The National Cinema Center of Armenia NCSO, established by the order of the RA government in 2006, is a state non commercial organization and a successor to «Armenfilm » studio named after H. Beknazaryan / 1923/, which operates within the structure of the Ministry of Culture of Armenia.
The decree on «Organization of the State Cinema » issued by the Armenian government on April 16 is considered as the birth certificate of our Cinema Center which set the way to the establishment of the Armenian cinema. The responsibilities for the organization of film production were handed to a talented art critic and experienced film professionals Daniel Dznuni (Honored Art Worker, the director of «Armenfilm studio» from 1923-1937,) and Hamo Beknazaryan (an actor, writer, filmmaker, Honored Artist of the RA).
In autumn 1923 «State Cinema» was transformed to «State Photo Cinema» shareholding, first called «Cinema Factory». It operated as a film laboratory in 1924 and in 1928 was renamed as «Armenian Cinema» (Haykino), later on in 1938 – «Yerevan Film Studio», «Hayfilm» in 1957. Finally a year later after the death of Hamo Beknazaryan was named after him in 1966.
The first Armenian documentary «The Soviet Armenia» was shot in 1924 (with I. Kraslavsky as a head of the cinematography group). Achievements in industry and agriculture, a number of significant events, political sessions and meetings were filmed along with approximately 1-5 films yearly.
The first Armenian silent featuring film «Namus» was made by H. Becknazaryan in 1925. «Shor and Shorshor»- the first comedy, 1926, /dir. H. Becknazaryan/.
In 1926 «Hayfilm» made its first attempt to illustrate the life of non –Armenians producing «Zare» /dir. H. Becknazaryan/.
The first featuring political irony «Mexican Diplomats» was made in 1931 /dir. A. Martirosyan, L. Kalantar/.
The first Armenian talking movie «Pepo» was made in 1935 /dir. H. Becknazaryan/
The first color animation «A Cat and a Dog tale» was made in 1938 /dir. Lev Atamanov/.
The dubbing laboratory was put into operation in 1940 and the first full length featuring film «The Member of Government» (1940, directed by I. Heifits and A. Zarkhi; dubbing director- L. Isahakyan) was dubbed the same year. Arus Voskanyan, one of the most remarkable actresses of the Armenian theatre, voiced the leading part in the film, acted out by V. Maretskaya. Other parts were voiced by Gurgen Gabrielyan, Davit Maylyan and others.
«Davit Beck» (1944, dir. H. Becknazaryan), a historical drama, illustrating the national fight against the hostile invasion, was made in 1941-1945-s during the World War II. Other patriotic featuring films, war documentaries were made along with “Erkir Hayreni” (The Motherland, 1945, dir. L. Isahakyan, G. Balasanyan, H. Zargaryan) – a full length documentary which traced back the centuries of the Armenian history.
In 1954 the film studio returned to the pre- war working routine and production of featuring films.
By 1960-s “Hayfilm” studio had achieved significant production rate. A number of silent movies had been restored along with some dubbing work performed. By the end of the 20th century “Hayfilm” studio had dubbed 42-45 films per year.
By 1967 “Hayfilm” had had the constant production of animated films.
In 1978 the film studio got a remarkable building site with an opportunity to expand its production borders making 6-7 films yearly getting orders from the Armenian Public TV or releasing joint production movies with the prominent “Mosfilm” studio. By 1980-s the studio had enjoyed the highest rate of achievements.
In 1990 the documentaries production branch of «Hayfilm» separated and transformed into «Hayk» factual documentaries film studio with the archive of documental films at its disposal.
In 1990-s after the collapse of the Soviet Union during the development of the new market economy
the financial subsidizing of the cinema was the least which caused the drastic decline of the film production scale.
The situation has started to change since 2000 with significant changes both in the production scale and creative achievements.
At present «The National Cinema Center of Armenia » NCSO sets the state policy in the field of cinematography. It is actively involved in participation in international festivals, promotion of the Armenian cinema at international film markets and other activities.