USA / Armenia
94 MIN
July 14th
Cinema House, H. Malyan Hall

There Was, There Was Not follows four women living in the Republic of Artsakh, an unrecognized country reckoning with the aftermath of one war while on the precipice of another. In the midst of this uncertainty, four women build a life with the hope of making their home a better place. When war breaks out again, what began as an observational meditation on women’s roles, after conflict becomes an urgent and intimate record of their lives interrupted once again by war. From taking up arms on the front lines to fleeing their homes as refugees, we watch each woman’s life change irrevocably. The war ends in the unimaginable: the complete ethnic cleansing and erasure of their homeland. Amid these women's struggle for survival in a new reality, this film becomes the myth of a home lost forever, and the power of story to keep it alive.

Cast & Crew
Producers: Emily Mkrtichian, Brock Williams, Mara Adina
Director: Emily Mkrtichian
Director of Photography: Emily Mkrtichian
Cinematographers: Alex Igidbashian, Margos Margossian, Andranik Sahakyan
Music: Ruben De Gheselle
Sound: Michael Feldman
Editing: Alexandria Bombach
Cast: Siranush Sargsyan, Svetlana Harutyunyan, Gayane Hambardzumyan, Sosè Balasanyan

Emily Mkrtichian
Emily Mkrtichian is a filmmaker, multimedia artist, and interdisciplinary creative collaborator. Her evolving artistic practice reflects her upbringing in a displaced, diasporic family, and centers the decolonized narratives of women, especially from the SWANA region. Her films includes the sci-fi short Transmission, which premiered at BFI Flare FF, the short documentary Motherland, which premiered at the Full Frame FF and won the Best Short Documentary Award at the Copenhagen IFF, and the feature documentary film, There Was, There Was Not, which has been supported by the Sundance Institute, the IDA, Chicken & Egg Pictures and HotDocs. Her multimedia installation Luys i Luso, created in collaboration with Tigran Hamasyan, has been exhibited in NYC, LA, Istanbul, Munich, Armenia, and Bulgaria. Emily Mlrtchian has been a Flaherty Seminar Fellow, a LA Public Arts Activation Fund recipient, A Locarno FF Open Doors grant winner, a UnionDocs Summer Lab Fellow, a resident at the Yerevan Institute of Contemporary Art, and participated in the Torino Film Lab. She currently splits her time between the US and Armenia.

Levon: A Wondrous Life (doc., 2013), Transmission (short, 2018), Motherland (doc., 2019), There Was, There Was Not (2024).