The two LGBT-themed features – Listen To Me: Untold Stories Beyond Hatred and Apricot Groves – were removed from the program of the Golden Apricot International Film Festival at the insistence of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, father Vahram Melikyan, spokesperson of the church, said in response to an inquiry from Epress.am.
“Upon finding that the above-mentioned films were scheduled to be screened during the film festival, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin indeed urged the organizers to reconsider their decision, taking into account the discontent that had arisen among the society in this regard,” Melikyan wrote in his E-mail to us.
The spokesperson also expressed the opinion that “the society did not need to see these films anyway.”
“Our society does not need such propaganda. Our people are bearers of the Christian belief and value system, and it’s natural that they, same as the Church, would be against such a godless phenomenon and it’s advertisement. Regrettably, the institutions that have recently been showing their ‘open-mindedness’ on the matter are actually disseminating hatred and intolerance against people suffering from this disease, which is incomprehensible to us,” Melikyan concluded.
Recall, two LGBT-themed features, Listen To Me: Untold Stories Beyond Hatred and Apricot Groves, were scheduled to be screened out of competition during the week-long film festival under the rubric Armenians: Internal And External Views. Festival organizers, however, subsequently removed the entire out-of-competition section from the festival program, sparking outrage among local rights activists and organizations, who took the decision as a “plain censorship.”