In December 2011 Tamara Stepanyan is visiting Dubai, where her new fiction movie (”February 19″) will premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival (7-14 December 2011).
The idea of displacement and the fate of displaced persons is the focus of her documentary movie “Little Stones” (2010). How do the displaced people relate to the past and how do they see the past reflected in their present? How do they perceive their new identities? Does their background help or prevent them from living a new life?
The movie touches identity issues such as the sense of belonging or feeling comfortable in a new society, through several real life personalities from South Africa, Iran, India, Lebanon, Korea and Armenia who live now in Denmark.
The Korean (Sun Hee Engelstoft) is a young girl who originally was brought to Denmark as an adopted child. She says there are blank spaces in her life which forces her to go deeper and to explore about her origin. She goes to Korea and finds there a country where people have physical similarities with her. Everything is strange for her there, but she feels that she can be accustomed to that easily. She feels the presence of a whole country inside her body.
The Armenian (Tamara Stepanyan herself) remembers when she was a little child playing with snow. “It was so nice at the time”, she recalls. She liked the pure white snow back in the homeland. The sound of the metro, the noise of the city, the smell of the snow, all continue to remind her of Armenia. Sometimes nostalgia takes hold on her.
“Little Stones” shows how smell is an important part of memory. People remember old smells. They feel comfortable with a smell they knew and could be associated with.
The Iranian (Mina Musavi) talks about reunion. She remembers her feelings when she visited her relatives in Isfahan, Iran, after a long absence.
The South African (Doris Bloom) admits that she misses the country life back in South Africa. The feeling of being completely free and close to nature is what takes her back there in her mind.
The Indian (Preethi Nallu) feels that nostalgia is preventing her from exploring the new happenings in her life and proceeding into the future. “It is tricky but it can engulf you” she says referring to the past.
The movie (27 minutes) is directed, photographed and edited by Tamara Stepanyan. The actors are real life personalities (Doris Bloom, Sun Hee Engelstoft, Preethi Nallu, Mina Musavi and Tamara Stepanyan). The movie is supported by IMS International Media Support and Screen Institute Beirut and is copyrighted to the National Film School of Denmark (2010).
About Tamara Stepanyan (From Internet Movie Database)
Tamara Stepanyan was born in Armenia. During the breakdown of the Soviet Union, she moved to Lebanon with her parents in 1994, at a time when the country was coming out of the Civil War, and has been working and residing in Lebanon since.
She graduated in Communication Arts with an emphasis on Radio/TV/Film from the Lebanese American University (LAU) in 2005.
Stepanyan made a number of films while in university including The Needle (2004) and The Last Station (2005), and participated in film workshops in Armenia, South Korea and Denmark.
Her works include “My Beirut”, a video/photo/audio installation that was part of Badguer I in 2009, and recently “Little Stones”, a documentary shot in Denmark in 2010 that was shown in Nee a Beyrouth, in The Cinema Days of Beirut and in CPH DOX in Denmark.
Her recent film is fiction experimental film called “February 19”, 2011.
Movies and projects directed by Tamara Stepanyan:
– “The Needle”, 2004 (Shot in Lebanon).
– “The Last Station”, 2005 (Starring Jannet Hovhannisyan; Shot in Armenia. Supported by the Lebanese American University).
– “My Beirut”, 2009 (Video/photo/audio installation as part of Badguer I).
– “Little Stones”, 2010 (Starring several real life personalities; Documentary shot in Denmark).
– “February 19”, 2011 (Starring Ofelia Zakaryan and Vakhtang Harutyunyan).