IMG_5600-300x200 In autumn the news stating that businessman, former lawmaker Hakob Hakobyan was shooting a feature film on the basis of his own script about the Armenian Genocide caused a sensation in the information field. Since the end of October Hakob Hakobyan has taken part in all the shooting rounds together with the film making crew. The interview conducted with Kadjayr Hakobyan, the chief director of the film, revealed that the businessman-scriptwriter has been an irreplaceable adviser and has provided the film crew with the new insights. The film entitled “Memory” is currently in the editing stage and will be screened on 10 February 2015. It is already for two days that the film trailer has been available on the internet and the film crew is waiting for the responses. The young director interrupted the installation work for half an hour to give interview to “Kinoashkharh”.

“How has Hakob Hakobyan decided to write a film script about the Genocide and to shoot it? Currently it is a little bit weird to come across a businessman who is interested in cinema or in the theme of the Genocide.”

“Hakob Hakobyan has set up a khachkar (a cross stone) dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. On the centennial of the genocide he has decided to create a permanent work for the Armenian people. He has worked on the script for a long time and has decided to screen it.”

“Do you aim at completing the film ahead the 100th anniversary of the genocide? Even the state authorities state that it is not necessary to complete a film dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the genocide right before the anniversary.”

“Many people are looking forward to watching a film about the Armenian Genocide at its 100th anniversary. A decade is on but we don’t have serious films on that theme. Should we wait for another decade to pass and then start operating slowly? Our ultimate goal is to present the film to the public in 2015, we cannot wait any longer.”

“How and where have the film shootings been carried out? Wasn’t it strange to see Hakob Hakobyan in the filming area? In fact a former deputy is not likely to be seen behind the camera every day.”

“We have done our best to make the footages that we have planned before the shootings. We have worked both in Armenia and abroad. I don’t want to open the brackets but want to mention that we have tried to carry out the film shootings in those places where the actions actually happened. Mr. Hakobyan have not only consistently taken part in the film shootings but also have happened to be the greatest adviser. He has provided a great assistance both to me and to the cast. His remarks and mediations were so appropriate that resulted to the creation of a film in accordance with our visions. Sometimes he changed some parts of the script on the spot realizing that it was more natural and accurate if changed. I suppose that if we didn’t shoot the film the way he had imagined it we would destroy it.”

“It turns out that Hakob Hakobyan has been more than a scriptwriter also functioning as a director, actor and advisor. Has the casting been also carried out by him?”

“He has tried more than 30 directors. I applied to him expressing only one wish: to take part in the film shootings even if I am not the film director. I cannot say why he chose me as the chief director. He also has recruited the actors. The film stars Samvel Sargsyan, Artashes Aleksanyan, Garik Chepchyan, Yuri Igitkhanyan Luisa Ghambaryan and young actresses. There were cases when Mr. Hakobyan went to theatre to watch a performance, then he called me and said that he had liked this or actor and thought that he/she was appropriate for the specific role. He called the actor and we tried the role and it became clear that Mr. Hakobyan was right.”

“Hasn’t there been any disagreements and disputes? In fact it was quite possible for you to have different insights.”

“The disputes were numerous. In such cases the people nearby told me not to speak in that manner as I was dealing with Hakob Hakobyan. Or he was asked to keep calm not to turn the dispute into a fight. But those disputes were related to our creative work regarding the recruitment of the actors, the manner of capturing a scene, etc. And they were certainly settled. In the end we embraced each other like a father and son, and everything calmed down.”

“The film has naturalistic scenes depicting violence and slaughter. Nowadays you cannot surprise the society with all these scenes as the most savage forms of violence are committed and openly shown in different parts of the world. The Turks have used the cruelest methods. What are these scenes shown for?”

“We have shown what a creative nation has been massacred by the Turks. And the violence and cruelty are not arbitrary in the film. The international society should be aware of the terrible, inhuman atrocities of the Turks committed against the entire Armenian nation. There has been brutality and we show it. In addition the film has political, democratic layers addressed to today’s Turkey and to the humanity in general.”

“Will the film be screened in Turkey?”

“We want it to be screened very much and we are holding negotiations for it. Many Turks have posted comments and opinions under the film trailer stating that everything is true and they accept that they are guilty. They have also written that the film will also contribute to the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations.”

“You just were lucky to have come across to so-called progressive, non-politicized Turks, and not to extremists.”

“Our film has also Turk heroes. In fact there has been both murderer and humanist Turks and both of the types can be seen in the film. In general the heroes are numerous and it can be stated that we don’t have primary and secondary characters. All of them have their own destiny and this film is about their destinies.”

 

“Memory”: it can be inferred from the film title that the memory takes the heroes back to 1915.”

“Yes, it is 1976, the period of The Soviet Union, and 1915 is awaken in the memories. The distorted destinies of many Armenians condense the destiny of the entire nation. I cannot tell more, everything will become clear when the film is screened.”

“It is not so easy to create the cloths, atmosphere, colors and images of a century before us. What do you think is the film convincing in this respect?”

“There will be a lot of criticism. Not everyone will see the film like we have done. We have done everything on the professional level. We have bought new cloths, ripped them, put them into stench and then given to the actors playing refugees for them to feel their roles fully.”

“So naturalistic!”

“Hakob Hakobyan was so naturalistic towards me as well. 150-200 refuges, fine dressed, are passing the road of exile, and it is very cold. Having dressed warmly I am about to shoot that scene. Suddenly Mr. Hakobyan’s voice is heard from nearby telling me to wait. He approached me, took off my scarf and jacket and said “now you can start shooting”. I got surprised but then I understood that he wanted me to feel how cold it was for the refugees and how difficult it was for them. For a whole night Mr. Hakobyan left me in a cold room. I slept on the floor so as the next morning I would stand in the film making area feeling the pain of homeless and massacred Armenians. And believe me, the result is completely different.”

“How much is the film budget?”

“I cannot say. I can only add that Mr. Hakobyan has done his best for the film.”

“And finally whose names are going to appear in the captions? The people who are not seen in the film but they themselves are the film makers.”

“Scriptwriter Hakob Hakobyan, Chief Director Kadjayr Hakobyan, Production Director Seyran Hakobyan, Sound Director Aydin Davoudi, Director of Photography Vahe Sayan, Composer Ara Gevorgyan. The latter has noted that he will not write the music if there are talks about money.”

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The interview by Naira Paytyan