"Tale of the Anguished Gardener" - Short Film A Project of Shorts
A poetic exploration of the millenial exhaustion.
"Tale of the Anguished Gardener" is a story about a young Armenian woman, who, somewhere along her journey, lost the joy of life and searches for it in her roots.
The story follows Maria, a 20-year-old, who lives with her mother in Yerevan, the capitol. She suffers from severe depression that results in a suicide attempt two months prior to the events of the film.
Intuitively grasping for the last refuge she knows, Maria decides to travel to her grandfather's house - a place she remembers to have once made her feel alive and happy. Cognizant of her condition, her grandfather takes her in with open arms.
As with all of my scripts, I was compelled to tell this story by my personal experiences. My Armenian friends and I have long known a singular and strange sensation of exhaustion mixed with distaste for life in general. One might dismiss this as teenage depression, but we were far from our teenage years and yet such feelings persisted.
We jokingly called ourselves the "Generation of Gaghj", an adjective that roughly translates to stagnant, or inert.
We felt a deep sense of disconnection; it was if the hands guiding us through life let go, causing us to wander endlessly since as we sought our ways home. We grew so exhausted in our search that we finally sat down on the roadside curb, awaiting the end. We were incapable of taking in any life that might save us, like somebody intolerant to alcohol who drinks and reflexively vomits.
Eventually, I came to understand why. You know when you're far away from home for an extended period of time and the initial excitement of a new world gives way to disorientation? The reality you once knew begins to feel more like a dream; it becomes incapable of anchoring you in the new life you've chosen, and it increasingly feels as if you've left your home and family in abandon.
In my personal life and in Maria's story, the home we were disconnected from was nature. A wild animal taken from its habitat will never realize its full self, no matter how comfortable its captivity. Humanity is connected to its home soil like any other species; as the harmony of nature we once knew was replaced with urban anxiety, our lives were alienated from their source of joy and fulfillment.
"Tale of the Anguished Gardener" is my attempt to portray the journey of a lost soul who finds her way back home. It tells the story of person and, in doing so, it addresses the struggle of an entire generation.
Meet our crew!
Ovsanna is a New York based Armenian writer and director. After getting her Bachelor's degree in Journalism at Yerevan State University in Armenia, she moved to NY to study film directing at Columbia University School of the Arts.Prior to that, she's worked as a political journalist for three years in Armenia.
Her scripts explore the themes of connection between human and nature, isolation of the man from society and its' outcomes. As a director her goal is to create films that will affect the audience on a level of a musical piece.
Her first feature film project, "My Heart Is Like Those Ruined Houses", was selected at "Armenian-Turkish Cinema Platform" pitching lab. Her latest project "Tale of the Anguished Gardener" (under the working title "Shusha Khrtsik") was selected to be part of the "Creative Europe Film Pitching Forum".
Samuel Rimland is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker currently in his third year of the film directing MFA program at Columbia University's School of the Arts. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Long Island, he took to filmmaking at an early age and worked on a variety of productions for short films, music videos, and commercials throughout high school and college. After receiving his B.A. from New York University, he applied to and enrolled in the film directing MFA program at Columbia University's School of the Arts, where he is now in his third year. He has helped to produce a number of short films before and during his time at Columbia. He produced The Many Lives of Arthur, directed by Noah Dodson, which made the short-list for the 2016 Student Academy Awards.
Ara is a Los Angeles based Armenian actor and producer. He has been described as a chameleon, transforming fluidly into vastly diverse roles, from an Islamist radical to an Armenian transgender, from a Soviet ministry official to a 30-year-old Jewish virgin. His expressive eyes, ethnically ambiguous look, palpable depth and intense presence allow him to physically and emotionally portray characters of complex nature. Ara's acting career began in theatre at the age of ten. In his twenties he started producing and acting in films. In 2016, Ara won the Indie Soul Best Actor Award at the Boston International Film Festival for his performance in 12 Kilometers, a film he also co-produced. He is better known for his role in Welkome Home, a feature film that screened at dozens of festivals worldwide, had a nationwide theatrical release in Russia in 2014, and aired for millions of viewers via NTV Plus in 2015. Currently Ara has several projects in post-production, most notably a coming of age feature film Pinsky. He is trilingual, and has been trained in method acting, pantomime and classical piano.
Mko Malkhasyan is an Armenian-born cinematographer who relocated to the United States in 2012. For the last 15 years, he has worked on features, documentaries, pop videos and commercials in 40 countries in the US, Europe, Africa and Russia. He has masterminded every kind of production from large-scale period feature films with massive battle scenes and special effects to arthouse, 3D and VR cinema. Hailed as the the top cinematographer from Armenia and a true master of light, he won multiple awards including Armenian National Cinema Award (2013) and the Best Cinematography at such festivals as KINOSHOCK (2013), GOLDEN EYE (2012), Newport Beach Festival (2011).
Ani is a Moscow based Armenian production designer and painter. She's received her bachelor's degree in painting and fine arts from Terlemezian Art School. During her years at school and after Ani had multiple exhibitions featuring her work. She then went to pursue another bachelor's degree. This time in theater stage design at Yerevan state institute of film and theater, which she graduated with honors. Currently Ani is pursuing her Master's degree in production design for film at Russian State University of Cinematography. Being a third year student Any has already many projects under her belt - including storyboarding for commercials, production design for short films and so on. Coming from a painting background, Ani has very enhanced sensibility of color and tone of the image, how integration of certain color palettes in the film can translate into moods and create overall feeling of the film.
Meet our cast!
Tamara Sevunts is a Canadian-Armenian actress based in NYC. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she devotes most of her time to the stage. Off-Broadway credits include: The Good Girl (E59E Theatres), Loose Canon (SoHo Playhouse). Regional credits include: Angelo in Measure for Measure, Hysterium in Forum, Witch in Macbeth, Feste in Twelfth Night, Moth in Douglas Carter Beane's Fairycakes, at the Scranton Shakespeare Festival. Film credits include: The Real American (Listapad International Film Festival, Oaxaca Film Festival, NYTVF, Atlanta Film Festival...), Larchmonth.
This is the 3rd project of Tamara Sevunts with Ovsanna Gevorgyan, first two being the short films "From the Diaries of an Invulnerable Woman" and "You Can't Go Home Again".
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From the Heart is a 501(c)3 non-profit supporting our film as a fiscal sponsor. Because of this all of your donations made through From The Heart qualify as charitable contributions under the U.S. Tax Code and are tax deductible. From The Heart Productions will take a 7% service charge and the rest of your donation will go toward our film. From The Heart will provide a receipt for you to use under the itemized deductions in the donations portion of your taxes. You can then use the 100% tax deductible amount to adjust your gross income.
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