Hayk Sayadyan’s Watercolor Animated Film “Momik”

Hayk Sayadyan's Watercolor Animated

In the media space, you can often see trailers for feature films, documentaries, and, in this case, animated films whose further fate remains unknown or is, at least, not traceable.

An animated trailer by Hayk Sayadyan telling the story of the life of brilliant architect, sculptor, and miniaturist of the 13th-14th centuries Momik is no exception. Almost three years have passed since Viktor Konoplev’s article about the unique work of Hayk Sayadyan on the animated film “Momik” was published. However, all that can be found on this film is this one trailer.

If someone has more information on the fate of Hayk Sayadyan’s animated film “Momik”, please share with us. In the meantime, I suggest that you read Viktor Konoplev’s article on the progress of the film’s development. We will also present you with the trailer and a documentary film about brilliant architect Momik.

Hayk Sayadyan’s animated film “Momik”

This is a film of one author. Hayk Sayadyan has written the script, drew characters and locations, is the director, as well as does the editing and voice acting. The film is not shot but rather literally painted with watercolors on a blank sheet. That is why the author, Hayk Sayadyan, calls his film a watercolor animated film.

“This is my canvas, I am an artist, and I paint my film like on a canvas,” the author says, “And, as you know, only one autograph is put on the canvas – the author’s autograph. So it’s harder and easier for me. Harder and harder because I work alone for everyone. Everyone knows how an animated film is made today, with what staff and budget.

On the other hand, it’s easier because although slowly, but with the patience of a jeweler, I work on every shot that was born in my head. For just the soundtrack, I addressed my friend and a true professional. The music for the film is written by a young and very talented musician and composer Garegin Arakelyan.

I do not work with cameras, actors, extras, or props. But all this is in my film. I have very colorful main characters who were born on a blank sheet of paper. And that’s great! It is an inexplicable feeling when your drawings come to life in the frame, live there, talk (voiced by very talented young actors), rejoice, yearn, create, fight, fall in love…

Isn’t that a fairy tale? Isn’t the process itself worth creating? This is a tiny model of the Great Creation when you create and see the life you created which continues after your creation outside your thoughts, outside your hands.”

Vayots Dzor Province of Armenia is the territory where the architectural masterpieces of Momik are located. The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary on a rocky peak in Areni, also known as the Zorovats temple, is a unique architectural creation that has no canonical solution. This temple has for many centuries served as a place for the holy oath of warriors who went to war.

Hence its name Zorovats, which is translated from Armenian as “military”.

And, finally, Noravank – this is a unique place among the tall red rocks-skyscrapers, the spiritual center of the Orbelian princely house where Momik has served as an architect, sculptor, and miniaturist. The Orbelian has given many famous princes, military leaders, scientists, clergy, and philanthropists.

In Noravank is one of the masterpieces of Armenian architecture – a two-story miracle, the last creation of the great Momik, which is the Church of the Holy Virgin also known as Burtelashen (built by Burtel). The first floor of the temple served as a tomb for the members of the Orbelian family. Narrow cantilevered stairs above the western entrance lead to the chapel on the second floor.

“Momik’s life and work are surrounded by many legends,” Hayk Sayadyan continues, “One of them says that Momik was in love with a beauty, the daughter of Prince Burtel Orbelian. In exchange for the hand of his daughter, the prince ordered him to build a temple that would have no analogs. Momik erected a two-story temple but did not have time to complete its dome – by the order of the prince, he was pushed off the roof of the temple and died.

This, of course, is a beautiful legend, but some facts confuse researchers. For example, on a cross-stone built in honor of Momik, the date of death is claimed to be 1333, while on the facade stone of the church, the year of the completion of its construction is 1339. That is, the temple was built 6 years after the death of the architect!

There are many puzzles. In the 90s of the last century, scientists found the family graves of the relatives of Momik. On the tombstones of his son, grandson, brother, his children, and wife, one year of death is indicated – 1333.

In my film, in parallel lines are represented all the legends concerning the life of Momik. I studied Momik a lot, but not his life path but his work. I did not study it in the way that scholars of Momik, architects, and other scientists do. I delved into his work as an artist and discovered for myself a completely different Momik.

I myself come from Vayots Dzor, from the places where Momik has lived and worked. Therefore, since childhood, I have enjoyed the splendor of his work. There, every centimeter is saturated with powerful spiritual energy, mysticism, riddles, a sense of a certain Holy Presence.

It is possible that these rocky skyscrapers, these temples, this holy energy had a huge impact on my whole life, my career, my worldview… All this accumulated and grew in me and, finally, resulted in this film. For me, it is a tribute of gratitude, and a call of the soul, and my story, and the history of my people.”

It is worth saying that the film is shot with the support of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia, and the National Cinema Center of the Republic of Armenia. (What happened to it then?)

Victor Konoplev

“Momik” by Hayk Sayadian (Trailer)


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