As a kid in the late 1980s, I’d sit on my father’s shoulders and head to Liberty Square to demand our independence from the Soviet Union. I remember the euphoria, in 1991, when Communism fell — and Armenia was free again.
But it did not take long for the old soviet symptoms to reappear. Corruption and poverty plagued our country. As the oligarchs grew rich and powerful, the people lived in misery. There never was a fair trial in Armenia, and never a free election.
So we began to protest our own rulers.
In 2013 my father ran for president against the all-powerful military commander Serzh. The official results gave him 37%, but the people knew the truth. Tens of thousands of citizens gathered at Liberty Square, where we took an oath to fight for democracy until the end.
We lost that year. Just like we’d lost the year before. And would lose the year after.
But it didn’t matter. We made a promise to each other we would never stop fighting. We would never give up the struggle. We saw ourselves as flakes of snow, quietly gathering upon a mountain, preparing for the day when a final flake would fall — and set off the avalanche.
And as we struggled for democracy, I filmed. Every time a new protest erupted, I picked up my camera and headed for the streets. I filmed the peaceful youth protests of Electric Yerevan. I filmed the violent uprising of the Daredevils of Sassoun. In my apartment in Armenia, I have a box full of hard drives that contain thousands of hours of footage of fading movements, failed revolutions, unfinished movies.
So when on Easter Sunday 2018 a man put on a backpack and announced that he was going to walk across Armenia and inspire a revolution, I had no reason to believe that this time would be different. I just did what I’d always done. I picked up my camera and headed for the streets.
It did not cross my mind that I was making a film, or that an avalanche was coming.
2019 I AM NOT ALONE
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Garin Hovannisian
Written by: Garin Hovannisian
Produced by: Garin Hovannisian, Alec Mouhibian, Tatevik Manoukyan, Eric Esrailian
Cinematography: Vahe Terteryan
Editing: Barry Poltermann
Original Score: Serj Tankian
Sound: Jeremy Grody
Visual Effects: Christopher Kirk
Main Cast: Nikol Pashinyan (Himself, the revolutionary)
Nominations and Awards
- EFA Documentary Selection 2020