This years ReAnimania International Animation Film Festival of Yerevan will be screening two of Mew Labs films in the official competition. “Lady and the tooth” will be screening along with “The Key“. The festival takes place between 25-31 October. ReAnimania’s goals are to facilitate the development of animation art, educate a new generation of world class animators and provide a forum for presenting works of Armenian animators in the international arena as well as introduce examples of the world’s finest animated films to the Armenian audience.
Here is a little extract taken from the website about the history of Armenian Animation
Since prehistoric times the ancestors of the Armenians tried to demonstrate and reproduce the image in motion. Already on rock carvings one can see images of action in phase motions. The same tendency is observed in number of medieval Armenian miniatures, where with the help of separate series of images several attempts have done for showing motion and action.
In the future the “animation thinking” in its different manifestations has been stopped for quite a long time.
However, in the 20th century, in the century of motion picture, the animation re-understanding of the biblical legend on Adam’s first wife, Lilit, was drawn by Armenian animator Robert Sahakyants in the style of old book miniatures (Lilit. 1972).
Hereby the history of the Armenian animation film is presented in chronological order.
Year 1937 remains as the darkest date in Soviet epoch. Meanwhile, in the history of those cruel times there was at least one bright point: it was exactly in this year when Armenfilm studio started to shoot its first animation films. The first film, The Dog and the Cat (1938) was done by the founder of Armenian animation cinema Lev Atamanov (Atamanyan) based on Hovhannes Tumanyan’s poem with the same title.
In the future the Armenian animators (as well as the film directors) often filmed works of eminent Armenian writer Tumanyan.
The second Armenian animation film, The Priest and the Goat, Lev Atamanov has completed on the eve of the Second World War, in 1941. Shootings of the next film, which has started at the same time – The Magic Carpet (artists: Hakob Kojoyan, M. Karapetyan) have been accomplished only after the end of the war, in 1947. Then the working group of animators has been broken up, and the history of Armenian animation film was stopped for almost 20 years.
In the mid of 1960-s artist Valentin Podpomogov undertook the “reanimation” of Armenian animation film. In 1967 he screened A Drop of Honey, in 1970 – “Parvana” (he was both the director and artist). Both films were based on poems of the same Hovhannes Tumanyan.
At the end of 1960-s feature film artist Stepan Andranikyan started to work in Armenian animation cinema (he is well-known as an artist of Sergey Parajanov’s famous The Color of Pomegranate and other films). The very first film, directed and drawn by Andranikyan, The Bride of Sun (1971) is a basic, turning work. The animation film is distinguished by bright color spectrum, plasticity and unique artistic characteristics.
The 1970-s are considered by right as times of flourishing of Armenian national animation film. During those years animation films with original graphic solution and of various genres have been created both for children and adults: Pui-Pui Mouse (1971), Abu-Hasan’s Slippers (1974), Music (1976) by Rafayel Babayan, Lilit (1972), The Fox Who Could Not Do Anything (1976), Kikos (1979) by Robert Sahakyants, Idle (1975) by Levon Khachatryan, The Meeting of the Mice (1978) by Lyudmila Sahakyants, etc.
In 1973 directors A. Mirakyan and E. Vardanyan steblished Armenian puppet animation cinema, directing Wrong Expression. In 1975 The Fox’ Book (1975), a film directed by Robert Sahakyants (composer – David Azaryan) based on medieval Armenian fable-writer Vardan Aygektsi,was an absolutely new event in Armenian animation art. This film gains a quite original sounding due to singings of talented singer Elvina Makaryan.
A Penguin Named Vin (1972) by Stepan Andranikyan and Found Dream (1976) by Hovhannes Dilakyan are among most favorite Armenian cartoons for children. Several phrases and songs from them have entered into the everyday life’s conversations. Melodic songs of Ruben Hakhverdyan have played a significant role in creating the kind, fairy, dream-like atmosphere in Found Dream.
The 1980-s also were years of creative raise. Again, the animators more frequently deal with Hovhannes Tumanyan’s literary heritage. Indeed, his works have found unique animation interpretation in Armenian cartoon films, transforming into a very interesting creative thinking. Robert Sahakyants shot Nazar the Brave (1980), Hey You, Talking Fish (1983), Wow, Shrove-tide! (1985), Gayane Martirosyan – Three Pieces of Advice from the Wise Man (1980), Robert and Lyudmila Sahakyants – Three Blue-Blue Lakes of Crimso Color (1981) and Echo (1986), Stepan Galstyan – Panos the Clumsy (1980, script – Robert and Lyudmila Sahakyants, artist – Ashot Bayandur).
Feature film director Arman Manaryan shot his first cartoon film, A Tale About a Mirror (1985, artist – Alexandr Petrov). Dream Interpretation (1989) by Lyudmila Sahakyants, based on medieval fables by Mkhitar Gosh, is an original author work in the style of vision.
New specialists among Armenian animators are young artists Marina Vagharshyan, Ella Avagyan, etc.
In 1990s a new era is started in the history of Armenia: collapse of Soviet Union, establishment of a new independent country, yet difficult, heavy years.
The economic crisis has not influenced on Robert Sahakyants’ activity: For You, Armenia (based on song by Georges Garvarentz and Charles Aznavour); The Button; The Axe; Elections (based on Ruben Hakhverdyan’s song with the same title); The Ark, etc. However time puts its seal on famous animator’s style: irony and sarcasm take more and more place in his works.
It is worthy to note that in quite difficult conditions of 1990-s around 20 cartoon films have been shot.
In 1990-s following directors continue to work in Armenian animation film: Gayane Martirosyan (On the Wings of the Wind; Newcomers; Kind Ghosts of the Old Mill), Stepan Galstyan (The Corridor; Alternative), Yubik Muradyan (Pieces of Advice to American Traveler; Warm, Quite Valley of Home; Bitlis based on William Saroyan’s stories, Armenian Letters), Naira Muradyan (Three Poets and Charents). Arman Manaryan, who has established himself in feature film long time ago, shots again a new animation film, Ignoramus. It is several years he works on animation film David from Sasun.
In spite of the fact that there is no regular production of animation films in Armenia, however new works are being created. Among them Mikayel Vatinyan’s Bozho and David Sahakyants’s Lullaby is worth to be mentioned.