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Zareh Tjeknavorian’s Film an Official Selection at 13th Pomegranate Film Festival

YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ The American University of Armenia (AUA) is happy to share that AUA Lecturer Zareh Tjeknavorian’s award-winning film “Elegy in Light” is an official selection at the 13th Pomegranate Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. Tjeknavorian teaches Filmmaking and Cinema Studies in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS).

The Festival will take place on November 14-18, 2018. The North American Premiere of “Elegy in Light” will take place at the Hamazkayin Theatre on Saturday, November 17, at 3:00 PM as part of the Symphony of Film series.

The Pomegranate Film Festival is the largest Armenian film festival organized in the Diaspora. Established in 2006, it was initiated by the Toronto Chapter of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society. Now in its 13th year, the Festival is a unique community event celebrating Armenian-inspired film.

“Elegy in Light,” shot on super 8mm film at the funeral of Catholicos Vazgen I, Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians, depicts an ancient and rarely seen rite of the Armenian Church with a soundscape of monastic chants taken from composer Loris Tjeknavorian’s “The Life of Christ.” The film is an impressionistic meditation on death and the fragmentary nature of memory; a cinematic memorial made from the substances of time and light, described by one viewer as “a psychedelic trip into medieval times.”

Earlier in 2018, “Elegy in Light” won the Rosenkreuz Award for Best Foreign Documentary at the First Hermetic International Film Festival (FHIFF) in Venice, Italy, a festival dedicated to films that explore esoteric, mystical, occult, and other hermetic spiritual themes. “From the beginning we had the feeling that this precious documentary, seemingly fragile yet in its essence as resilient and enduring as an archaeological artifact, would be awarded”, said FHIFF director Sara Ferro. “Rarely does a documentary film possess such mesmerizing cinematography.”

Zareh Tjeknavorian was born in Fargo, North Dakota, into a family of musicians and grew up in Tehran, London, Frankfurt, Paris and New York, where he attended the Professional Children’s School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, majoring in film and television. Over the years he has pursued his interests in ancient and esoteric cultures, lost histories, and the lives of the forgotten and dispossessed through short and long-form films. His most recent work is a folk history of the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath in Soviet Armenia, told through the memories of orphans, refugees and their descendants.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.