Zareh Tjeknavorian’s “Crowned & Conquering” film poster
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Zareh Tjeknavorian’s Film Wins Grand Prix at Kinoskop Festival in Belgrade

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BELGRADE, Serbia ‒ The American University of Armenia (AUA) is happy to share that AUA Lecturer Zareh Tjeknavorian’s film “Crowned & Conquering” was awarded the Grand Prix at the Kinoskop 1st International Festival of Analog Experimental Cinema and Audio Visual Performance. Tjeknavorian teaches Filmmaking and Cinema Studies in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS).

Kinoskop is a major new showcase of underground and experimental films shot exclusively on 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm motion picture cameras. The international festival is “dedicated to the spirit of preserving the exploratory tendencies and experimental ways of working with celluloid in a digital era.” The inaugural edition of Kinoskop was curated by veteran experimental film aficionados Nikola Gocić, film writer and critic and visual artist, and Marko Milićević, film author and founder of the audiovisual initiative Kino Pleme. The two-day festival included screenings, expanded film performances, gallery exhibitions and live music at the popular alternative art space Kvaka 22 on November 30 and December 1. Commenting on the festival, Tjeknavorian called Kinoskop “a celebration of personal, poetic cinema, and the belief that ‘celluloid’ is to motion pictures what vinyl is to sound.”

Zareh Tjeknavorian’s “Crowned & Conquering” film posterOver 50 works were selected from 220 submissions and shown in seven sections of the main program and in four live soundtrack performances. The esoteric “Crowned & Conquering,” shot on 16mm and featuring symbolic imagery and abstract graphics (including the use of collage and painting applied directly on the film strip), was awarded the Grand Prix by a jury comprised of film director Marko Žunić, musician and philologist Nevena Popović, and A/V artist and film editor Nina Lazarević. In announcing the decision, the festival wrote: “Zareh Tjeknavorian lulls us into the state of a weightless mystical dream. His allegorical visions appear to open time-space wormholes through which we are transposed into the mythical dimension.”

Earlier in 2019 “Crowned & Conquering” was a finalist at the Psychedelic Film & Music Festival in New York City and won the Theremin Award for Best Sound Design at the First Hermetic International Film Festival (FHIFF) in Venice, Italy, where it was also nominated for Best Experimental Film. Several other films by Tjeknavorian were exhibited at festivals this year: “Elegy in Light”, shot on Super 8mm film, was a finalist at the eighth edition of the “IntimaLente / IntimateLens” Ethnographic Film Festival held in Caserta, Italy, and was an Official Selection at the Cine de los Muertos film festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where it screened at the NSU Art Museum as part of the city’s tenth annual Day of the Dead celebrations. In October, “Embers of the Sun” about Armenia’s prehistoric megaliths and rock art, was an Official Selection at the 30th edition of the prestigious Rassegna Internazionale Del Cinema Archeologico in Rovereto, Italy. His study of the Armenian Bronze Age monoliths known as vishaps appears in the forthcoming book “Vishap: On the Borderline of Fairytale and Reality” published by the Institute of Archaeology & Ethnography, Yerevan.

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.