Snippets: “Double Vision”

Power couple Atom Egoyan and Arsinée Khanjian share a glimpse of their love story, film career, artistic mission, and more 

June 9, 2021  |  by Creative Armenia

Atom Egoyan and Arsinée Khanjian met at an Armenian community theatre in Canada in what can be described as nothing else but a fateful gathering. From that moment on, they would go on creating and thriving together, eventually turning into one of the most prolific Armenian artistic duos. During Creative Armenia Week’s “Double Vision” panel, they revisited some of their career-defining moments, shared the struggles on the path to success, and sprinkled their conversation with practical advice for up and coming stars. Read through our highlights and enjoy their conversation! 

Arsinée Khanjian 

“The world offers so much to learn from that you can never get to that point that you can say:  ‘Enough now.’ It has to be an ongoing journey for both of us. If we haven’t agreed on a lot of things, we have agreed that we should go on learning, and watching, and observing, absorbing.”

“When we met, there was a circle. Inside that circle was our Armenian heritage, our Armenian culture, wherever we came from, our Armenian identity, stories, history. Just outside of that thin line was the rest of the world. We were both standing on that line of the circle, that thin line. When we met I was standing with my back towards the outside world and looking inside. Atom was standing next to me, not too far in any case, looking to the outside world and not as much looking inside. But we were both on the same line. What happened after we met, we started changing our position back and forth. Eventually, we found ourselves just on that line, sometimes looking at each other, looking inside together, looking outside together.”

“When we moved to Canada that sense of otherness was amplified. It doubled in its volume. And I had to make something out of it. But because I was prepared to confront that from my childhood, to bring my identity forward, to bring my struggle forth, I was prepared. Maybe not artistically necessarily but I thought it was something that needed to be done socially and politically. So I came in with that energy and it didn’t confuse me or didn’t make me feel self-conscious. I felt like I was ‘another’ but was solid in my convictions.”
 

Atom Egoyan

“My parents’ project was for me to assimilate. But as a result of that, I’m very aware of the construct of identity. It is not natural, it’s something that you affect. That is an odd artistic position. I’m not coming from the place where I’m integrated completely. My take on my Armenian identity is very different from Arsinée’s.”

 

“You have to have a yearning for the kind of things you want to make. You have to yearn for what it is you want. You need to have a clear idea of the type of art you want. In my case, the types of things I wanted to make and where I wanted it to be seen. What am I aiming for? When do I know I have made it? Is it being seen in the right place? That is very important, to have that image projection.”

 

“We need to be strong artists because we are going to deal with a ton of rejection, we’re going to deal with a lot of loneliness, we’re going to deal with a lot of failures. But to continue to understand that we need to generate this excitement within ourselves about what we are doing and why we are doing it. Craving this sense of ‘somebody will understand and embrace it but it may not be in its time.’”

Garin Hovannisian

Moderator

“We have recently supported about a dozen film projects that are the result of Armenian women or men picking up cameras and heading to Artsakh during the war. And that is what needs to be done every step of the way. Recognizing the opportunity and jumping in to be a part of the history, to tell the history. When we see the artists taking that step we do everything to try to meet them there. Without that step, we’re invisible to each other.”

 

“You should not be led by perceived obligations toward nationality or toward your country. You should be led to the place where your heart or your mind or your artistic instincts are taking you, and if that happens to be a battlefield, then great. If it happens to be an intimate conversation between a man and woman in a cafe, go there.”

 

“That is the first step — you put yourself on a line. You start doing what you are supposed to be doing, you insist on your narrative, you insist on the pattern of creation for yourself. And if you insist, people will follow. Because there is nothing more attractive in the world than someone who has passion, someone who believes in what they do. That is the most powerful, the most transfixing thing in the world, which is when we encounter people, whether they are political heroes or artists, who have found a track in their life that they are pursuing.”

Content list