Azerbaijani Film Festival in Yerevan: Location Changed Again
The screening of Azerbaijani films which was supposed to take place today at 5 Tamanyan in Yerevan will now take place at 1 Buzand street (next to the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art, ACCEA, or NPAK in Armenian). This news was conveyed to Epress.am by the festival organizer, Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives (CCPI) president Georgy Vanyan.
According to Vanyan, the reason for the change of venue was the owner of the apartment at 5 Tamanyan was “under pressure.” No other information was provided and the owner denied from making comments.
Opening remarks will be made by US Ambassador to Armenia Marie L. Yovanovitch, British Ambassador to Armenia Charles Lonsdale, Golden Apricot International Film Festival Director Harutyun Khachatryan and Armenia’s former education minister Ashot Bleyan.
A series of four films (one documentary and three feature films) produced in Azerbaijan in 2007–2008 will be screened from 4 to 6 pm today. The festival competition program, along with a special feature film produced, will take place on Nov. 13 at 2 pm. Only one of the films will receive the Audience Sympathy Award, which is determined through audience voting.
At 4 pm on the same day (Nov. 13, tomorrow), a full-length 2008 feature film (1 hour 33 mins.) will be screened outside of the competition program. A discussion will follow the film screening.
Recall that the film festival was initially set to take place Nov. 2–4 at the Mkhitar Sebastatsy educational complex Media Center; however, the location was changed because the school principal Ashot Bleyan expressed concern.
According to Bleyan, since the entire educational complex and the building owner, in accordance with RA law, belongs to the Government of the Republic of Armenia, the government can thus allow or prohibit events to take place in the building.
Knowing the state body’s opinion, Bleyan said he personally didn’t consider it appropriate to hold this event at the school.
However, the school principal and Armenia’s former education minister said he doesn’t see anything wrong with holding an Azerbaijani film festival, since various films — Turkish, Georgian, Italian and so on — are screened occasionally at the school’s Media Center.
Note that as a result of numerous hateful and xenophobic comments left on the Facebook event page, organizers decided to postpone the event. Further, a number of those opposing the event posted a “counter” event on the social networking site, calling on supporters to join them in a protest demonstration at the site and day of the event. The protest, however, did not happen.
The US Embassy, when asked to comment on the outcry to the festival, said:
“We understand this film festival aims to promote an appreciation for tolerance, multiculturalism and the expression of diverse views and opinions. These are important values for any democratic society. We thought the film festival was a good idea when we decided to support it and we still do.”
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