Best Short Film prize at Cannes Film Festival goes to Serge Avedikian

Serge Avedikian in Istanbul

Compiled by Azad-Hye

The Best Short Film prize at the 63rd edition of Cannes Film Festival was awarded to French Armenian Serge Avedikian. The animated film is titled “Chienne d'Histoire” (English title: Barking Island) and has strong symbolism related to the Armenian Genocide.

Avedikian, a son of Genocide survivors himself, was born in Yerevan in 1955. His parents were living in France when they were repatriated in 1947 during the mass repatriation of Armenians to Soviet Armenia after World World II. He attended a French oriented school in Yerevan until the age of 15, when his family applied to reinstate French citizenship and returned back to France. After studies in Meudon Conservatory (a Paris suburb) he moved to Paris in 1971 and worked in Paris Conservatory (Conservatoire de Paris). In 1976 he created a theatre company and produced several plays. In 1988 he founded a production company but continued to work as theatre, move and television actor and director. He appeared in known movies such as Mayrig (1991) and Aram (2002).

The symbolism in his new animated film is very poweful “Chienne d'Histoire”.

The official synopsis about the film says: “Constantinople 1910. The streets are overrun with stray dogs. The newly established government, influenced by a model of western society, uses European experts to choose a method of eradication before deciding, suddenly and alone, to massively deport the dogs to a deserted island away from the city”.

Palme d?Or (Golden Palm), the biggest award in the Cannes Film Festival 2010 went to “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” by Apichatpong Weerasethakul from Thailand.


In an earlier interview with Denis Donikian website (16 December 2009, URL) Serge Avedikian referred to “Chienne d'Histoire” (literaly translated as “Dog History”) as his third animated film.

The film is produced by Jove Production (Ron Dyens), co-produced by Arte France (Veyssi?res Helena) and Anadolu Kultur (Osman Kavala). He explains that the film draws on historical facts and adjusts them to the requirements of animation. “I have relied on historical facts which are deeply misunderstood in Turkey, as the successive authorities have striven to erase them from popular memory” he says.

The animated film shows how the Turkish authorities first brought European experts to handle the stray dogs, but before implementing any European measures they decided to depart tens of thousands dogs to a deserted island, off the city. This shows that the authorities, though had the desire to adopt European standards of the time, but they had also a great urge to act according to their own models.?

The film was made in four months. The hard work was done by a small team, consisting of a painter (picture animator) and a music composer and their assistants.?