Traversed: A Visual Journey Through Armenia

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An exploration of the past, present, and unfolding future of Armenia, a small mountainous country in the former Eastern Bloc.

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Traversed is a short documentary that will depict its character -Armenia – through the stories of its vast primordial landscapes, ancient churches, rural villages, fields cultivated by families and small communities, industrial factories left over from the Soviet era, and its cities, growing and changing by the minute as they open up to the world of global trade and capitalism. In addition to the visual stories of Armenia, we will be collecting the stories of people we meet along the way, creating poetic pairings of the two as we move through the film.

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What the film will show:

We will see star-filled skies and towering mountains in untouched landscapes; monasteries from a time long passed and crumbling factories from an era more recently fallen; primitive caves and dwellings and those who still wander with their flock; people harvesting fruit in the fields and others working at a clothing stores in the mall; abandoned towns being taken back by nature and a thriving and ever-expanding city.

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Who will tell the stories:

During our travels, we will be talking to people from all around the country. We will ask them to share with us their favorite stories, whether they are truth, fiction, myths or pieces of advice they have gathered in their lives. From the physicists at the Astrological Observatory in Byurakan, to the farmers in the Ararat valley, to the Priests living in Monasteries, everyone has a story to tell. We will record them all as a collective imagination of this place – the result of the different but shared experiences of a country.

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We will be filming in Armenia from August until the end of 2014. This time will allow us to go to places in every corner of the country in different seasons of the year. We will do all post-production – editing, color correction, sound design, creation of an original soundtrack – in January and February of 2015. The film will be released in March of 2015.

Why we need this funding: 

The money we raise via your generous donations will go to several costs of the production.

First, Travel. we need money to be able to travel to these locations and to stay for longer periods of time.

Second, Equipment. We are using a lot of new techniques and technologies to shoot this beautiful footage. We need to be able to maintain the equipment we have (this includes keeping up our small studio space) and to buy a few new pieces of equipment to keep ahead of the curve in our filming methods.

Third, the publication of an eBook. Part of the funding will help us transcribe and translate of all of the interviews that we collect and publish them along with our favorite images in an eBook (which you can then receive as one of our Kickstarter Rewards!).

Finally, we need funds for our post-production. Editing and sound design will be where the story of this film comes together, and we are very excited to be composing an original soundtrack for the piece.

The point of it all:

The ultimate goal of this film is to paint a portrait of Armenia that most people don’t get to see – a country that is complex, beautiful, and standing at a crossroads of history. Like the other films that we have made in Armenia, Traversed will be for an international audience. It will give people around the world a beautiful glimpse into this ancient and modern world that they may never have heard of. Likewise, it will give Armenians a new perspective on familiar territory.

To this end, the film will travel through international film festivals for one year after its completion, and then it will be released online to travel like wildfire to all corners of the earth.

Who are we?

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Emily Mkrtichian (Producer/Director) is a filmmaker and writer based in Yerevan, Armenia. In 2011, Emily produced the short fiction film, 140 Drams(, in Yerevan, Armenia. The film has been in Film Festivals in over nine countries and won several international awards, including Best International Short at the Izmir International Film Festival and an honoree of the International Cinematographer’s Guild Emerging Cinematographer’s award, for which it screened at Camerimage in November, 2013.

This last year, Emily directed and produced two documentaries for ARTE (France/Germany). The first was filmed in Karachi, Pakistan about Abdul Sattar Edhi, the country’s greatest humanitarian. The second documentary followed the unique tradition of child police officers in a rural area of India. In addition, this last winter Emily shot, directed and edited a documentary short,Levon: A Wondrous Life (, about a 60-year-old rollerblading philosopher in Yerevan, Armenia.

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Alex Igidbashian (Cinematographer, Director) is a filmmaker and photographer from Philadelphia, PA. Before moving to Yerevan, Armenia in 2013, Alex studied Film / Video and Screenwriting at Drexel University and launched a career that includes documentaries, fiction films, music videos and experimental works. Alex’s work in Armenia includes pieces for television networks such as Armenia’s H1 and Europe’s ARTE, and documentaries films created by Bars Media. Alex collaborated with Emily on many of these projects, including the recent, Levon: A Wonderous Life.

His most recent film, Haenyeo: Women of the Sea, a documentary about the women free-divers of Juju Island, South Korea, is currently screening at festivals across the world and has received countless accolades such as the Coastal Culture Award from the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival and Best Documentary Short from the LA International Underground Film Festival.

Risks and challengesLearn about accountability on Kickstarter

Documentary filmmaking is always a challenge – the subjects are real places and individuals that change and grow in the same way we all do throughout our lives. Our daily challenge will be trying to capture a snapshot of a place which is always in flux and which always has its own obstacles to present to us.

But, this is also part of what makes this process and the resulting film so special. There are certain parts of the production which are surprising and unpredictable and these always turn out to be the most remarkable parts of the film.

As filmmakers who have been working in the country for a few years now, we welcome all the challenges filming in Armenia can throw our way and know that we have the skills and experience to turn these challenges into beautiful and unique cinema.

To support Alex Igidbashian & Emily Mkrtichian with their project click the support button below.

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