TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding

Maria Saakyan

Maria Saakyan


Film Director


FrameWork Participant 2009


Maria was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1980. Her family moved to Russia in 1992. She graduated in 2002 with a degree in film directing from VGIK (All State Russian Film Institute), studying under Vladimir Kobrin. Her first feature “The Lighthouse” 2007 was supported by Hbert Bals Fund IFFR and later has been selected by more than 40 festivals, theatrically released in Russia and distributed internationally by Second Run DVD, UK. From 2003 to 2006 Maria worked as a creative producer in “Andreevsky Flag” Film Company. At 2009 Maria and Victoria Lupik open a Yerevan (Armenia) based “ANNIKO Films” and start developing Maria’s second feature “I’m Going To Change My Name”, which was formed as independent international co-production. Project received support by international institutions including World Cinema Fund, Torino Film Lab, Danish Film Institute, Goteborg Film Fund, and awarded Best Pitch from B2B, Belgrade and DAB at Golden Apricot International Film Festival, Yerevan. “I’m Going To Change My Name” is an Armenia, Russia, Germany and Denmark co-production. In 2010 Maria was selected for Berlinale Talent Campus. Her third feature, “ENTHROPY”I 2013 was released in Russian cinemas and been proclaimed as the “most scandal film of the year” and “I’m Going To Change My Name” received “The Best feature film 2013” Armenian National Cinema Award and number of other awards at the international film festivals.
In 2014 Maria made a few workshops of filmmaking at TUMO, Armenia. Also at 1 September 2014 was premiered an opera “ Ring of Fire” by Avet Terteryan which Maria staged and directed. In 2014 - 2015 Maria produced a comedy by Arsen Aghadzanyan “ Honey-Money” which had it’s Russian premier in Viborg in August 2015. Since 2009 Maria lives and works in Yerevan.
INSIDE OUT – comedy, in development
MY OTHER LIFE - fantasy feature, in post-production, 90min, DCP
SPIRAL – documentary, 90 min, in postproduction, co-director with Jeff Kalousdian
2014 RING OF FIRE – opera by Avet Terteryan
2013 ALAVERDY a.k.a. I’M GOING TO CHANGE MY NAME, 96min,35mm
2013 ENTROPHY, DCP, 75min;
2009 TERRANOVA, (second unit director); 2007 THE LIGHTHOUSE, 78 min, 35mm 2003 THE FAREWELL, 27 min, 35 mm, short; 2000 THE GAME, 12 min, 35 mm, short
Festivals (official program /competition)
International Film Festival Rotterdam, International Film Festival Telluride, USA; «Premiers Planes» Angers, France, Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany, International FreshFilm Festival, Intl. Karlovy Vary Film Festival, International Fano Film Festival, Italy , Pesaro IFF, Moscow IFF, Fajr IFF, Iran, Sofia International Film Festival, Bulgaria, Bucharest IFF, ArtFilm Slovakia IFF, Trieste Intl.
Film Festival, Italy, London TIFF, Sao Paulo IFF, Taipei IFF, Breadford IFF,UK, Ourense IFF, Goteborg IFF, Belgrade IFF, Torino IFF, ect...
Prizes and Mentions
THE FAREWELL - “Best short film Golden apricot” awards, Yerevan, Armenia, Special mention International Fano Film Festival, Italy, Trieste IFF, Best camera special prize from Kodak , VGIK. THE LIGHTHOUSE - Special mention Moscow’s Premiera Film Festival, Award “Best Debut” at ̈Golden Apricot ̈, Grand-Prix Split International Film Festival, First Prize Moscow Human Rights Festival.
ENTHROPY – prize of the name of Savva Kulish at Viborg FF, Russia I’M GOING TO CHANGE MY NAME Official selection: Locarno IFF, Karlovy Vary IFF, Moscow IFF, Goteborg IFF, Belgrade IFF, Torino IFF, London BFI, Golden Apricot IFF, Minsk IFF , Kinoshok FF, Moscow Premiera FF e.c.t.
Hayak 2013- “Best film of the year” National Cinema Academy Award, Best Camera Work, Best Feature of Armenian Competition on Golden Apricot IFF 2013, Best Directing and Best Camera Work at Kinoshok, Best Actress at « À L’EST, DU NOUVEAU »à Rouen et Mont-Saint-Aignan, France, honorable mention of the Jury at Lima, Peru, Best feature at Bridge Film festival, Mitrovice, Kosovo.

company profile

Maria Saakyan and Victoria Lupik established ANNIKO FILMS in 2009 with the mission of producing innovative feature, documentary and animation films that appeal to both domestic and international audiences. In 2012, ANNIKO FILMS and Jeff Kalousdian’s 20 YEARS LATER joined forces creating 15 years combined film production experience. ANNIKO FILMS also provides production services drawing on its teams vast regional human and technical resources to support filmmakers throughout the region.
Current Projects
INSIDE OUT – comedy, in development
MY OTHER LIFE – fantasy feature, postproduction;
SPIRAL - documentary, 86 min, directed by Jeff Kalousdian and Maria Saakyan, in postproduction
2015 HONEY MONEY – feature, 90 min, DCP
2013 I’M GOING TO CHANGE MY NAME - 106min, 35mm;DCP