Armenian Film Festival Australia Returns to Sydney for its 6th Edition

The Armenian Film Festival Australia returns for its 6th edition to Sydney, with a slate of impressive films, including 45 DAYS: THE FIGHT FOR A NATION – a film by British conflict documentary journalist reporter and filmmaker, Emile Ghessen, who in 2020, was on the ground covering the largely unreported 44-day war on the indigenous Armenian Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) by Azerbaijan, backed by NATO member Turkey. 

Now in the Ukraine, Emile will be making his way to Australia for the film festival to provide rare insights from the warzones themselves.

The festival will include eight feature films focused on documentary, drama, animation and family, with four international filmmakers in attendance. Launching with a traditional Gala event in both cities, the festival will include Armenian food, live music, song and dance performances to make this year’s event a truly immersive cultural experience.


FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

45 Days: The Fight for a Nation

Sydney: 9 June, 6:30pm (Randwick Ritz); 12 June, 2pm and 4:30pm.

Special Guest: Journalist and documentary filmmaker, Emile Ghessen, who will participate in a Q&A at the completion of all sessions.

Summary: On the 27th day of September 2020, Azerbaijani forces supported by NATO member, Turkey launched full scale attacks on the Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh. Former British Royal Marines Commando turned documentary filmmaker Emile Ghessen, travelled to the region to report firsthand what was going on. The war lasted 44 days and on the 45th day, a trilateral peace agreement was signed, ending hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan. With thousands of people killed and displaced from their homes, Armenia lost the majority of their territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The raw unseen footage of 45 Days: The Fight for a Nation tells the story of the war and post-war from an Armenian perspective in a humanistic feature documentary film.

FESTIVAL LAUNCH: Songs of Solomon

watch trailer here

Sydney: 10 June, 8pm.

Special guest: Features a live musical performance in tribute to the musical genius of Komitas, performed by Masha Mnjoyan – winner of The Voice Armenia and finalist of The Voice Australia in 2021.

Summary: From Two Time Academy Award Winning Producer of Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Songs of Solomon was Armenia’s official selection for Best International Feature Film category at the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021. Inspired by true events, Songs of Solomon follows a brave Turkish woman who at a time of dire prejudice in the days of the Ottoman Empire, risks her life and that of her family to save her best friend from persecution for her race and religious beliefs.

GALA NIGHT, featuring film, Gate to Heaven

watch trailer here
Sydney: 11 June, 7pm.

The Gala event includes a red carpet, cocktail party, Armenian food, live entertainment.

Special Guest: Filmmaker, Jivan Avetisyan from Armenia who will participate in a Q&A at the completion of all sessions.

Summary: Gate to Heaven tells the story of a German Military journalist who returns to Artsakh years after an unforgivable act was committed. Focused on themes of war, the film has toured multiple festivals and is currently screening in the US. 

Should the Wind Drop

watch trailer here

Sydney: 18 June, 8pm

Summary: Selected and screened at Cannes Film Festival and Armenia’s official selection for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards, 2022.

Alain, played by the captivating Grégoire Colin, arrives in Stepanakert, capital of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), to assess the airport and open this self-proclaimed republic to the world. But Alain knows nothing about this strange territory or its inhabitants, and things don’t go according to plan.

CLOSING NIGHT FILM – Sabre Dance

watch trailer here

Sydney: 19 June, 4:30pm.

Special Guest: A dance tribute to Armenia’s most famous composer Aram Khachadurian.

Summary: Set in the cold autumn of 1942 amidst World War II, in the face of Soviet censorship and with the German Army advancing, this historical drama follows the life of brilliant composer Aram Khachaturian. The film transports the viewer to the Kirov Ballet theatre, in Soviet Russia, where Khachaturian prepares for the premiere of his ballet Gayane. Remarkably, the pressures of war are unable to halt his genius as he creates, in eight hours, one of the most famous compositions in history – the famed Sabre Dance.

For the full festival program and to purchase tickets visit www.armenianfilmfestival.com.au 

All films feature English subtitles. 

Please review the website for ratings information and content warnings. 

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