Frunze Dovlatyan Soviet Armenian Classic Film in Spotlight at Socially Relevant Film Festival


NEW YORK — The 11th Edition of SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival opens March 13 at the Maysles Documentary Center and continues March 14 at MRHS, March 15-17 at Cinema Village, March 18 at the National Arts Club for the Awards Ceremony. The festival covers a broad range of social issues. The official Selection including the short films line up can be found on the festival’s website under the 2024 Program, totaling 53 films this year, nine of which are Armenian-themed. The Armenian films are as follows:

  • “Barev Yes Em” (Hello It’s Me), by Frunze Dovlatyan. It is one of the historic milestones of Armenian cinema, and was inspired by the lives of two physicists. “Love and death, war and creation, the problem of memory […] with unexpected freshness. It’s a great film,” Sergei Parajanov said about it.

The film will be the Spotlight Screening of the 11th annual edition of SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival. It stars Armen Djigarkhanian, Rolan Bykov and Margarita Terekhova in her film debut. The film was seen by 10 million people when first released in 1966.

Still from “Barev Yes Em”

“Barev Yes Em” screens at Cinema Village on March 17 at 5 p.m., to celebrate 100 years of Armenian Cinema as it steps into its second century.

  • “The Forgotten Homeland,” by Essam Nagi is a documentary about life at the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 2022, from Egypt.
  • “Partings and Landings,” by Kardash Onnig is a documentary about the filmmaker’s Armenian survivor family migrating from their ancestral home in Turkey to Syria, Lebanon, and the US.
  • “Edge,” by Sona Khatchatryan is a short documentary about the edges of Yerevan, where the environment shapes the stories of its inhabitants.
  • “250km” by Hasmik Movsisyan is a narrative short where a 14-year-old boy embarks on a treacherous 250-kilometer journey to save his family.
  • “Blockade” by Hakob Melkonyan is a documentary about the inhabitants of the Armenian village of Chinari trying to survive the war between Azeris and Armenians, and a blockade.
  • “Manuscripts Don’t Burn” by Mariam Ohanyan is a documentary about the Armenian heritage of Lviv, and the history of the Armenian church there, closed during Soviet times.
  • “The Desire to Live” by Mariam Avetisyan is a documentary web series about post-war life in Artsakh and the aftermath of the 2020 war.
  • “Metamorphoses,” by Trocquenet Valère & Fert Florence, is a narrative short, about a series of mysterious metamorphoses that lead two inspectors to an investigation into the humorous world of artist Saré, (Evguenia Sarkissyan).

“Barev Yes Em” and “The Forgotten Homeland” screen only in-person in the cinema. The other Armenian films screen in person (except the last four)  and online. The online streaming starts on March 19.

The main themes of the festival are 100 Years of Armenian Cinema, Black History, BIPOC films, Aging and Disability, Women, LGBTQI+, and more. The Festival’s YouTube Channel has the trailers of the selection and the live Meet the Filmmakers interviews.

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The SRFF 2024 competition award categories are The Vanya Exerjian – Empowering Women and Girls Award,  Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Actor, and Best Actress. The Finalist Screenplay Awards are sponsored by InkTip and NetworkISA.

“Eleven years have gone by quickly. We’re proud to have had the opportunity to present over 700 socially relevant films from 40 countries. The work of these talented and dedicated filmmakers has offered us the bonus of learning about the human condition, filmmaking, and ways of engaging an audience as the first steps towards raising awareness of social issues,” Festival Founding Artistic Director Nora Armani.

SRFF was founded by Actress/ Filmmaker Armani in 2013 as a response to the proliferation of violence and violent forms of storytelling in media and entertainment. Following a family tragedy that cost the lives of two of her dearest and nearest, namely her cousin Vanya, and uncle Jack Exerjian, Armani founded the festival to commemorate them in a meaningful way. SRFF believes in the power of the film medium in raising awareness of social issues and promoting positive social change. This new edition deals with topics such as Climate Change, Family and Adoption, LGBTQ Rights, Home and Health, Disability, Incarceration and Freedom, New York City, Racism, and BIPOC cultures.

The Mission of the SR Film Festival is to shine the spotlight on filmmakers who tell compelling, socially relevant, human-interest stories, across a broad range of social issues without resorting to violence and violent forms of storytelling.

Early Bird $5 tickets, the Trio $12, are available for a limited time before regular prices become effective. Students enter for free with a valid ID.

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