Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival (GAIFF) is an annual and rather popular festival in the sphere of cinematography in Armenia. It is a day for movies including international as well as Armenian films.
Armenia’s cultural heritage is enriched and fulfilled with the help of some creative and colorful festivals. Those festivals help to demonstrate more vividly the cultural background, customs, traditions and, correspondingly, the talented people that have something to say in the sphere of art in Armenia.
As the capital and cultural center of Armenia, we can surly say that the most prominent festivals are held in Yerevan.
Among the best-known and entertaining festivals in Armenia are film festivals, such as Sose International Film Festival, “Yes Em” (It’s Me) International Youth Film Festival, ReAnimania International Animation Film Festival.
But today, we are going to look through, indeed, the most distinguished and remarkable film festival in Armenia – The Golden Apricot Film Festival.
Golden Apricot: Historical Background
As a rule, film festivals are annual events and Golden Apricot is not an exception. The history of the first Golden Apricot dates back to the year 2004.
It was originated in the heart of Armenia – Yerevan by the “Golden Apricot” Fund for the development of cinematography, the Armenian Association of Film Critics and Cinema Journalists.
Up till now, GAIFF is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Armenia and Benevolent Fund for Cultural Development.
The motto of this international film festival is “Crossroads of Cultures and Civilizations”.
In some sense, this motto represents the cultural backgrounds of Armenia. Undoubtedly, the festival welcomes films that demonstrate various ethnic and national groups, different religions, daily life of ordinary and famous people, their joys and troubles, the people that seek to find a solution to a better world.
Golden Apricot: Awards
Awards also include categories, such as “Jury Special Mention” and ”Parajanov’s Thaler” Award. The latter is a very unique prize, which represents the figures, that Parajanov engraved on the milk bottles during the period when he was imprisoned and called them “Thalers”.
Within the frames of the Golden Apricot film festival, this prize reflects a silver copy of one of these coins.
Golden Apricot film festival annually makes the film week in Yerevan more fascinating and interesting by inviting to Armenia world famous stars.
As an illustration let’s remember 2015 year’s Golden Apricot, when the festival’s guests of honor were world famous actresses Ornella Muti and Nastassja Kinski.
In the opening ceremony of the festival they were granted by a very special award – Parajanov Thaler Award. Significantly, German actress Nastassja Kinski noted that taking part in this festival was like a sweet dream.
In her turn, Italian actress Ornella Muti said that the festival was amazing, hoping to take part in this festival in the near future again.
Golden Apricot: Memorable Years
Every year GAIFF gives a great opportunity for their audience to watch high-quality films, get acquainted with the culture and traditions of other countries, meet new talented figures and just feel like a part of something great and noble.
The first Golden Apricot Festival (June 30- July 4, 2004) immediately attracted an international attention and respect. The first festival already presented 148 films from 20 countries.
The 11th edition of Golden Apricot film festival (July 13-20, 2014) was dedicated to the memory of Armenian legendary filmmaker Sergei Parajanov. Sergey Parajanov’s “Color of Pomegranate” film opened the film festival.
The festival also presented some films that were dedicated to S. Parajanov life and works. Minister of Culture Hasmik Poghosyan noted that this festival is not just a festival; it is our life, our daily routine, our city that transforms during the days of the festival.
In 2015 GAIFF featured non-competitive programs of the 12th edition of the festival, that were dedicated to the Armenian Genocide centennial.
Two special programs commemorating Armenian Genocide were “We exist”, that was concentrated mainly on Armenian Genocide, and “Never Again”, concerning various genocides, like the Jewish Holocaust, genocides in Peru, Sudan and others.
Golden Apricot 13th International Film Festival
The Golden Apricot 13th International Film Festival was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s independence. We can’t deny the fact that the film festival has a huge investment in the development of Armenian cinematography.
It helped to demonstrate the high level of Armenian filmmakers and Armenian films, spread throughout the world. Within the frames of the 13th edition of Golden Apricot film festival there was a special film program dedicated to the 400th anniversary of one of the most famous British writer William Shakespeare’s death.
Golden Apricot: Partners
We wouldn’t even go for this list, if it was not that important. But the list of sponsors that Golden Apricot Film Festival has is a huge one and these people and organizations help to make this festival a worldwide famous one.
General sponsor of this film festival is VivaCell-MTS. GAIFF has also a government support from Ministry of Culture of RA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RA, Armenian Customs Service, Police of the Republic of Armenia and National Cinema Center of Armenia.
Among other sponsors are Sil Group, Artsakh Brandy Company, Hans&Franz and others. The main media partner of the Golden Apricot film festival is Public TV Company of Armenia. Among other media partners are Armenian Second TV Channel, Sputnik Armenia, Radiovan, Civilnet, Mediamax, Noyan Tapan and others.
List of Partners of Yerevan International Film Festival
Among the honorary artists of the festival we should also mention about Canadian-Armenian director and the first Golden Apricot Grand Prize winner – Atom Egoyan (Best Feature Film). He has always been a well -regarded artist of this festival. In 2005 he became the honorary chairman of the GAIFF.
To sum up with, let’s say that GAIFF is the most beloved and awaited cultural event in Armenia and year by year it is getting wider recognition and fame. If you are planning your visit to Armenia don’t forget to take part in this festival and see all these things with your own eyes.
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