Wednesday, August 4, 2010

LFF 2010: Director Close-Up

LFF 2010 : Little Stones

Born in Armenia, living in Lebanon for the past 16 years. Graduated from the Lebanese American University in 2005, majored in Communication Arts emphasis in Radio/Tv/Film. Participated in film workshops in Armenia, South Korea and Denmark. Made a number of films while in university. Latest work was a video/photo/audio installation called « My Beirut » as part of Badguer I in 2009. « Little Stones » is a documentary shot in Denmark, in 2010.


Why did you submit your film to this particular festival ?

Well, first of all, I would like to thank the festival for selecting my film. My graduation film, The Last Station, was in this festival three years ago; and this is a festival that is close to my heart. Somehow it feels home. I have been in Lebanon for the past 16 years and I feel Lebanese so the first festival I applied to was the Lebanese Film Festival. It makes sense, no? I finished "Little Stones" some days before the deadline and I'm glad, really glad it was selected. Because I'm kind of scared and curious to see how the Lebanese public will see it. I was not present for the screening of the other film 3 years ago, I was in Korea at the time. I hope I will be in Beirut for the screening of this one.

What do you think about the question of identity ?

Identity...this is a question that keeps on roaming in my head all the time. And my film was derived form this mess in my head. I was born in Armenia as you already know and more than half of my life I've spent here in Lebanon. So somehow I feel both Armenian and Lebanese and at the same time I haven't found my peace yet. I don't know if this is a bad thing, but I'm sure it's tough, at least mentally and psychologically. Identity is "who we are", at least that's what the dictionary says, but I think for me it's "who I feel". Feelings are a crucial part of who I am.

Which difference is there between Europe and Lebanon concerning this subject ?

Europe, or rather in this case Denmark, which is part of Scandinavia, and Lebanon... The difference is huge. A country where all is silent (the city...), people are quiet and shy. Privacy is a well respected value. These are little details that unfortunately or fortunately we lack in Lebanon. There, I met these 4 women who came from very warm countries, and for them it was very difficult to be in this sort of Scandinavian setting. These souls opened up to me and I could feel their nostalgia and longing for the mess and warmth of their home countries. And this was the nostalgia I was looking for in this film...

Why did you film this movie in Denmark ?

Well I was part of an IMS exchange program carried out in collaboration with the National Film School of Denmark, where 3 Lebanese filmmakers were to be part of a course and at the end we were to make a film. I had the idea of this film before I left to Denmark. But definitely it was developed there. Why Denmark? As I said before identity and nostalgia are concepts that I think about. And Denmark was this neutral place where I felt I didn't take sides with any part of who I am, neither Armenian nor Lebanese. So it was the right place to search for what I was searching for...and I'm really happy I made it there. As neutral as it was, it reminded me a lot of Armenia...

What’s next ?

Next is a film that I will start filming tomorrow. It is Weird for me to sit here now and write this, while thinking of tomorrow's shoot... I'm in Armenia right now making this documentary about my grandma, whose name was Tamara and she a warrior in World War II....she passed away last year... I prefer not to talk more about it. And another project is, well a documentary that I will shoot here as well... Let's not enclose this one. It has been very busy last weeks but I love it.

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