Monday, 7 March 2011

British Film Festival in Armenia launches on 8 March with homophobic VO.X band performing (

UPDATE 29 April 2011: VO.X frontrunner Aram Rian has re-edited and replaced the controversial portion of the band’s "I Love Armenia" music video, by removing the reference to homosexuality as “perversion”. We have reached a mutual understanding with the group and consider this matter resolved as dialogue has taken place. We no longer have reason to believe either Aram Rian or VO.X is homophobic, and we wish them success in their future endeavors.

The 9th British Film Festival will be held in Yerevan from Mar. 8–13, in Vanadzor from Mar. 10–12 and in and Kapan from Mar. 14–16. During the festival, which is supported by the British Council, the British Embassy in Armenia and BMI (British Midland International) airlines, 6 films will be presented: “Made in Dagenham”, “The Arbor”, “Pink Saris”, “Enemies of the People”, “Son of Babylon”, “Sus”.

“We are delighted to offer our audience all possible genres starting with comedy and psychological thriller to documentary drama with all variety of topics: music, social problems, family relations, and, of course, love,” according to the information on the British Council website.

The opening ceremony will take place on Mar. 8 at 4 pm in Moscow Cinema with opening remarks by UK Ambassador to Armenia Charles Lonsdale, British Council Armenia office Director Arevik Saribekyan and BMI Armenia branch Sales Manager Simon Avagyan. Armenian music band VO.X will be performing at the ceremony.

Recall, VO.X released a music video last year of their song “I Love Armenia” which suggested that being gay was a perversion and, along with pollution, the neglect of historical sites and so on, should be eliminated in Armenia. The images of a gay couple with a big red “X” on them and the word “perversion” next to it sparked outrage among gay Armenians and supporters. The group has since issued an “official disclaimer statement“; however, some consider the statement to be less than satisfactory.

The special guest of this year’s British Film Festival in Armenia will be Sarah Ross, who has a background in broadcasting, communications and events, and has worked with the likes of Channel 4, BBC, Amnesty International and the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation. She will be offering workshops and master classes in Yerevan, Vanadzor and Kapan during the festival.

The films will be screening at Moscow Cinema during the festival in the original English without subtitles at 5 pm and with Armenian subtitles at 7 pm. Entrance to all screenings is free. Click here to view the festival program.