HBO to Air Jivan Avetisyan’s ‘The Last Inhabitant’’ in Eastern Europe

IMG. Director Jivan Avetisyan at the premiere of “The Last Inhabitant” at the Venice International Film Festival in September

STEPANAKERT—HBO, the renowned premium cable channel and home to the blockbuster “Game of Thrones,” will air filmmaker Jivan Avetisyan’s award-winning “The Last Inhabitant” in Eastern Europe, the director told Artsakhpress in an interview.

With this, Artsakh’s Khachmach village located in the Askern region, where the film’s action is centered, will surely gain notoriety in Eastern Europe due to the exposure from the airing of the “The Last Inhabitant “ on HBO.

Avetisyan told Artsakhpress that HBO, which is owned by Time Warner, has acquired the licensing and distribution rights to the film in Eastern Europe from ”Galloping Films,” and will screen it on its own Eastern European outlets, that include Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Macedonia and other countries.

No official date has been announced, but Avetisyan said that as soon as the formalities of the contract are finalized a premiere date on HBO will be announced.

“We are constantly working toward [scheduling] new screenings of the film, and, I am sure, the number of countries and film festivals will increase. At the moment we are planning to screen the film in a number of other American cities and European countries,” Avetisyan told Artsakhpress.

In late October, “The Last Inhabitant” won the Best Feature award at the Scandinavian International Film Festival, with the film’s actor Aleksandr Khachatryan winning the best actor award there. In September, the film screened at the Venice International Film Festival.  It had its Armenia premiere during the 13th annual Golden Apricot Film Festival in Yerevan in 2016.

The film centers on Abgar, who stays behind in his village in Artsakh, as the Karabakh war forces most of the village residents to flee. He is left alone in a gradually tense situation as the enemy closes in on the village, waiting for his daughter, who is in a mental hospital after witnessing his husband’s murder by an angry mob. An Azerbaijani named Ibrahim, in exchange for finding and bringing Abgar’s daughter, suggests that Abgar work on the construction of a mosque. A few days later, Ibrahim finds the daughter, Yurga, in a psychiatric hospitals in Baku and brings her to Abgar. That is when the drama crescendos into a climatic ending.

“As a filmmaker, raised in Nagorno-Karabakh, I have listened to stories of hardships endured by my family and villagers and their struggles in dealing with such a devastating inter-ethnic conflict,” Avetisyan said in the film’s official director’s statement.

“In this story, the stonemason Abgar, a Christian, has not been exiled yet and is the only Armenian living in the highly populated Armenian village of Gyurjevan. Abgar loses his daughter Yurga in Sumgait as the result of the mass deportation of the Christian Armenian population. The determined Armenian stays behind in search of his daughter. In exchange for her return, Abgar’s long-time friend Ibrahim has given him the task of constructing a Mosque. This illustrates strongly the message that we need each other regardless of race, culture, and religion in order to survive and preserve our racial identity. The film is about people who have found themselves in a hell after they have lost their paradise, people who are saved by love, virtue and self-sacrifice,” added Avetisyan.

During the last several months, the film has been screened in Lebanon, the US, Russia, Iran, Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.