Armenian female director won the top prize at the prestigious international documentary festival
Armenian director Shoghakat Vardanyan achieved a remarkable feat as her war documentary, titled “1489,” clinched the prestigious top prize for Best Film at the renowned International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). The distinguished accolade brings acclaim and includes a substantial 15,000 euro ($16,000) cash bursary, underscoring the film’s exceptional merit.
“1489” delves into the deeply personal narrative of Shoghakat Vardanyan and her family as they navigate the arduous journey to uncover the fate of her brother, Soghomon. A 21-year-old student and musician on the cusp of completing his mandatory military service, Soghomon disappeared during Azerbaijan’s military attacks against Armenia in September 2020 and was identified only by the designation “1489.” The film meticulously captures the emotional odyssey of a family grappling with the loss of a loved one.
The IDFA jury, in their commendation, characterized “1489” as “a film that acts as a piercing light, making visible the vast hidden interior landscape of grief and creating a tangible presence from unbearable absence.” The jury further extolled the film’s profound impact, describing it as a cinematic tool of survival that compels audiences to confront aspects they might prefer to overlook. In essence, “1489” stands as an unforgettable testament to the power of cinema as an act of love, illustrating its potential to illuminate the darkest corners of human experience.