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Shrinking Distances

Our interview with Arnaud Khayadjanian, the winner of the $2,000 Self-Quarantine Challenge

July 23, 2020  |  by Creative Armenia

$2,000 self-quarantine creative challeng

You don’t need the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster to create a touching and heartwarming film. All you need is an idea, a computer, and a bit of imagination. The short film Around the World with Granma, created by Arnaud Khayadjanian – an Armenian screenwriter, director, and producer from France – is the best proof. Learn more about the filmmaker and his aspirations from our exclusive interview. 


CA: Give us more insight into your film. How did you conceive the idea?


AK: I asked myself, “What is the most difficult thing to do right now?” The first thing that came to mind was traveling. The second – seeing my grandmother. Then I made a list of tools I had at my disposal – a computer and my imagination. That's all. 


CA: What were the challenges and the benefits of creating the work from your quarantine? 


AK: I found creating a film without technical and financial resources enjoyable. The biggest challenge was writing a story that would emotionally touch the spectator without using special effects or fancy equipment but by just doing modest and honest work.


CA: The film seemed to be a poignant reflection of a personal story. Did it have autobiographical elements? 


AK: Like with all the films about my Armenian origin, I mixed my personal story with fiction. The biggest regret of my life is not traveling to Armenia with Sarkis, my Armenian grandfather. I used that feeling of sadness as an inspiration. Then I tried to make my film universal so that any person could understand it. 


CA: Did your quarantine and the Self-Quarantine Challenge influence your methods, techniques, and tools of creation?


AK: In general, I work on a film for at least 2 years. I need time to write, think, try things out, doubt, etc. The funding phase also takes a lot of time. It is a tiring and often frustrating process. The Self-Quarantine Challenge made me discover a new method and a new facet of myself. Thanks to the restrictive conditions, I was able to unleash my creativity in a very short time.


CA: What are your creative resolutions for the post-COVID world? 


AK: My first creative resolution for the post-COVID world is to allow myself to create small projects without any pretension or resources. 


Sometimes we get obsessed with the success of a project. We become too ambitious and perfectionist. After the COVID-19, we must refocus on our intimate desire of creating and finding pleasure in experimenting. 

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