By Sarah Mills
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — A heart-warming story of a man jailed for wearing a tie has become the first Armenian film to make it onto the Oscar’s shortlist, in the international feature category.
“Most of the films that have been made about Armenia really tend to revolve around the genocide. I wanted to make a film that would be enjoyable for Armenians and something that could relate to non-Armenians,” said U.S. actor Michael A. Goorjian, who has directed and written the film. He also stars in it.
Shot in Armenia with a mostly local cast and crew, “Amerikatsi” (American in Armenian) is also an attempt to rebuild the country’s film industry, which lost its way after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
“What the film is about is survival and resilience. Despite the setting, it’s very hopeful and playful,” said Goorjian, whose late father was Armenian.
It tells the story of Charlie, an American who repatriates to then Soviet Armenia after World War Two and finds himself in prison because of his tie.