A Brief History of Armenian Cinema in Facts and Figures

Siranush Galstyan, Maria Mirzoyan

Years 1920s – 1980s

In this decade a stable situation governed the film market and film production expanded. Beginning in 1976, Hayfilm/Armenfilm and the Studio of Documentary Films moved to the Yerevan suburbs into a large, newly-built studio with two pavilions, a modern sound studio, an animation division, a garage, several large warehouses for props and costumes, and a laboratory. The annual number of films released by Hayfilm reaches six to seven films, and all studios together systematically release several dozen films per year. The genre and style of these films is diverse. Internal opposition and ethical resistance to the reality of the failing totalitarian system penetrates the concept of Armenian films. The heroes of Armenian films constantly face choices. The retro style undergoes an original conversion in Armenian films: it no longer portrays the past from the angle of the present, nor does it revive the past in a nostalgic manner, but instead the past is evaluated and often imprinted in the present.


The 1990s

The 2000s and 2010s


The Armenian audiovisual industry currently consists of the National Cinema Centre of Armenia (NCCA), the State Studio of Chronicle-Documentary Films “Hayk” (“Hayk” Documentary Film Studio), the “Robert Sahakyants Production” NGO animation studio, plus over twenty independent production companies, as well as public and private TV companies.


State budget distribution: The total state budget for 2013 made up 1.2 million Armenian drams (AMD), or approximately 2.2 million Euros [exchange rate 1 Euro = 550 AMD). The state allocated 18.5 million AMD (33.5 million Euros) to the sector of “Leisure, Culture and Religion”, which is 1.5 percent of the total state budget.

Budget of Ministry of Culture for Cinema. The budget of the Ministry of Culture of RA for the “Cinema” sector made up 772 million AMD (1.3 million Euros), which is 0.06 percent of the total state budget for 2013. Of that, about half went to the film production—excluding wages, travel, office-running and other expenditures. This amount was distributed between the three major audiovisual industry players: National Cinema Centre; “Hayk” Documentary Film Studio; and Robert Sahakyants Production NGO. (In 2013, Robert Sahakyants Production was no longer under NCCA and received state funding directly; this means that the Ministry of Culture has acknowledged the animation studio and the animation sector on the whole as a fully-fledged player in the industry of audio-visual production.)



The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia, based on the Law on Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation (ratified in 2002) supports regularly different film-related activities, including participation of Armenian filmmakers in international film festivals and markets, national and international film festivals locally, and other. Additional sponsorship is envisaged for projects of national importance and jubilees.

Budget distribution in the audiovisual sector
The diagram below shows a breakdown of the distribution of the state budget for film production in per cent.

pie chart

Documentary, HCDS: “Hayk” Chronicle-Documentary Film Studio; Animation, RSAS: Robert Sahakyants Production; Feature, NCCA: National Cinema Centre of Armenia

Besides, the Ministry of Culture supports the “Festival” sector, i.e. attendance of international festivals and the conduct of national and international festivals locally. In 2013 the budget for this segment made up 87 million AMD (158,000 Euros). These funds were distributed as follows: provision of participation in international festivals and film markets; “Golden Apricot” IFF; “KIN” Women IFF; “ReAnimania” Animation IFF of Yerevan; “Nofi” Non-Commercial IFF; and he national event “CinemaAutumn”. In order to qualify for state subsidy, films should meet the following criteria: (a) they should be full-length feature films and film projects with a public-civil, creative and cultural value; (b) they should raise issues of national and universal human importance, etc.; (c) films and film projects for youth and children should be entertaining, educating, with national importance.
And talent-spotting and promotion of young filmmakers plays a special role.



Siranush Galstyan, Maria Mirzoyan © 2016

Comment on this article on Facebook