AUA Students Explore the World of Film

YEREVAN, Armenia — Launched in 2013, the undergraduate programs of the American University of Armenia (AUA) are geared toward providing quality education to hundreds of students. Currently offering eight programs, the undergraduate degrees within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Akian College of Science and Engineering, and the Manoogian Simone College of Business & Economics prepare AUA students for successful careers in Armenia.

Among the core subjects of their chosen field, the students have the opportunity to select General Education courses in a wide range of fields, one of which is Introduction to Filmmaking. This course instills in students the ability to express themselves through the medium of film, teaching the fundamental principles and techniques of filmmaking that students can apply to create short films.

Elina Yerkanyan (BAEC ’24)

Elina Yerkanyan decided to pursue higher education at AUA with a major in English and communications to explore her interests in various spheres of the degree program and find her true calling.

The broad selection of General Education courses sparked her curiosity, as she chose to explore subjects in the arts, graphic novels, and filmmaking.

“I consider myself a creative person. I am a photographer and illustrator. Before taking the Introduction to Filmmaking course, I never had a chance to create short films. The course made me realize how much I love filmmaking, as it combines different creative realms, such as photography and script writing. It was interesting to see how this combination could create something inspirational,” remarks Yerkanyan.

During the course, Yerkanyan created three short films, which helped her develop a creative vision, take on the roles of director, camera operator, editor, and writer, as well as work in a group setting. Most importantly, she learned to create and deliver storylines through films which connected her with the viewers.

“My first film, called Cycle, was self-reflection. During the tragic events in Artsakh in September, I was going through different emotions. I was able to portray those feelings and thoughts through a short film. This film was supposed to be about my inner feelings, but as a result, many of the viewers were able to relate to my emotional state. I think that’s the power of filmmaking and any other artistic medium; it’s about connection and shared experiences,” shares Yerkanyan. She hopes to see AUA expand its academic programs and offer more courses in the arts.



Artyom Isakhanyan (BAB 25)

Artyom Isakhanyan started his education at AUA majoring in computer science. Soon after, he transferred to the B.A. in Business program to explore more subjects in the field, as well as the liberal arts, and make the most from project-based learning.

In addition to the core subjects, Isakhanyan enjoyed taking the Introduction to Filmmaking course. He gained his first experience in filmmaking at the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, where he attended multiple workshops and participated in the Vahé & Lucie Award competition in arts, music, technology, and film.

Within the scope of the Introduction to Filmmaking course, Isakhanyan created a short film called Wave, depicting the feelings and coping mechanisms of a person in a crowded and noisy environment.

Isakhanyan wants to pursue a career in one of two areas: business marketing or film production. He believes that knowledge in business can contribute to the role of a film producer and is considering the option of combining his business degree with his passion for film.

“Many students at AUA want to pursue a career in the arts, and I hope AUA will provide such programs in the future. Personally, I would love to apply for a master’s degree in the arts. We need quality education in this field as well,” says Isakhanyan.



Arpine Ghambaryan (BAEC 23)

AIWA Boston Alice Kanlian Mirak Scholarship

The Edele Hovnanian Foundation Endowed Scholarship

Arpine Ghambaryan is from Vanadzor, Lori region. She graduated from AUA in 2023 with a B.A. in English and communications.

Passionate about the arts, Ghambaryan enrolled in every course AUA had to offer, including Photography, History of Art, Filmmaking, and Writing. She was interested in art as a creative mode of expression and was determined to gain more knowledge in the field.

Studying filmmaking at AUA, Ghambaryan gained not only knowledge in filming techniques and editing, but also developed an eye for photography, which gave her a new perspective. Moreover, the course inspired her to create a film as her capstone project.

“My capstone project was a documentary film called Does it feel like home? about our neighborhood in Vanadzor. I wanted to make a broad observation on my relationship with the people, places, and neighborhoods that were significant in the creation of my childhood memories,” notes Ghambaryan.

Currently, Ghambaryan works as a teaching assistant in the Gender and Social Change course at AUA. She is the founding member of Oral History Matters, which seeks to dismantle dominant research practices by bringing oral history to the forefront and challenging conventional narratives. Simultaneously, she is a researcher at Women’s Fund Armenia, working on oral history and photography. Her current research is an observation of women’s daily ritual of drinking coffee together and sparking conversations.

“I want to obtain a master’s degree in visual anthropology and work on projects in Armenia, for Armenia. I believe it is important to develop photography and visual storytelling. There is a big gap in these areas in Armenia,” shares Ghambaryan.


Hrach Barseghyan (BSCS 25)

Hrach is a junior majoring in computer science at AUA. In addition to his core subjects, he took elective courses in photography and filmmaking, which reinforced his creativity and interest in the arts.

“I loved this course, as it helped me experiment and find creative solutions. For instance, I used simple objects, such as skateboards, lamps, and tripods, to replace expensive filmmaking gear,” recalls Hrach.

As part of the course, Hrach worked on several short films, one being a silent movie featuring a man in the midst of emotional distress and substance abuse due to a breakup. 

In addition to his passion for the arts and specialization in computer science, Hrach is also interested in studying physics and computational neuroscience. He believes that science requires creativity as well and hopes to explore these areas in the future. 

“I look forward to witnessing AUA’s development in the field of the arts in the future. I think it would be great if we had degrees in architecture, art history, photography, and filmmaking. AUA students need a platform and resources to realize their creative projects, so having a small art studio would be beneficial as well.”


“Cycle” by Elina Yerkanyan | “Wave” by Artyom Isakhanyan | “Does it feel like home?” by Arpine Ghambaryan


Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values. 

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