GAIFF Talent Lab Participants
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AUA’s Armine Anda Motivates Students to Explore the Acting World

2 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia This summer four students from the Introduction to Acting Technique course of the American University of Armenia (AUA) were actively engaged in the Golden Apricot International Film Festival’s (GAIFF) Talent Lab, a program for young professionals who want to develop their skills in the film industry. Gyulnara Hambardzumyan (BA EC ‘19), Mariam Chakmishyan (BAB ‘21), Suren Paravyan (BS CS ‘22) and Maria Vardanyan (BA EC ‘21) were among the enthusiasts selected to take part in the GAIFF Talent Lab along with other participants from Armenia and abroad. 

The Talent Lab consisted of four workshops that featured industry leaders from different corners of the world. Instructor of the Introduction to Acting Technique course AUA Adjunct Lecturer Armine (Anda) Abrahamyan was also involved in the GAIFF Talent Lab: she led two sessions of Michael Chekhov’s Psychological Gesture. The other trainer of the Talent Lab was Cathleen Leslie, a well known teacher-coach from the Actors Studio in California, who did a workshop in Methods.

“I always see that students come to Acting Technique course with great passion, and what makes me happier is that they finish the course even more passionate about acting. The first thing we always learn is that exploring acting is a lifelong journey. I was happy to see that the course inspired and prepared them to walk toward that exploration. During the two sessions my own students together with international actors were learning from one another, and more importantly they were happy to experiment and take on challenges to grow together,” explained Abrahamyan.

Students had the opportunity to attend GAIFF talks and meet renowned directors, build a network for future collaboration with both local and international professionals, as well as share experiences with actors from different parts of the world. According to Chakmishyan, those four days helped her uncover new acting techniques and motivated her to pursue a career in that field. 

“I learned that everything in the world has a story behind. It is all about life, and then about acting. Every character is a separate world itself to be explored and to live. We do need a new world,” Paravyan inferred from his experience.

When I am sad, posterFor Abrahamyan, this summer was also notable for a Folimage Co-Production Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June 2019 received for the animation project “When I am Sad.” The project, directed by Lilit Altunyan and produced by Abrahamyan, was also the winner of Animation du Monde in ReAnimania International Film Festival in 2018 and is expected to be made in 2020 as a co-production of Hoshkee FILM (Armenia) and Folimage (France).

As an avid fighter for the development of the film industry in Armenia, Abrahamyan has presented a draft Cinema Law to the National Assembly of Armenia in June 2019. The law was co-drafted by Abrahamyan with the participation of Independent Filmmakers Community of Armenia (IFCA). The draft bill sought to address the question: “How cinema must be supported to engender steadfast development?”

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.