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Zareh Tjeknavorian’s Film Screened in New York City

NEW YORK CITY, US ‒ The American University of Armenia (AUA) is happy to share that AUA Lecturer Zareh Tjeknavorian’s award-winning film “Crowned & Conquering” was an official selection at the Psychedelic Film and Music Festival in New York, NY. Tjeknavorian teaches Filmmaking and Cinema Studies in the AUA College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS).

The film was screened on the opening night of the festival on May 17 at the Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn. The show was billed as “a night of Surrealist, Psychedelic and Magickal shorts.

Shot on 16mm film, “Crowned & Conquering” is inspired by the philosophy of the occultist, ceremonial magician and writer Aleister Crowley. Through mythical scenes, symbolic imagery, abstract graphics and textures (including collage and painting directly on the film itself), and a monumental psychedelic soundtrack, the work visualizes the alchemical process of chrysopoeia, the transmutation of the spirit from lead into gold: a cinematic allegory of the gnostic path in sight and sound.

“Crowned & Conquering” recently won the Theremin Award for Best Sound Design at the First Hermetic International Film Festival (FHIFF) in Venice, Italy, where it also received a nomination for Best Experimental Film.

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 & Television. Over the years he’s 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 acclaimed documentary “Enemy of the People,” an oral history of Stalinism based on over 200 interviews, was broadcast on PBS and noted by National Geographic Magazine as one of three must-see films about Armenia. His recent work includes a folk history of the Armenian Genocide, and a series of films exploring vishap (dragon) stones, prehistoric landscapes, and the persistence of archaic beliefs in rural Armenia. Last month Tjeknavorian’s award-winning “Elegy in Light” was a finalist at the eighth edition of the “IntimaLente / IntimateLens” Ethnographic Film Festival held in the city of Caserta, in the Campania region of Italy.

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.

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