Golden Apricot Film Festival Kicks off in Yerevan

The 11th edition of the annual Golden Apricot International Film Festival commenced in Yerevan on Sunday, as filmmakers, artists, and critics attended its opening ceremony.

This year’s opening ceremony paid homage to Sergey Parajanov — a renowned Soviet-era Armenian filmmaker — with a screening of one of his most well-known works, “The Color of Pomegranates.” Parajanov and his legacy will be a central theme of this year’s film festival.

The competitive part of the festival will feature 70 international films from 95 countries. Films will compete in four categories, customary to the Golden Apricot festival: feature film, documentary, “Armenian panorama,” and “kernel” (short film).

Concurrent with the opening ceremony, a traditional blessing of apricots was performed at Yerevan’s St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral to mark the opening of the film festival.

A number of well-known filmmakers and artists are attending the Golden Apricot festival, including Kim Ki-duk (South Korea), Krzysztof Zanussi (Poland), Amos Gitai (Israel), and others.

Kim Ki-duk remarked in a speech during the opening ceremony that he was grateful and humbled that his films were well-known in a country he had just discovered.

Kim, who was a car mechanic and who didn’t see his first motion picture until he was 32, has become a film festival staple, winning numerous awards over the years, including at the Venice and Cannes film festivals.

The South Korean director ended his speech with a surprise performance of a Korean folk song. He was awarded the Parajanov Thaler Award at Sunday’s opening ceremony.

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