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Institute of Documentary Film’s Activities

Founded in 2001, INSTITUTE OF DOCUMENTARY FILM (IDF) is a non-profit training and networking centre based in Prague, Czech Republic, focused on the support of Central and East European creative documentary film and its wider promotion.

We work closely with Central and East European film directors and producers and provide in-depth development support for their projects as well as international promotion.

We also work with key international festivals, broadcasters, distributors, sales agents, markets, film institutions, film schools, MEDIA Desks, training programmes, national film centres and various film portals, and serve as the GATEWAY TO EAST EUROPEAN DOCUMENTARY FILM – an indispensable source of documentary projects and films from Central and Eastern Europe.


This year's Tribeca Film Festival Best New Documentary Filmmaker award goes to Vardan Hovhannisyan. His documentary A Story of People in War & Peace depicting the Karabakh war and its impact on the particular human lives was finished in 2006 and since then, it won number of awards. Vardan Hovhannisyan, recently an Ex Oriente Film workshop participant, is now working on a new film The Last Two Tightrope Dancers in Armenia: A Funeral for Dying Gods.


DIRECTOR: Vardan Hovhannisyan
PRODUCERS: Peter Symes, Vardan Hovhannisyan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Vahagn Ter-Hakopian
SOUND: Tigran Baghinyan
EDITOR: Tigran Baghinyan
Armenia 2006 | Run time: 69 min.

Many historians cite the Nagorno-Karabagh War (1989-1994) between Armenia and Azerbaijan as the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union. For journalist and former prisoner of war Vardan Hovhannisyan, who lived alongside Armenian soldiers for four years, the war is something he struggles to explain to his son and reconcile with his own sense of decency. Armed with video footage he shot on the front lines 12 years earlier, Hovhannisyan sets out to find his "brothers" from the war, only to discover that many of them have become "casualties of peace." Felo, a loving and conscientious father, divorced following the war and became estranged from his family. Jude, a young soldier who distinguished himself so bravely in battle, is now in prison for marijuana possession. Kadjik hears voices in his head and is confined to a mental institution. A personal meditation on the horrors of war and its effects is shown through the eyes of Armenian journalist Vardan Hovhannisyan. Weaving together footage from his country's 1994 conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Hovhannisyan creates a devastating portrait of lasting damage inflicted by the battlefield.


A Story of People in War and Peace by Vardan Hovhannisyan (DCM 2003) has won numerous awards and has been shown at film festivals all over the world including IDFA (Amsterdam), Barcelona Film Festival, One World Film Festival (Prague), Doc Aviv (Tel Aviv) and Zagreb Film Festival.




VARDAN HOVHANNISYAN is the founder and president of Bars Media, with over 10 years of experience as a director, producer and cameraman for CBS news, ARD in Europe and numerous other media outlets. Vardanwas afront-line journalist and cameraman during the Karabakh war and was taken hostage twice during the conflict. He is a member of theInternational Documentary Association and the International Federation
of Environmental Journalists.

For more information, visit




Vardan Hovhannisyan is recently working on his new documentary called THE LAST TWO TIGHTROPE DANCERS IN ARMENIA: A FUNERAL FOR DYING GODS that he develops within the EX ORIENTE FILM Workshop.
Two old men, 78, 75, are shouting at each other under the tightrope, arguing whose student is the best; 'I started to walk when I wasthirteen, 30 musicians died whilst I was dancing!' 'But I won the competition in the fifties; the cultural minister said if there was a science of tightrope I would be a Professor.' These are the last two Tightrope masters in Armenia, who were once treated like gods. With asmile we will show the 'funeral' of their art: even though their troupes walk now, they are sure that their students will not continue.