The Ecumenical Jury at the Yerevan festival represented the Catholic film organization, SIGNIS, the Protestant film network, INTERFILM, and the Armenian Apostolic Church. Members of the 2012 jury were His Grace Bishop Gevork Saroyan (Armenia) (Armenian Apostolic Church),Ricardo Ruiz de la Serna (Spain) (SIGNIS) and Kristine Greenaway (Canada/Switzerland) (Interfilm).
The jury also awarded a “commendation” to the Turkish film “Future lasts forever” directed by Özcan Alper.
The commendation reads: “The story of a young musicologist’s trip into a Kurdish region of Turkey to gather elegies becomes a sequence of encounters with images and testimonies of violence and survival. As such, it speaks to the fate of minorities throughout the world. This film explores the process of discovering and reclaiming history and identity and points to the importance of the preservation of symbols of faith.”
Earlier during the festival the Armenian Apostolic Church named Russian film maker Alexander Sokurov as the first recipient of its “Let there be light” award. Sokurov received the award in a ceremony held at Gevorkian Theological Seminary near the Armenian capital, Yerevan.
Presenting the award to Sokurov, Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisian noted: “Film making is an art of light. It is addressed to the souls of people living in dark and dangerous times. The voice of one man can have great significance.”
The head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, His Holiness Karekin II, presided over the ceremony, which was attended by approximately 150 festival participants. Organizers of the event say the church’s award is intended to honour a “significant contribution to global cinematography” and to promote spiritual, cultural and humanitarian values.
Accepting the award, Sokurov told the church leaders he never thought this would happen: “I sometimes think of quitting because what I do is not considered significant. We humanists are sometimes on the side of failure.”
The cinematographer – known for artistically innovative and thematically complex films – has previously been honoured at film festivals including those in Cannes, Berlin, Moscow and Toronto. In 2011, his film “Faust” was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The film is the fourth in a series of studies of men in positions of power and their relation to evil. The first three films focus on Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin and Emperor Hirohito.
Further information about the festival is available at www.gaiff.am