PASADENA–A funding request by Senator Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) for the Armenian Film Foundation was signed by Governor Gray Davis today. The $463,785 appropriation–which was included in the 1999-2000 budget bill–will be used to complete the landmark documentary film–"The Witnesses."
This feature length documentary film about the Armenian Genocide will be used by educational institutions and public television. The Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 was the first genocide of the 20th century–in which 1.5 million men–women–and children lost their lives at the hands of the ruling Ottoman Turks. Many of the survivors eventually found their way to the United States–including the State of California–which is home to more than 300,000 Armenian-Americans.
"Recognition of these instances of man’s inhumanity to man is crucial to ensuring against the repetition of genocide and provides the American public with a greater understanding of its multicultural heritage," said Senator Schiff. "We must dedicate ourselves to better public education about the Genocide."
"This funding will make the Genocide film available to teach and show in the most vivid form of communication what happened–how it happened and why it happened," said Walter Karabian–former Assembly Majority Leader and Vice Chair of the Armenian Film Foundation.
"It will allow the AFF to capture on an unprecedented scale the gripping–first-hand accounts of the victims of the Armenian Genocide," said Vicken Sonentz-Papazian–Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.
The non-profit–Southern California-based Armenian Film Foundation has been hard at work for over 14 years acquiring film footage and interviews of 350 survivors and witnesses–which will culminate in the 3-part film–"The Witnesses". It is the goal of the Foundation to have the film completed by the year 2000–the 85th commemorative year of the Armenian Genocide.
Senator Schiff represents the 21st State Senate District–which includes Burbank–Glendale–Pasadena–South Pasadena–Temple City–La Caada-Flintridge–San Marino–Altadena, Sunland-Tujunga–La Crescenta–Los Feliz–Sun Valley–Silver Lake–Atwater Village–Eagle Rock–Toluca Lake and the unincorporated area of San Gabriel.