Bringing a world-class, international film production to Armenia (and, once complete, out into the world) will significantly benefit the country, its people and the Diaspora in the following ways:
HERE will have a direct impact on the development of the local film industry.
HERE is the kind of project that a state film commission dreams about: a gorgeously photographed showcase of great swaths of Armenia that will illustrate the country’s unique culture and incredible location possibilities. Shot by the world-renowned French cinematographer Agnès Godard, HERE will display the beauty, diversity and depth of the Armenian landscape and people on a scale that no other film has, and it will showcase those attributes on an international platform, drawing other productions behind it.
Armenia has the potential to create and maintain a thriving film production industry, like those that have been established in the Czech Republic and Romania. The country possesses unique and varied locations, a filmmaking history that flourished during the Soviet period and a community of talented, creative and hard working technicians. By incorporating these technicians into a Western-style production, HERE will have a direct impact on the continued development of the local film industry by providing the kind of rare and invaluable experience that will create an even more capable population of production service personnel. HERE will demonstrate to the world that a significant film project can be successfully mounted in Armenia and will help speed the further development of the infrastructure and personnel that will allow others to do the same.
HERE will increase Armenia’s international profile.
HERE will create a cultural bridge between Armenia and the rest of the world. This unique project, with its world-class production team and deep, ongoing institutional support will significantly increase awareness of Armenia in a broad range of highly influential cultural arenas. Furthermore, the film’s core international audience will contain a large, educated, international tourist class. Just as a film like SIDEWAYS vastly increased interest and tourism in California’s Napa Valley, HERE will increase interest in Armenia as a tourist destination. This has already begun to occur via events like the 2008 MAPPING THE SELF exhibition at The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (which featured director Braden King’s Armenian location scout photographs), King’s 2008 HERE-related multimedia event THE STORY IS STILL ASLEEP (which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival), and the project’s participation in the 2008 Cannes Film Festival Atelier. HERE has begun to help put Armenia on the map of high-level international culture even before it goes into production. It will continue to do so on an exponentially higher level once produced and released.
HERE will preserve a contemporary snapshot of Armenia forever.
The German director Wim Wenders said, “All films are documentaries… Cinema is a weapon against the disappearance of things.” He was referring to the way in which his acclaimed 1987 film WINGS OF DESIRE had preserved a very specific moment in time in the history of Berlin, only a few years before the Berlin Wall came down and the topography and culture of the city began to change forever. Within a few years, many locations used in the film no longer existed. But his film had forever preserved an image of Berlin as it was before these momentous changes began to occur.
Today, Armenia is experiencing a moment of incredible and rapid change all its own. While the country’s equivalent to the Berlin Wall came down a few years ago, it has only recently begun to undergo the kind of rapid changes described above – and this change is increasing in speed. While these developments are almost certainly progressive in the long run, HERE seeks to examine a contemporary moment in the country’s history, culture, cities, people and landscapes that will soon change forever or no longer exist. Armenia now exists between East and West, Socialism and Democracy, the past (both ancient and recent) and the future. This is a significant part of the reason that it’s such an appropriate location for HERE’s story and themes. The film will indelibly preserve the aesthetics, triumphs and struggles of Armenia today for generations to come.
HERE will leave lasting value behind in Armenia.
Even a relatively low-budget film requires spending large sums of capital on production. Crew must be housed and fed; travel must be secured and arranged; equipment and gear must be rented, bought or built. HERE will be shot entirely on location in Armenia; a great percentage of the project’s budget will be spent on production in-country and the majority of that will take place in rural areas. The production will actively seek to leave lasting value in its wake. For example, in areas where traditional hotel services do not exist, there is the possibility of using funds that might otherwise be spent on room rates to renovate village housing that could be donated to the local population once production is complete. Additional possibilities are being explored, such as donating certain equipment to the National Film Center after shooting and utilizing local labor and services wherever possible. Finally, as further discussed in the Investor Summary section of this overview, 5% of the producer profits on HERE will be donated to support the next generation of Armenian filmmakers. As discussed, HERE will showcase how much Armenia has to offer. It will also leave lasting value behind.