Arnold Ghazaryan – Filmmaker and 40 Day War veteran

(This is part two of the Inspiring Armenian Young Adults series, which highlights the achievements of 4 of Armenia’s brightest and bravest young adults. Their brief profiles showcase the talents of the next generation of Armenians and highlight the impressive accomplishments they’ve made so far. .)

STEPANAKERT — Some people never find their calling in life; for others, it never escapes them. Filmmaker Arnold Ghazaryan falls into the latter. Arnold is 20 years old, born and raised in Khachmash, Artsakh. At the age of 14, Ghazaryan said after seeing a film shot in his village: “My love for cinema was born right away. I always believed in it and I stayed motivated to achieve my goal. For Arnold to say he stayed motivated is really an understatement.

For most of his life, Ghazaryan did not have access to the internet or a camera in Khachmash, despite his passion and love for movies. One evening, at the age of 14, he made the decision that nothing would stop him from achieving the dream and started working in construction to buy his first camera. He even admits to having asked his parents to give him the money he would have spent for lunch to go to his camera case.

Another major stepping stone for Arnold beyond having a camera was the ability to attend classes at TUMO Stepanakert, a free education center for teens aged 12 to 18 teaching technology and design. From day one at TUMO, he described himself as ecstatic about taking cinematography classes and directing his first short films.

After his lessons at TUMO, Arnold at the age of 18 was drafted into the army and served as a tank crewman. Ghazaryan’s service in the army coincided with the 40 Day War in Artsakh and had a huge impact on his life both physically and mentally. During the war, Arnold suffered a leg injury and was taken to hospital in Yerevan. During his recovery, he had the opportunity to film the music video for the song “Protect The Land” by System of a Down (SOAD), in collaboration with director Armen Sujyan whom he had met at TUMO. Ghazaryan ended up filming a sample video of his ideas and at 4am the next day woke up to learn that SOAD would like them to film the video. He notes that there were discussions about whether to film it with actors, but ultimately he pushed to use authentic footage of real people from Artsakh to capture reality. And that was just the first of his 40-Day War-related pieces.

Earlier in 2021, Arnold used his own equipment to film ‘The Arnold Story’, which tells of his passion for cinema, his emotions after the war and his dreams of sharing Artsakh with the world through films. The film was narrated in the Artsakh Armenian dialect (with English subtitles) and is part of a larger series called “The Future is Calling”.