Winner - October 2021 Edition: Best Indigenous / Native Peoples Film & Best Director Documentary Feature
Hello Peter Bahlawanian. How did you meet Mariam Avetisyan, the director of The Desire To Live, and what made you want to produce her work?
I met Mariam soon after the war ended in Artsakh, she was working for a local TV station and had made a beautiful segment, which I saw online and I knew it was something I wanted to produce into a film.
What is the situation of Armenian cinema, in terms of structures and community?
Armenian cinema has been evolving ever since the war and most of the filmmaking community has realized how vital it is to protect our Armenian identity and culture from foreign threat.
Mariam Avetisyan's intention is one of a series of short films, released weekly. Where is this part of the project at?
We presently have three seasons of The Desire To Live (web series) available online, almost 40 episodes of an average 20 minutes per episode and we continue to release a new episode every two weeks.
Since the ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia, are the people feeling any safer thanks to the presence of the Russian Peace Corps in the area?
I wouldn't call it feeling safer, but yes the Russian peacekeepers are the only line of defense presently keeping the Azeris from killing all the remaining civilians left in Artsakh.
Do the people of Artsakh relate at all to, or are they aware of other people's demise that could be compared to theirs, say for example, the Kurds, or the people of Yemen?
The people of Artsakh, like all other Indigenous people, share a common desire to live in peace and understand their are other communities dealing with similar threats to their existence.
From the film, we understand very clearly that after and despite all the pain, suffering, destruction, the people of Artsakh just want to rebuild their homes and restore their livelihoods. What is your vision for the country?
There is only one solution for the people of Artsakh and that is a self-governing state, free and independent from all, including Armenia. Once the world recognizes Artsakh as an independent country, they may have a chance to survive and prosper.
What, in your view, are the role and contribution of the Producer in the making of a film?
Without the Producer, a film isn't usually made or is made but never heard or seen. While the Director of the film is usually its mother, giving birth to it, I see the Producer as its father, protecting it and allowing the film to grow and tell its story to the world.
Award winning producer/director with over 30 years of experience in almost every aspect of the entertainment industry, notably creator of the Armenian Music Awards, the Human Rights Film Festival of America and Diaspora Films.
Peter is a grand-child of orphans of the Armenian genocide and an active force in protecting the Armenian culture through music, art and film.