AiR Initiatives

Armand Yervant Tufenkian: Submerged Narratives film screenings

Submerged Narratives: A screening programme by Armand Yervant Tufenkian
Fogo Island Cinema

Please join us for a series of film screenings selected by artist in residence, Armand Yervant Tufenkian. The programme consists of films that have significantly informed Armand’s artistic practice, while also presenting differing perspectives on human connections to landscape and the forces of nature, often exploring parallels to Fogo Island. Each of these films in their own way explores the margins of cinema and, in so doing, the possibilities of narrative and its relationship to image and sound.

Wednesday, 24 May
shipfilm (Stephanie Barber, 1998) + From Hetty to Nancy (Deborah Stratman, 1997)

Barber’s shipfilm references imperialism in her account of a failed voyage using text and relatively static animations of a paper ship; its modest means suggests that imagined ‘voyages’ made with readily-available materials are preferable to grand conquests. (3 minutes)

Images of the austere Icelandic landscape form the backdrop for readings from a series of letters written at the turn of the 20th century. Majestic waterfalls, open plains, a ship loaded with protesting sheep, a boat in icy waters, snow capped peaks, and icy roadways are punctuated with Hetty’s ironic stories of quotidian events with her female companions. Her accounts are juxtaposed against historic texts about the Icelandic people overcoming the cataclysmic forces of nature. (44 minutes)

Thursday, 1 June
Accession (Tamer Hany Hassan, Armand Yervant Tufenkian, 2018)

Shooting for more than five years in 13 locations around the U.S., Tamer Hassan and Armand Yervant Tufenkian trace a collection of letters to the homes where each was sent or received in this uniquely process-based documentary. The letters, written to accompany seed packets sent between friends and families and dated as far back as 1806, are read aloud by individual narrators, unfolding as personal-poetic reflections on life and labor in rural America. Via a variety of 16mm film stocks, Accession maps a visual and aural correspondence between anonymous people and places with an exploratory flair. (48 minutes)

Thursday, 8 June
Dreams Of Ice (Ignacio Agüero, 1994)

Fact and fantasy converge to form the poetic tale of Dreams of Ice, a seafaring saga about the transport of an iceberg from Antarctica to Seville for the World Fair of 1992. In this voyage, mysterious things will happen, confronted by the hidden forces of icebergs — a love song to the fragility of Nature and the human being. (55 minutes)

Thursday, 15 June

The Island of Saint Matthews (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2013)

Years ago, Kevin Jerome Everson asked his aunt where their old family photos had gone. Her answer – ‘they were all lost in the flood’ – sparked this trip to meet the inhabitants of Westport, a small town just to the west of Columbus, Mississippi. They reminisce about the great flood of the Tombigbee River in 1973, when some people lost everything. Many heirlooms and photos of the Eversons were swallowed up, and part of the family history disappeared. (70 minutes)


Armand Yervant Tufenkian is an Armenian-American filmmaker, born in 1988 to parents from Aleppo, Syria.

His films include Accession (2018), which maps an informal network of letter correspondence about the exchange of seeds. It has screened at festivals such as the Viennale, Art of the Real at Lincoln Center, Mar del Plata, Underdox, and as part of the ‘Reimagining the Land’ retrospective at Sheffield Doc/Fest and the ‘Conscious Landscapes’ exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, among others.

Previous films include in lightning Agnes (2014), made at an elevation of ten thousand feet in the Zirkel Wilderness of Colorado and featured in the Millennium Film Journal and Kathryn Ramey’s book Experimental Filmmaking.

Tufenkian’s work has been supported recently by residencies at Fogo Island Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and Monson Arts, and previously through grants from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Puffin Foundation, the City of Chicago’s Individual Artist Program, and the Creative Armenia Foundation.

He did undergraduate studies at Colby College, doctoral studies at Duke University, and studied film and fine arts at the California Institute of the Arts.

He works as a fire lookout in the Sequoia forest of the Sierra Nevada and teaches in the Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego.

In the Manner of Smoke, a long-form observation of disparate perspectives on forest fires, will be his next film.

AiR Initiatives
Home Page