GLENDALE–Gov. Gray Davis signed funding requests for a Genocide film and a Genocide curriculum update proposed by Sen. Adam Schiff and Assemblyman Scott Wildman respectively.
The 1999-2000 California State budget now appropriates $463,785 for the completion of a landmark documentary on the Armenian Genocide entitled "The Witnesses," produced by the Armenian Film Foundation.
Similarly–the state budget includes a $99,000 allocation for the revision and reprinting of the Model Curriculum for Human Rights and Genocide. This curriculum will educate students about the importance of human rights and work toward preventing the occurrence of genocide in the future. A question on the Armenian Genocide will also be included in a state administered exit exams to all California students.
The 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.