LA CRESCENTA—Emmy Award-winning journalist Peter Musurlian brought his latest documentary to the Armenian Apostolic Church of Crescenta Valley, for an afternoon screening on Sunday March 9, after the Divine Liturgy.
In June 2013, Musurlian travelled to what is now Eastern Turkey with veteran Historic Armenia tour organizer Armen Aroyan, UCLA Professor Emeritus Richard Hovannisian, and some 25 other Armenian Americans. An Armenian couple from Montreal, a young woman from France, and a couple of non-Armenians from the United Kingdom, also joined the group.
An audience of over 100 church and community members attended the presentation to have a glimpse of another Armenian Genocide documentary film, prepared for non-Armenian audiences in the United States, and, if distribution is successful, television and Internet viewers around the globe.
“I hope it is viewed as a different kind of Armenian Genocide documentary. It is not just laying out the facts and showing the horrible early-20th-century black & white pictures we have come to know,” Musurlian said. “Instead, it is 99 percent original, 21st century video — and on-camera interviews — talking about [and showing] the destruction of an ancient civilization.”
The documentary was a 40-minute rough-cut, that was completed hours before the screening. Musurlian plans to make a few changes to what was shown and add about 10 minutes to the film’s length and submit it to PBS SoCal.
“The Armenian-American community is under-served in proportion to its numbers in Southern California, Musurlian said. “More high-quality documentaries need to be produced to show the millions of non-Armenians in the region the history of so many of their Armenian-American neighbors.”
Some of the highlights of the documentary are scenes from Aghtamar Island in Lake Van, Kharpert, a church in Kayseri (Gesaria) that is now used as a karate studio, the Fortress of Van, a Hamshin village near the Black Sea, Ordu, and the 7th Century Cathedral of Mren.
There are also stops in small villages that use to have majority Armenian populations and now have none. Buildings still remain in those villages, as does the rubble of Armenian buildings, littering the landscape.
“The insight of Armen Aroyan and the historical perspectives of Professor Hovannisian made, what would already be a fascinating piece for television, just that much more substantive and educational,” Musurlian said.
Members of the audience asked tough and insightful questions after the screening, which Musurlian gladly addressed. He was joined onstage by Armen Aroyan, who Musurlian said, “Knows more about Historic Armenia, by having actually been there, than any other human being over the last three millennia.”
In 2013, Musurlian won a Los Angeles Area Emmy for his 33-minute documentary, “Burbank’s Sister City in Africa.” And in categories as diverse as producing, reporting, shooting, and editing, Musurlian has earned 16 Golden Mikes, over the past 14 years, from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.
For more than 15 years, Musurlian has been the Station Manager & Senior Producer for The Burbank Channel, but also produces independent documentaries through his nine-year-old production company: Globalist Films.
Some other independent documentaries in the works, over the next couple of years, for Globalist Films, include: a look at the life of a Hungarian Holocaust survivor; a year in the life of a 100-year-old Armenian Genocide survivor, who was interviewed and followed by Musurlian, before his death a couple of years ago; a visit to the Hungarian-Armenian community in that central European country; an investigative examination into the more than 100 Turkish-run charter schools in America; and a look at Members of Congress, from Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio, who have been aggressive opponents of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
That last documentary will include exclusive and extensive courtroom scenes of attorney Mark Geragos, who defended congressional candidate David Krikorian before the Ohio Elections Commission in 2010.
Musurlian has shot video-in and reported-from more than 20 states, as well as the countries of: Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Mexico, Nagorno-Karabakh, Nicaragua, Panama, Poland, Romania, and Turkey.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles; a master’s degree in Political Science from Baylor University in Waco, Texas; a master’s degree in Journalism & Public Affairs from the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C.; and a master’s degree in Management from the School of Business at the University of Redlands in California.
Musurlian’s father, John, the son of a genocide survivor from Kayseri (Gesaria), was born in Wisconsin. John’s wife, Araksi, a Los Angeles nurse for more than 30 years, immigrated to the United States from Istanbul in the 1950s. Peter grew-up in Torrance, California.
The event was sponsored by Dr. & Mrs. Hovsep and Hilda Fidanian and was organized by the Armenian Apostolic Church of Crescenta Valley, Educational Committee.