On June 17, on the initiative of the RA NA Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport parliamentary hearings were held on the theme on Legislative Possible Solutions in the Cinema Sphere.
Welcoming the participants of the hearings the Committee Chair Mkhitar Hayrapetyan considered necessary and urgent the initiating of the practical steps in the cinema art for the development of the state cultural policy, the preservation of the cinema traditions, as well as the creation of favourable conditions for the regulation of the cinema sphere and film production.
According to Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, people worrying and responsible for the development of the cinema art take part in the hearings. The debate is directed to discussing, analyzing the problems, disturbing circumstances existing in the sphere, as well as listening to the recommendations and implementing joint works. The Committee Chair expressed confidence that the hearings would be effective and constructive.
It became clear for the speeches of the debate participants that three legislative initiatives were worked out for regulating the cinema sphere.
Their authors are the Cinematographers’ Union of Armenia, IFCA: The Independent Filmmakers Club of Armenia NGO and the film producer Armen Adilkhanyan.
Some speakers considered necessary the complete operation, development of Hayfilm Cinema Studio and making it consonant with the modern requirements under the care of the state.
“The situation is very bad in the sphere,” the Moscow-based film producer Armen Adilkhanyan voiced such evaluation. To his conviction, we should radically change the systems relating to the higher educational institutions preparing cinema specialists and the sphere, we should either exempt the film production from the taxes or give tax privileges. Other speakers defended this viewpoint.
The representative of the Pan-Armenian Federation of Film Producers initiative Hovhannes Galstyan considered necessary to have realistic and practical law for the settlement of the problems existing in the sphere. According to him, we should pass the law on Cinema after radically changing the ineffective model of the state government of the cinema sphere.
The Head of the European Union delegation to Armenia Piotr Świtalski delivered a speech and highlighted the holding of the hearings and the initiative of passing the law regulating the sphere. He has clarified that the EU has made a decision to support this initiative, as the culture is a powerful tool for Armenia, and it can be of great importance in the development of economy and involving investments. To the speaker’s opinion, Armenia has a potential in the sphere of film production, and it should be realized. It has been noted that the European Union wants to support the participation of our country in Creative Europe programme. The Head of EU Delegation also expressed hope that the parliament would pass a powerful and realistic law regulating the cinema sphere.
The RA Deputy Minister of Science, Education, Culture, Sport Ara Khzmalyan thanked the organizers of the hearings and noted that in the past years a lot of inglorious pages and falls had been registered in the sphere: Hayfilm Studio had almost been completely destroyed, burglary of film production resources, the Armenian cinema heritage appeared in inconsolable conditions, the cinema network had almost been eliminated, etc. According to Deputy Minister, corruption schemes have functioned for many years in the film production, which have made ineffective the state financing of the film production projects.
Ara Khzmalyan also enumerated the positive moves in the sphere, voiced words of gratitude on the activity of Golden Apricot Fund. According to him, Armenia could have greater achievements in the film production sphere, if there were legislation regulating it.
The RA NA deputy Naira Zohrabyan highlighted Armenia’s joining Creative Europe programme and expressed hope that after passing the relevant law the parliament would initiate the process of joining the media sub-project of the Agreement, which would give opportunities for the development of the film production sphere. According to her, we shall have complex approach and a road map. The MP expressed readiness to jointly work with the Committee for having a good job.
The Head of the Creative Europe programme Armenia Office Seda Grigoryan has touched upon the directions of the media component of the programme, highlighted Armenia’s membership to it, stressing that it is a wonderful opportunity for complex development of the cinema sphere. According to her, among 41 member countries of the programme only Armenia and Kosovo don’t make part of its media sub-programme. there are countries, which partially take part in it. It has been noted that in 2014-2020 the budget of the media sub-programme is 820mln Euros, and in 2021-2027 it will be 1.1bln Euros.
Other participants also delivered speeches talking about the problems of film production, the necessity of the sphere recovery, the fairness of the money delivery in the film production, the importance of the cinema heritage and the lack of necessary great sums, modern cinema theatres and other problems for that purpose.
In her final speech the member of the RA NA Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport Anna Kostanyan positively assessed the parliamentary hearings, emphasized the voicing of the existing problems, which had not been audible for many years. She thanked the authors of the legislative initiatives, noting that they would be put into circulation in order to have one united legislative initiative.
Summing up the parliamentary hearings, the Head of the Sub-Committee including the spheres of the television, radio, press and information of the Committee Vahagn Tevosyan talked about cinema as a powerful tool of media influence, highlighted the raising of the existing problems and its analysis, the search of objective and subjective reasons. The deputy of the RA NA My Step Faction believed that we should announce Cultural Revolution and go on through solution of the problems.