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.