Our latest Short of the Month features a retrospective of the work Armine Vosganian. Armine, who is the midst of bringing a theatre show to London this July, took some time out to discuss her film work, future plans and female role models! Armine has given us access to her previous short films, including her most recent, The Lovage Bundle which is as captivating as it it elegant. She is an relentless talent and definitely one to watch and we’re honoured that Armine is sharing her work with us here on Bechdel Test Fest.
How does a project develop for you?
Some of my projects began from an image. It’s a haunting picture in my mind and it needs a story. Usually the image embodies characters, so the plot comes naturally. After writing the first draft, I try to put myself in the audience’s shoes to see if the plot I see can be clear enough to send a message.
I am very close to my family when it comes to art, so my first inspiration is my mother, Mihaela Vosganian
The other projects began from my father’s, Varujan Vosganian, docu-fiction prose. This road is quite difficult because I have to transform huge stories in short films and raise important questions in the minds of the people watching, like these novels do for their readers.
What kind of female inspirations do you have in mind when you’re making a film?
I am very close to my family when it comes to art, so my first inspiration is my mother, Mihaela Vosganian. She is composer and a stage concept performer and I grew up with her work. Being a female or male artist in Romania can be very hard and I saw her struggling in getting her shows out there, so she’s an inspiration when it comes to being a director, performer and producer in the same time. I am not performing in the films I direct, but I do perform in theatre shows I produce. Regarding female film directors, as a young student I was impressed by the work of Agnes Varda, Leni Riefenstahl, despite her political motives, Kathryn Bigelow, Maya Deren and Susanne Bier.
The real issue is that women don’t stick together. At least, that’s what producers say
What are your future plans within film?
At the moment, I am a student at London Film School and I will start my graduation short film project with the female Romanian Director of Photography Stefania Grigorescu this fall in Bucharest, Romania. Before leaving London, I will be shooting another project with Andrei Pacuraru through our London-based production company called Shepherd Tone. This project is inspired by rituals of the Goddess Ishtar.
Do you believe there are real barriers that you face by being a female within film?
London Film School is a great school to be in. Everyone is treated equal, everyone does the heavy lifting and the artsy business. Despite this and some several heads of department being women, I do believe it’s hard being a woman film maker out there. Everything in your film can be interpreted as being radical, a show off, too romantic and so forth. But this isn’t the real problem. This is what film critics may interpret. The real issue is that women don’t stick together. At least, that’s what producers say. Some statistics show that the women have the majority in cinema goers and they usually go for male leading characters and directors. So the big companies blame the society for not giving a chance to female directors and actresses to make their full mark. I think it’s a vicious circle.
What was the last film you watched?
The last films I watched are The Headless Woman by Lucrecia Martel and I killed my mother by Xavier Dolan.
Armine is also bringing a theatre show to London called STAIPELOCHIAN, an historical black comedy that will be performed at the International Youth Arts Festival.
Armine told us more about the show.
Based on the Varujan Vosganian’s Noble Prize nominated novel The Book of Whispers, Staipelochian tells the story of the Armenian community in Romania during the 20th century. Grandparents, emigration, coffee, war, ancestors, rituals, peace, dictatorship and illusions are narrated and performed by a storyteller of childhood.
The name of the show seems may seem strange. In Romanian the words “stai pe loc” means “stay put”. Most of the Armenian name end with -ian or -yan so the translation could be Stayputyan. Come and you will understand why!
Before coming to London, I established a theatre company with my former classmates in Bucharest. Rampa is a professional theatre company which has been creating and co-producing theatre shows with private and public institutions in different conventional and unconventional sites. All members of the company are graduates of the Caragiale Academy of Theatrical Arts and Cinematography in Bucharest, Romania. Among their shows, we can find titles such as Lower Depths by Maxim Gorki, The Name by Jon Fosse, Miss Julie by August Strindberg and Sugar Kremlin by Vladimir Sorokin.
15th of July 3.30 p.m
16th of July 3.30 p.m
17th of July 7.30.p.m
Venue: Kingston College, Arthur Cotterell Theatre Studio