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South Caucasus
Georgi Vanyan, interview


Interview TURAN with chairman of CCPMI Georgi Vanyan

Please tell more about your project, who sponsors it?

The idea emerged in the Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives and was backed up by the U.S. Embassy in Armenia. For many years we have been realizing projects aimed at the break of isolation between our societies, and creation of bridges in the sphere of culture - art and enlightenment. We began with joint master-classes for artists, musicians, journalists; there were Days of Azerbaijan in Armenian school. Through experience and analysis of failure ewe have concluded that seminars, trainings, and even open master-classes have little effect and cannot change the situation, and create a new field of communication. Therefore, today we organize classic cultural event - Festival of Azerbaijanian films for people in Yerevan; we will demonstrate films created not with grants of international projects; we will demonstrate films which are considered bearers of Azerbaijan’s modern culture, reflecting present realities and problems which are similar to ours.

What is the principle of selection of films?

Short films of all genres will be demonstrated. Final selection will be in the beginning of September during the activity of the youth jury- pupils of senior forms and first-course students. With the help of this jury we will make a program of festival, and then the winner will be determined through voting. We plan also demonstration of feature films.

What is the goal of the project?

First of all we want to obtain internal dialogue inside the Armenian society. We want to create an opportunity for those who come to the festival and watch films. We want all levels of our society to get rid of stereotypes and prejudices - from ordinary people to people taking decisions - this is main hamper for dialogue which is vital and will guarantee us peaceful future, which all want, but do it only in words.

Do you think there is a demand for Azerbaijanian films in Armenia today?

Of course there is a demand for Azerbeijanian films in Armenia, and we will try to do our best to expand the geography of festival, and demonstrate films not only in capital, but in regions too.

Who has agreed to send works, and who are you having talks?

We have a small collection of Azerbaijanian films, we have appealed to our friends in Azerbaijan and Georgia, and they have sent us films which had been demonstrated in the international festivals. Yesterday on our site we invited to participate in the festival of Azerbaijanian cinematographers. After selection of films we will appeal to authors for permission for demonstration of selected films.

Do you plans to demonstrate Armenian films in Azerbaijan?

Our project does not provide conduction of mirror festival in Azerbaijan, and our goal is not to hold a festival in Azerbaijan. But we are ready to provide all-round support to this initiative. “Opponents” of our activity in Armenia, particularly after conduction of the Days of Azerbaijan, forward a theory that such one-sided initiatives are aimed at brain-wash of Armenian society, and especially of youth. It is an example of Stalin’s regime atavism. Communication is not betrayal; it is natural human need.