Don Askarian: Shoot films on themes that burn inside your souls

PanARMENIAN.Net - Master classes should be run by a master, according to film director, producer and script writer Don Askarian.

"I am not a master myself, but I can share my experience with young directors to help them find the right way in their work," he told Saturday young directors during a master class organized in Naregatsi Art Center, Yerevan.

A film director, according to him, should think about motion pictures that haven't been shot.

Not having professional education in cinematography sphere, Askarian gained all his experience from watching films. "Even a poor-quality film can be a good guide to a learner, teaching him what mustn't be shot," he said, adding that a diploma cannot guarantee quality.

Addressing young those present, Mr. Askarian said, "Shoot films on themes that burn inside yourselves."

During the master class, participants also had the chance to watch films by young directors and hear Don Askarian's opinion about them.

Don Askarian, director, screenwriter, artist, editor. Don Askarian was born in Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh. In 1967 he went to Moscow and studied history and art. He worked as an assistant-director and film critic for a year after his study. In 1975-1977 Don Askarian was imprisoned. In 1978 he emigrated from the USSR to West Berlin. For the last 25 years he has lived and worked in Germany, The Netherlands and in Armenia, where he founded his own film companies. He is a prize-winner at several international film festivals. In 1996, Don Askarian published his book "The Dangerous Light". Every year the interest to his unique films grow up. More and more film festivals come to honor Don Askarian with retrospectives. Serious TV-stations like ARD, WDR, ZDF, Channel 4, Arte, but also Belgian, Greek, Swiss, Slovakian, Armenian etc. TV Channels are constant co-producers and buyers of all his films. The films of Don Askarian were sold and broadcast world wide about 80 times. Don Askarian, honored with a Harvard Film Archive retrospective, is considered the greatest Armenian filmmaker (but he is Russian-German-Dutch too).

In 2004, he received the Golden Camera Award for Life Achievement at Int. ART Film Festival, Slovakia. It turns out to be clearer what Hans-Werner Dannowski, the president of Interfilm (between 1989-2004), meant in 1992: "Time will pass until we recognize that Don Askarian is one of the most important filmmakers of our times. His movies will take up the time they need. Finally the films will have their success not with lies and assimilations but with truth." The retrospectives and special screenings around the world, on TV and important film festivals reflect it, mirror the growing interest in Don Askarian's films followed by a broad fascination by the audience.
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