NEW YORK — Cinema enthusiasts gathered at independent and large-stage theaters alike across Sydney, Melbourne, London, and New York for the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Arts’ eighth annual Armenians in Film event showcasing short films in a wide range of genres from up-and-coming Armenian creatives around the globe. Proceeds from this year’s event were geared towards supporting displaced Artsakh Armenians through AGBU’s Global Relief Fund, an ongoing support system tackling urgent needs and longer-term assistance as part of the response and recovery process.
Although this year’s event had the homeland top of mind, this series typically aims to highlight diverse Armenian filmmakers and allow up-and-coming talent to screen their work at prestigious global venues to increase exposure to Armenian creatives.
Melbourne and Sydney
The first event in this series took place in Melbourne at the Frankston Arts Centre on September 23 with over 140 attendees present, kicking off the Armenians in Film series with a musical flair thanks to a special performance by international opera singer Natalie Aroyan, piano performance by Hayk Arsenyan, and a dazzling display of traditional Armenian dance by the Tamzara Group choreographed by Tina Natarian.
In Sydney, the event was held at the Concourse Concert Hall the following day to a full house of 400 guests. Both screenings featured the same six short films in addition to the cultural performance, including identity-based cinematic dramas like Alik Tamar Barsoumian’s “Antouni,” Lévon Minasian’s “The Piano” and Michael Aloyan’s “This Land.” In addition, uplifting, comical shorts like Anahid Yahjian and Emily Mkrtichian’s “Levon” as well as avant-garde shots like Garen Barsegian’s “Worn” were featured. The films paid homage to Armenia’s rich history with biographical recreations, including Garo Berberian’s “Taniel.”