26 October 2021

A three-day international Conference “National Cinemas – A Universal Heritage Issues of Reappraisal, Preservation and Popularization” will be held in Yerevan on October 29-31.


The three - day Conference is organised in honour of French - Armenian filmmaker Henri Verneuil's 100th anniversary, which is included in the UNESCO Calendar of Anniversaries of Eminent Personalities and Important Events of 2020. Born in Turkey and relocated to France with his family in 1924, Verneuil's creative path was paved in the context of French commercial cinema, which is brilliantly represented by the over forty films made by this director. Verneuil only turned to Armenian subject matter at the end of his career, releasing his famous autobiographical drama Mayrig in 1991, which also became one of the key works of diasporan - Armenian cinema.


Using Henri Verneuil's legacy and the trajectory of the cinemas from the ex - socialist republics as a point of departure, the conference aims to address these ambivalent phenomena as heritages that complicate received perceptions of 'national' cinemas.


Traditionally seen as isolated phenomena that evolved on the margins of international film, the 'national' - or 'minor' - cinemas of the Soviet Republics and various diasporan communities, have often been excluded from dominant narratives and canons as being of predominantly local interest. These perceptions  occlude the rich inter - cultural processes through which 'minor' cinematic industries evolved and had an impact far beyond their national borders.


Being classified as solely 'local' phenomena, films from countries such as Armenia remain outside of the purview of major archives, museums and festivals, which significantly limits opportunities for their restoration, access and broader circulation.


Working towards opening a cross - disciplinary and critical dialogue on the focal issues pertaining to ideas of national and 'minor' cinemas, the conference will engage over 15 international scholars, critics, archivists and film industry experts, who are working with the legacies of Soviet, socialist, and diasporan cinema.


The Conference will be held in English and Armenian, with synchronized translation. In the frameworks of this event, a special live conversation will be held with Henri Verneuil's son, director Patrick Malakian, along with an exhibition of posters from Henri Verneuil's films and a screening of the director's 1964 war drama 'Weekend at Dunkirk'.

An edited publication with papers presented at the conference will be released by National Cinema Center of Armenia following the event.




October 29

Presentation day 1:

Diaspora and the issues of defining an Armenian 'national' cinema.


11։15 - Welcome speech: Shushanik Mirzakhanyan (acting director, NCCA), Vigen Galstyan (film heritage department, NCCA)

12:00 - Karen Avetisyan (Armenia, director of 'Golden Apricot' international film festival, film critic) Henri Verneuil's Oddysey (Armenian)

12:30 - Break

13։30 - Arby Ovanessians (France, director, historian of film and theatre) Writing Histories of Armenian Cinema: Issues and New Approaches (English)

14։30 - Marijana Piskova (Bulgaria, South-Western University, Blagoevgrad) About the Armenian Emigrant Arshavir Chakatouny, who Filmed in 1928, in Bulgaria, the French Film "Andranik" (Russian)

15։00 - Break

15։15 - Hayk Paul Hambartsum (France, PhD candidate, University of Sorbonne) The Armenian Turn in the cinema of Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi and its Messianic Reverberations (English)

15։45 - Daniel Bird (France/Poland, independent film historian, curator) A Sideshow on a Trip to the Abyss: why Stephen Sayadian's films should be on UNESCO's World Heritage list (English)

16։20 - Artsvi Bakhchinyan (Armenia, PhD) Newfound pages from the pre - history of Armenian Cinema and the History of Diasporan - Armenian Cinema (Armenian)

17։00 - End

18։30 - 22։00 - Opening of the exhibition dedicated to the posters for Henri Verneuil's films and screening of the director's 1964 film Weekend at Dunkirk, at Moscow Cinema.


October 30

Presentation day 2։

Rereading Soviet cinema and rethinking the post-Soviet film archive


11։15 - Valérie Posner (France, film historian, Centre of Russian, Caucasian and Central European Studies) Hamo Beknazarian's 'Namus' as a  anifestation of the Multilayered Politics of Armenian Cinema's Formation (English)

11։40 - Anri Vartanov (USA, M.A., Film Studies, Columbia University) Aborted Caravan, Reconstructed Film: Unravelling the Mystery of Hamo Beknazarian's 'Second Caravan' (English)

12։20 - Vigen Galstyan (Armenia, PhD, Head of Film Heritage Department, NCCA) Seeing the 'Other': Decoding the Multicultural and Post - Colonial Trajectories of Armenian Cinema (English)

12։50 - Break

13։30 - Sona Karapoghosyan (Armenia, film historian, critic) The Internationalisation of Armenian Cinema and Its Festival Politics during the Second Half of the 20th Century (Armenian)

14։30 - Hanna Stein (Austria, Graz University, PhD candidate) More than Dilettantes! Why Amateur Film Practices and Productions are Important - Some Examples from Yugoslav History

15։00 - James Steffen (USA, PhD, Emory University) Hidden, But Not Forgotten: The Outtakes from 'Colour of Pomegranates' (English)

15։30 - Susanna Harutyunyan (Armenia, film critic, director of the Film Journalists and Film Critics Association) The First Methodological Attempt to Catalogue the Armenian Film Legacy (Armenian)

16։00 - Garegin Zakoyan (Armenia, film historian) Heritage and Inheritors. What Film Heritage We Have Inherited and How We Oversee It (Armenian)

16:30 - Justine Waddell (UK, director of Kino Klassika Foundation) Preserving and Sharing the Legacy of Minor Cinemas (English)

17։00 - End


October 31

Panel Discussions, Meeting


11։30Henri Verneuil/ Ashot Malakian. A Conversation with Patrick Malakian. Moderated by Karen Avetisyan

12։30A 'Diasporan' Film Heritage? Speakers – Chaga Yuzbachian (France, film critic), Artsvi Bakhchinyan (Armenia, PhD, film historian) Moderated by Vigen Galstyan

13։30 -  Break

14։00Digitisation and Restoration of Film Heritage. Current Issues and Approaches. Speakers – Daniel Bird (France, film historian, curator), James Steffen (USA, film historian), Łukasz Ceranka (Poland, Fixafilm Poland). Moderated by Melik Karapetyan

15։00Soviet Heritage/ National Archives. Speaker - Oleksandr Teliuk (Ukraine, curator Dovzhenko Film Centre). Moderated by Vigen Galstan

16։00Internationalisation of Soviet Film Heritage. Speakers – Justine Waddell (UK, Kino Klassika Foundation), Arby Ovanessians (France, historian of film and theatre), Susanna Harutyunyan (Armenia, film critic). Moderated by Melik Karapetyan

17։00 -  End of the Conference




Strategic Partners


RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport

French Embassy of Armenia
Armenian Public Television
Moscow Cinema


Hospitality Partners

Armenia Wines

Avenue De Paris

Gourmet Dourmé

Ani Grand Hotel


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