On Easter Sunday 2018, Nikol Pashinyan strapped on a backpack and launched “My Step,” a 120-mile walk across Armenia to protest the country’s ruling party. It inspired a non-violent movement that in less than two months, saw the country’s prime minister resign and Pashinyan elevated to the office. Filmmaker Garin Hovannisian was there with Pashinyan from the beginning and chronicled the wild events for his documentary “I Am Not Alone.”
Hovannisian’s film captures the entirety of what came to be known as the “Velvet Revolution” in Armenia, beginning with Pashinyan embarking on a 14-day protest march, and ending with the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan. Now his moving, cinema veríte film is making its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, and TheWrap has the exclusive first trailer.
“Today I take my step. I take my step today. My path shines with hope, a new story underway. I’ve lost again and again. I’ve seen their mocking lies. But my will is made of stone. My spirit has survived,” Pashinyan reads in the trailer over images of protests and political activism. “I am not alone, not alone, not alone.”
The revolution began after Sargsyan, who had just completed his second term as Armenia’s president, attempted to transition into a role as prime minister, which according to the BBC, made many in the country believe that Sargsyan was simply trying to install himself for a third presidential term.
The power grab inspired Pashinyan to organize his march. And what started as a gathering of little more than a handful of journalists ballooned into a revolution of thousands. People took to the streets by the thousands as Pashinyan arrived in the city of Yerevan. Sergsyan was elected prime minister, and by late April, Pashinyan was detained by the newly elected Sergsyan after negotiations between them collapsed. A day later, Sargsyan resigned and famously admitted, “I got it wrong.”
Hovannisian’s documentary was filmed in a veríte style during the revolution between Mar. 31 to May 8, but he incredibly also scored an interview shot in the month of May with Sargsyan himself, making “I Am Not Alone” the only time the former president and prime minister has spoken about the revolution.
“I Am Not Alone” is also produced by System of a Down singer Serj Tankian and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” director Joe Berlinger. Hovannisian also produced the documentary with Alec Mouhibian, Tatevik Manoukyan and Eric Esrailian.
Watch the exclusive trailer for “I Am Not Alone” above along with some stills from the film below, and check out the list of upcoming screenings for the film at TIFF below:
Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7:15 PM @ Scotiabank 10 – 1st Public Screening
Sunday, Sept. 8 at 5:00 PM @ Scotiabank 5 – 1st Press & Industry Screening
Monday, Sept. 9 at 4:45 PM @ Scotiabank 11- 2nd Public Screening
Thursday, Sept. 12 at 9:15 AM @ Scotiabank 7 – 2nd Press & Industry Screening
Sunday, Sept. 12 at 1:15 AM @ Scotiabank 13 – 3rd Public Screening