The history of film, and certainly the history of Armenian film, did not begin in 2007, but my career as a filmmaker and film critic certainly did.
I made a list of films I had never seen – films I was too ashamed to admit to others – and started a personal film marathon. I would watch three films a day and write a brief review about them. I was digging deep into history and uncovering classic films. I started noticing trends in film movements, genres, and filmmaking styles. I also discovered something else, this time about myself. I discovered I enjoyed writing about films as much as I had enjoyed making them.
I launched a film blog and started writing film reviews soon thereafter. I was also accepted into the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts, which is when my life as an academic and professional began to take its form.
I have written and directed several short films, which have screened in numerous film festivals, including the Burbank International Film Festival and Columbia Gorge International Film Festival in Washington. I am also proud to have been part of this year’s Arpa International Film Festival with my short film, The Armenian and the Armenian. The film is an experimental work based on William Saroyan’s poem. The film has also been invited to screen at the Armenian Film Festival in Fresno, William Saroyan’s hometown.
I have always had a strong interest in making films and writing about them as well. In fact, two of my favorite filmmakers, Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, were film historians and critics, writing for Cahiers du Cinéma, before finally moving into cinema themselves. I joined the writing team at the Daily Trojan, USC’s student-run newspaper, and began writing for their At the Movies blog. I have since made more films, written more articles and papers, and am co-teaching a class this semester on film at Woodbury University. I think of myself not only as a filmmaker, but as a film writer and scholar.
Yerevan Magazine provides a sense of identity and a voice for our people. I am honored to announce that I have joined their team and will be writing for a new cinema section known as From the Vault. I have a simple goal. I plan on rediscovering classic Armenian films and reintroducing them to our readers, as well as finding possible influences that these films have had on other filmmakers. This section will keep a balance between classic and contemporary films while exploring the Armenian culture.
There are a lot of Armenian films and filmmakers who have had a tremendous impact on cinema over the last hundred years. It’s my job now to share their hidden treasures with our Armenian community.
This article was originally published for Yerevan Magazine on October 17, 2011.