“Zareh Tjeknavorian is something else and I don’t know what, but he’s actually from the same planet as me and it’s a moving thing. He’s a f***ing poet and a de-coder of stuff.” - JULIAN COPE
In the words of the visionary musician and writer, Julian Cope:
“Zareh Tjeknavorian is something else and I don’t know what, but he’s actually from the same planet as me and it’s a moving thing. He’s a...poet, a Metalhead AND a Krautrocker, and a de-coder of stuff.”
Zareh was born in Fargo, North Dakota into a family of musicians and grew up in Tehran, London, Frankfurt, Paris and New York. At age 4 he abandoned his dream of being an astronaut on watching the horror classic "The Brides of Dracula" in Iran. After graduating from NYU film school he began his directing career amidst the ruins of the USSR, drawn to stories set in the aftermath of genocide and dictatorship. Over the years he’s pursued his obsessions with esotericism, ancient life-ways and forgotten histories through short and long-form films. His acclaimed "Enemy of the People", about life during the Stalin purges, was broadcast on PBS and recommended by National Geographic as one of the three most important movies about Armenia, along with Sergei Parajanov’s "The Color of Pomegranates" and Atom Egoyan’s "Ararat."
Zareh’s work screens regularly at festivals and has won numerous awards, including the Grand Prix at the 2019 Kinoskop Analog Experimental Film Festival in Belgrade, the Theremin Award for Best Sound Design at the 2019 Hermetic International Film Festival in Venice (where he won Best Foreign Documentary in 2018), Best Experimental Film at the 2021 Caligari Festival Internacional de Cine de Terror in Valencia, Best Visionary Short at the 2021 Psychedelic Film & Music Festival in NYC, and the Mercure Award for Best Picture at the Hermetic International Film Festival in 2021.
His curiosities and obsessions as a director go beyond the frame: "The Enigma of Space", a panoramic study of the mysterious ‘dragon-stones’ of the South Caucasus, was recently published by the Institute of Archaeology & Ethnography in Yerevan, Armenia.
Zareh currently lives in Denmark, where he teaches Directing at the European Film College.
  • Producer (5 Credits)
    Enemy of the People
    Documentary
    Crowned & Conquering2019
    Experimental
    Embers of the Sun2019
    Documentary, Experimental, Other
    Vorkuta Tales2017
    Documentary
    Elegy in Light2016
    Documentary, Experimental, Other
  • Director (5 Credits)
    Enemy of the People
    Documentary
    Crowned & Conquering2019
    Experimental
    Embers of the Sun2019
    Documentary, Experimental, Other
    Vorkuta Tales2017
    Documentary
    Elegy in Light2016
    Documentary, Experimental, Other
  • Writer (2 Credits)
    Enemy of the People
    Documentary
    Crowned & Conquering2019
    Experimental
  • Painting & Collage on Film (1 Credit)
    Crowned & Conquering2019
    Experimental
  • Editor (1 Credit)
    Crowned & Conquering2019
    Experimental
  • Cinematography (1 Credit)
    Crowned & Conquering2019
    Experimental
  • Camera (1 Credit)
    Elegy in Light2016
    Documentary, Experimental, Other
Official Selection
Crowned & Conquering
Kinam International Film Festival
Mexico City
2021
Official Selection
Crowned & Conquering
“Suspaustas laikas” (Compressed Time) International Experimental Film & Arts Festival
Vilnius
2021
Official Selection
Crowned & Conquering
TAKT Film Fest
Novi Sad
2021
Official Selection
Crowned & Conquering
VASTLAB Experimental 2021
Los Angeles
2021
WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL SHORT / MEJOR CORTOMETRAJE EXPERIMENTAL
Crowned & Conquering
Festival Internacional de Cine de Terror CALIGARI
Valencia
2021
Official Selection
Embers of the Sun
MakeDox Creative Documentary Film Festival
Skopje
2021
Official Selection
Embers of the Sun
Nature & Culture - Poetry Film Festival
Copenhagen
2021
Official Selection
Embers of the Sun
4:3 International Short Film Festival
Ivano-Frankivsk
2021
Official Selection
Embers of the Sun
Parallel Stories Film Festival
Salandra
2021
Official Selection
Embers of the Sun
CINETEKTON! International Film & Architecture Festival
Puebla
2021
Honorable Mention
Embers of the Sun
London Rocks Film Festival
London
2021
WINNER: ARCHEOFILM AWARD
Embers of the Sun
Pompei Street Cinema Festival
Pompei
2021
WINNER: BEST VISIONARY SHORT
Embers of the Sun
Psychedelic Film & Music Festival
New York City
2021
WINNER: BEST PICTURE
Embers of the Sun
Hermetic International Film Festival
Venice
2021
Official Selection
Crowned & Conquering
Experimental Superstars
Novi Sad
2020
Official Selection
Crowned & Conquering
Buskopolis Festival of Cinematic Oddities
Huntingdon
2020
Official Selection
Crowned & Conquering
Fisura, Experimental Cinema & Video International Film Festival
Mexico City
2020
Official Selection
Crowned & Conquering
XVI Festival Transterritorial de Cine Underground
Quilmes
2020
WINNER: "ITSO Analysis & Understanding" Award & Cash Prize
Crowned & Conquering
Magikal Charm Experimental Video & Film Fest
New York City
2020
NOMINATED: Vitriol Award for Best Experimental Film
Crowned & Conquering
First Hermetic International Film Festival
Venice
2019
FINALIST
Crowned & Conquering
The Psychedelic Film & Music Festival
New York
2019
WINNER: THEREMIN AWARD for BEST SOUND DESIGN
Crowned & Conquering
First Hermetic International Film Festival
Venice
2019
WINNER: GRAND PRIX
Crowned & Conquering
Kinoskop - Analog Experimental Film Festival
Belgrade
2019
Official Selection
Embers of the Sun
XXX International Archaeological Film Festival
Rovereto
2019
Official Selection
Elegy in Light
Cine de los Muertos
Fort Lauderdale
2019
Finalist
Elegy in Light
Intima Lente / Intimate Lens Festival of Visual Ethnography
Caserta
2019
Winner - Best Documentary (Foreign)
Elegy in Light
First Hermetic International Film Festival
Venice
2018
Official Selection
Elegy in Light
Apricot Tree International Documentary Film Festival
Yerevan -Gyumri
2016
Official Selection
Enemy of the People
The Ninth Vermont International Film Festival
Burlington, VT
1998
College
New York University Tisch School of the Arts
Film & Television
High School
Professional Children's School, New York, NY
High School
The Purcell School for Young Musicians, Harrow-on-the-Hill, England
Birth City
Fargo
"The stars are matter. We're matter. It doesn't matter." Don Van Vliet (aka Capt. Beefheart)
“Zareh Tjeknavorian is something else and I don’t know what, but he’s actually from the same planet as me and it’s a moving thing. He’s a f***ing poet and a de-coder of stuff.” - JULIAN COPE