filmmakers took part.

Here is the full list of GAIFF Pro projects:

C2C Project Market

Elena Cake (Armenia)
Director: Lilit Movsisyan
Writer: Nairi Hakhverdi
Producer: Inessa Mkrtchyan

Pas de trois (Armenia)
Director: Diana Kardumyan
Producer: Ani Vorskanyan

The Trap (Armenia)
Director: Tatev Hakobyan
Producer: Vardan Hakobyan

Artificial Sky (Georgia)
Director: Anna Sarukhanova
Producer: Tsiako Abesadze

History Lessons (Georgia)
Director: Misho Antadze
Producer: Giorgi Kobalia

Lisa Is a Whore (Georgia)
Director, producer: George Varsimashvili

Lullaby (Iran/Afghanistan)
Directors: Mahbube Soltani, Amir Athar Soheili
Producer: Amir Athar Soheili

Tenant (Iran/Germany)
Director: Amir Hossein Asgari
Producer: Norik Keshishian

Gülizar (Turkey)
Director: Belkıs Bayrak
Producer: Öktem Başol

Masquerade (Turkey)
Director, producer: Nuri Cihan Ozdogan

The Hero in Me (Turkey)
Director: Sinan Sertel
Producer: Turgay Şahin
Co-producer: Halil Kardaş

C2C Works-in-Progress Market

5 Dreamers and a Horse [+see also:
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Directors: Vahagn Khachatryan, Aren Malakyan
Producer: Vahagn Khachatryan
Co-producer: Eva Blondiau

Blockade (Armenia/France/Greece/Germany)
Director: Hakob Melkonyan
Producer: Jérôme Amimer

Mel (Armenia/Netherlands)
Directors: Inna Sahakyan, Paul Cohen
Producers: Inna Sahakyan, Vardan Hovhannisyan
Co-producer: Annemiek Van der Hell

Guri Deda Tuia (Georgia)
Director: Giorgi Parkosadze

My Home Is Beyond the Rainbow (Georgia)
Director: Natia Arabuli-Weger
Producer: Maka Gogaladze

Veggie Garden in the Conflict Zone (Georgia)
Director: Besik Solomanashvili
Writers: Besik Solomanashvili, Tamri Pkhakadze, Irakli Solomanashvili
Producer: Irakli Solomanashvili
Co-producer: Vladimer Katcharava

Two Dogs (Iran/Finland)
Director: Amir Azizi
Producer: Pouria Heidary Oureh
Co-producers: Jussi Rantamaki, Bahador Adab

Invisible to the Eye (Turkey/Germany)
Director: Zeynep Dadak
Producers: Zeynep Dadak, Aslı Dadak, Pınar Bağcı, Zeynep Ekmekci
Co-producer: Tanja Georgieva

Leyla Once Again (Turkey)
Director: Barış Hancıoğulları

Traces (Turkey)
Director: Sezgin Cengiz
Producers: Sezgin Cengiz, Seren Gel

CineThink Armenian Project Pitching

Fiction projects

Elena Cake

Pas de trois

The Trap

Director: Angineh Isanians
Producer: Nvard Hovhannisyan

The Crossing
Director: Erik Gevorkian
Producers: Lisa Scott, Lucyann Kerry

Documentary projects

5 Dreamers and a Horse


Director: Aramazt Kalayjian
Producer: Aramazt Kalayji

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