None … Not a single person at the table.
I was sitting with a group of young festival goers, in a Cambridge diner, after the screening of “Hove.” We were discussing the film when it became apparent that none of them knew anything about the Armenian Genocide prior to that night’s screening. We had at the table – graduates of Ivy league schools, a Fulbright scholar and a Harvard graduate student.
“How is this possible?” I ask myself. I have two conflicting sensations: sadness and encouragement. Sadness at the fact that our educational institutions still place such little (if any) emphasis on this history. And encouragement that the film is being shown and putting the Genocide in front of people who otherwise might never hear anything of it.
I was also encouraged by the fact that they all mentioned that the photos really made an impact. They said the photos gave them a sense of the depth of the tragedy/crime. Comments like “the photos looked just like the Holocaust” told me they were making the kind of lasting impression that I had hoped for.
There also was a lot of interest and from one person, skepticism, about the connection between the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. I cannot tell you how many people have been disturbed, fascinated and surprised to learn of the large German military presence in Turkey during World War I. All those German soldiers watching (and learning) as the Ottoman Turks methodically wipe out the Armenians. Almost all Armenians know the quote from Hitler, explaining to his generals the efficacy of his proposed “Final Solution”, “after all who remembers the massacre of the Armenians?” But no one at the table had ever heard of this connection until the screening.
I am so grateful that a great organization like Facing History and Ourselves is making such efforts to teach about the Armenian Genocide in the classroom. I am excited for “Hove” to be a part of that effort. I look forward to my son, now five years old, being able to sit around a table with his classmates in college and it not even occur to him that he might need to explain or defend his history because they are already aware.
Obviously there is a lot of work to be done to reach a moment such as that. My efforts will be directed towards a feature length story from the Genocide that could reach millions. I invite anyone who is interested and would like to help in this cause to reach out to me via email (click on “contact” on the banner at top or bottom). Suggestions on fund-raising, potential investors and any other ideas you might have are welcome. “Hove” was the first small step. I look forward to taking leaps and bounds with all of you toward this important goal.
“Hove” has been invited to be a part of the Pomegranate Film Festival in Toronto, September 25-27. http://www.pomegranatefilmfestival.com “Hove” will screen at 1pm on Sunday with “The Land of our Grandparents”. A moving documentary about a road-trip through Eastern Turkey by filmmaker Alex Goekjian in search of clues regarding his late grandfather.
I am very excited to be a part of this festival. At the other film festivals I have worked very hard to get the word out to the Armenian community about the film with mixed success. I am very hopeful that with the Pomegranate film festival, the upcoming Arpa Film Festival in Los Angeles and the screening in Watertown, MA at the Armenian Library and Museum (ALMA) that I will get to share the film with the Armenian community in a much more comprehensive way.
Atom Egoyan will be at the festival to present a film as well. I’ve met Atom a couple of times and am a great admirer of his work.
More updates to come!
Just found out we have been invited to the Boston Film Festival!
There are not a lot of short films invited and among the select few is “Hove”. I am thrilled to be in the same company with some very impressive films, including “Kavi” which one the student Academy Award last year.
There is a sizable Armenian community in Boston and hopefully we can get them out to our screening.
The screening is September 21 at 5pm at the Kendall Landmark Theatres, 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. (617) 499-1996
Hope I will see some of you there.
The Montreal World Film Festival was amazing. I had never been to Montreal and it is truly a beautiful city. The city is really involved in the film festival in a way I had not experienced before. Many of the streets had banners hanging from them announcing to the city that the festival was happening.
All three screenings of “Hove (The Wind)” were sold out!
I felt very fortunate to have “Hove” paired with an amazing feature film, “Devil’s Town”.
Director Vladimir Paskaljevic paints a funny, shocking, passionate and heartbreaking portrait of many intertwined lives in current day Serbia. It was interesting because, although the films were very different in many ways, I felt they had common ground in that they both asked the question – Is it possible to step outside your cultural history (in both Serbia and Armenia’s case – violent and tragic) and just be an individual without being pulled down by the weight of this history? The answer to that will have to come from each audience and each individual.
Montreal has this amazing bike rental system called “BiXi” and you join and then check out a bike anytime you want from hundreds of bike stations around the city and then check them back in at another station near your destination.
I really enjoyed using them and 24 hours of use of the system whenever I wanted cost around $6!
I had the chance to sit down and talk with a number of filmmakers from Montreal and Toronto and exchange ideas. It was a fantastic environment and all of us were made to feel very welcome by the festival.
I also had the chance to see a film that was adapted from a play by Austin Pendleton. Austin was at the festival to see this film for the first time. “Blind Company” is an amazing story of an embattled uncle and nephew and their struggle to deal with a twisted and long-buried family history. Austin and I were headed back to New York on the same flight and had a great time talking about theatre, film and mutual friends, future projects etc. I told Austin that his amazing career mix of playwriting, acting and directing was a model for me in how to live a life in the arts. He is such a kind, eloquent and talented person. Here is Austin pictured with Madeline Kahn in “What’s up, Doc?” (one of my favorite movies as a kid). He told me he did four films with Madeline Kahn!
More to come as I remember and find a moment!