“Anahit”: Armenian classic tale becomes animation film by Sahakyants

“Anahit”: Armenian classic tale becomes animation film by Sahakyants


"Who knows what can happen in life. The master can become a servant, even if he once was a king. Every person should learn a handy craft, whether he is a king, or a servant” - the words from the Armenian tale “Anahit” by the great writer Ghazaros Aghayan are familiar to everyone in Armenia from childhood. The tale is included in school curriculum since the Soviet era.

The tale is about king Vachagan, who falls in love with Anahit, a country woman, who refuses to marry him saying that the king must first learn a craft. Vachagan learns to weave carpets, a skill which eventually saves his life. Vachagan was taken prisoner and sent woven brocade with messages on it to Anahit.

Aghayan’s "Anahit", a classic and exciting tale of victory of good over evil, will appear next year in a full-length animated film, produced by the Robert Sahakyants Production studio.

Work on the 85- minute length film began three years ago, with the support of Armenian Culture Ministry. Now about 60 minutes of the film are ready, another 20 minutes will be shot this year, and a few months will go for the final production. (The film will also be dubbed into Russian and English and adapted to be presented to international audiences.)

"Anahit is a classic Disney animation film, with the storyline, the good and evil characters, songs, jokes, this film will be of interest to both children and adults," says David Sahakyants, the co-director of the film. "This story is valuable because of its message that is very acute and suitable for our children nowadays – work makes a person better, no matter if you are a king, you have to be something else than just a man who gives the orders.”

The film will differ from the original tale, but according to Sahakyants, in fact it will be an old story with the new interpretation.

“Anahit” will be the third full-length film in Armenian animation. In 2007, director Arman Manaryan shot "Sasountsi David" and in 2004, director Robert Sahakyants (father of David Sahakyants) created the first ever Armenian full length animation film 'Tavern".

Robert Sahakyants, (1950-2009), а famous Armenian animator, is the director of more than 30 animation films. He is also the author of the much talked "The Button" animation film, that criticized Mikhail Gorbachev’s regime in late 1980s. In the early years of independence Sahakyants denounced in his films those in power who rob the people.

Today, Sahakyants’s work continues by his family – his wife and three children at their production company -- along with other talented people, some of whom were his pupils.

David Sahakyants says "Anahit" is a synthesis of Robert Sahakyants’s style, which is recognizable and unique, and the style of their group of 25.

"Last year we organized a retrospective demonstration of nine films by Robert Sahakyants. The films were presented at the world's largest animation festival in Annecy, France, where it got great success and we received a lot of offers right away. This year we will take part in the festivals in the Czech Republic, England, Bulgaria, and Russia. "

Speaking of contemporary animation, Sahakyants notes it is very diverse and of course, as in all areas of the arts, commercialism dominates in animation as well. But it is necessary that people who produce films for children, can provide alternatives for children and produce films, aiming not only on having commercial profit. Children need to broaden horizons, to see a different perspective, and Sahakyants hopes that “Anahit” is a kind of film with the special message to children. (Sahakyants also says they are planning to open a small theater in the city, where Armenian animated films will be shown.)