16th Golden Apricot and Success of Georgian Films
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Yerevan International Film Festival "Golden Apricot" was established in 2004 by three like-minded people - Harutyun Khachatryan (film director and Festival General Director), Mikayel Stamboltsyan (film critic and Program Director) and Susanna Harutyunyan (film critic and Artistic director). In 2005-2015 the festival was headed by a famous film director Atom Egoyan. The name of the outstanding director busted the popularization of the festival and soon "Golden Apricot" got the attention of foreign media.

Every year, festival organizers tried to offer interesting and diverse programme. Throughout the history of the festival, among the guests of honors there were: Wim Wanders, Tonino Guerra, Claudia Cardinale, Fanny Ardant, Theo Angelopoulos, Chang-dong Lee, Fatih Akin, István Szabó, Otar Ioseliani and other famous faces of world of the cinema.

This year's Golden Apricot was not an exception. Moreover, this year the festival was presented renovated: new organizational team, new logo, absolutely changed design.

The festival opened on July 7th with "Parasite" by Joon-ho Bong. As the festival organizers mentioned, this year authors of 740 films claimed a wish to participated in the festival. Finally selected films were screened (premiered or international competitor) at Cannes, Berlin or Rotterdam Film Festivals.

The festival had honorary guest, Mexican filmmaker, Carlos Reygadas. Retrospective of his films was held on the festival. The director was awarded Parajanov taller award of honor.

International competition jury was headed by film director Aleksandre Mindadze. The other members were: Iranian film director Reza Mirkarimi, Amy Hobby (former the Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Festival), filmmaker Nicolas Wadimoff, (Switzerland), director Nino Kirtadze (France), producers: Paolo Bertolin (Italy), Elizabeth Karlsen (UK).

Now, as for the sections and participant films. 12 films took part in Main Competition Programme, including Nino Zhvanias's Parade, which got the award for Best Georgian Full-Length film at 19th Tbilisi International Film Festival. Also, there was presented Ghost Town Anthology by Denis Côté, which participated in Main Competition Programme of Berlinale. I think this director doesn't need much of presentation, as the retrospective of his films screened at 18th Tbilisi International Film Festival was one of the most interesting events. In his new film, Denis Côté describes the everyday life of a small town where the dead and alive try to live together. When talking about the competition films of Golden Apricot, we should definitely mention Teona Strugar Mitevska's film God Exists and Her Name is Petrunya, which was considered as one of the favorites from Berlinale Competition Programme.

On July 13, at the awarding ceremony, the jury announced the winners. British film Rai & Liz, director - Richard Billingham got Golden Apricot and Silver Apricot was awarded to Kantemir Balagov for Beanpole. Jury's special mention was granted to Hassan Fazili's Midnight Traveller.

In the section Regional Panorama, two Georgian productions took part: Horizon by Tinatin Kajrishvili and Neighbours by Gigisha Abashidze, movies which were screened at The 19th Tbilisi International Film Festival. Its exceptional that Horizon by Kajrishvili won FIPRESCI prize. 

In the section Regional Short film Competition four Georgian films were included: Eraser by Davit Pirtskhalava, No Budget Film by Nina Khatiashvili, Prisoner of  Society by Rati Tsiteladze and Bad People by Giorgi Tavartkiladze. Golden Apricot was awarded to Iranian film "Driving Lessons", directed by Marziyeh Riahi and Silver Apricot was granted to Georgian director, Rati Tsiteladze's film Prisoner of Society. As the film director was not present at the festival, our film festival representative, Mariam Zubiashvili was invited to take the award.




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