Thursday, September 01, 2016


Azerbaijani Film Festival Canceled In Armenia After Protests

Protest Against Azerbaijani Film Festival In Armeniai
|| 0:00:00
April 12, 2012
A crowd of protesters rallied in Armenia's second-largest city, Gyumri, on April 11 to voice their anger over a plan by the Caucasus Center for Peacemaking Initiatives to hold an Azerbaijani film festival. The signs read: "No Azerbaijani Film Festival!" Mayor Vardan Ghukasian can also be seen exhorting the crowd.
A crowd of protesters rallied in Gyumri to voice their anger over a plan to hold an Azerbaijani film festival. The signs read: "No Azerbaijani Film Festival!" Mayor Vardan Ghukasian can also be seen exhorting the crowd.
A festival of Azerbaijani films was canceled in Armenia's second-largest city, Gyumri, following protests.

The festival had been scheduled to open on April 12 but was called off after dozens of protesters blocked the festival venue.

The event was organized by the Armenia-based Caucasus Center for Peace-Making Initiatives and also had the support of the U.S. and British embassies in Yerevan.

Giorgi Vanyan, the chairman of the center, was allowed to leave the festival venue only after announcing that the event would be called off.
One video posted on YouTube shows Vanyan being physically assaulted on the street outside the festival venue.

As festival organizers noted on their website:

"The Azerbaijani Film Festival in Armenia has been blocked as a result of a terror and blackmailing [campaign] carried out by pressure groups that try to disguise their actions by an alleged 'wave of public outrage.' The organizers and potential viewers of the festival received threats of physical revenge through the Internet and phone."
Vanyan apologized for the cancellation and said organizers will try to reschedule the festival:

"In particular, we will continue to create an atmosphere of open and direct communication in spite of the current propaganda and terror aimed at distorting human values and denying healthy civilized relations."

Vanyan has accused Gyumri Mayor Vardan Ghukasian of having a hand in exacerbating the protests and tension surrounding the festival.

A similar initiative to hold a festival of Azerbaijani films in 2010 in Yerevan also failed.
A total of four short films shot in Azerbaijan in 2007 and 2008 -- three feature films and one documentary -- were to be shown.

Vanyan reported on his Facebook page that the films were eventually screened for a few dozen audience members at a venue outside the city. Another showing is scheduled for April 17 in Vanadzor.

Armenia and Azerbaijan remain locked in a dispute over the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is populated almost entirely by ethnic Armenians. The region was the site of a 1988-94 war that killed tens of thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands. An uneasy cease-fire is in effect. The region declared unilateral independence in 1991 and has maintained de facto autonomy.

-- RFE/RL's Armenian and Azerbaijani services
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Sey from: World
April 13, 2012 16:15
So, what's all the fuzz about? Azerbaijanis would do exactly the same if an Armenian film festival would be planned in Baku. Furthermore, a guy like that Vanyan in Azerbaijan would have already been in jail.

But as always, media concentrates on the small showcases of anti-Azerbaijan feelings in Armenia, and not on the periodic threads of war Aliyev makes almost weekly.
In Response

by: Christian from: Kiev
April 13, 2012 20:24
Yeah right, that of course justifies this shameful display of hate.
In Response

by: Sey from: World
April 14, 2012 16:06
Yes, it pretty much does. Armenia and Azerbaijan are in war, you know? They kind of 'don't like' each other.

But believe me, this 'shameful display of hate' is nothing compared to having the people who voted for Armenia's entry in Eurovision some years ago brought for questioning at the national security service in Azerbaijan due to 'threatening national interests'.

Now that is shameful, even more considering some Armenians voted for Azerbaijan and nothing happened.
In Response

by: George from: Artsakh
April 14, 2012 16:32
This is an understandable reaction to the daily anti-Armenian racist remarks coming from the highest government officials. Armenians throughout the world are branded as enemies of the Azeris, and this coming from no less than the President of Azerbaijan, Aliyev.

Being judgemental is very easy from Kiev, whereas, Baku has openly declared is ready to wipe out Armenia if her terms are not met, continues to arm itself to the teeth.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
April 14, 2012 22:53
Sure,`Christian`,you gotta love your enemies,turn your other cheek to your killers and give `em yer second shirt.However youre neither a christian,nor from Kiev as you write it in russian.There is a bulgarian director of documentaries on the Artsakh war who has 3 death sentences on her for her movies on the subject,her name is Tsvetana Paskaleva and if you see her films on You Tube you will understand the feelings of the armenians towards the azeris.Shame on you,`christian`!!!

by: Tatevos from: Srednaya Asia
April 14, 2012 05:16
The signs the boys are holding at 0:40 read: "Georgi Vanyan, you are a Turk, get out of Gyumri," and "Levon Barseghyan, you are not Armenian."

At 0:54, the old women are yelling "shame!"

The men making speeches basically say that it's a travesty that someone tried to organize this film festival.

by: AKS from: Los Angeles
April 15, 2012 10:43
"Armenia and Yerevan remain locked in a dispute over the breakaway... "

Please fix the begging of the last paragraph. I believe you meant to say Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Regarding this protest, well I can see where their anger is coming from, but if this is done correctly I 100% support these types of events.

Not because of some artistic value/bringing cultures together crap.

It is extremely important to know what your enemy is doing and how they are portraying you in their films gives you the ability to counter their claims.
I prefer having knowledgeable populace which can counteract any falsified claims made by the opponents propaganda machine.

Besides tearing down flags and yelling angrily does not give us a great PR coverage, which is unfortunate important. It also makes us look like them.
This Vanyan guy might not be the right person to do this, in an interview he equated the Battle of Khojally with the pogroms in Sumgait; what a idiot.

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