PASADENA, CA–Thanks to a joint event organized by the Pasadena Hamazkayin, Armenian Youth Federation and the Armenian National Committee, hundreds of Armenian Americans from across southern California united on April 16, 2010 to watch exclusive footage from the film “Ravished Armenia.” Portions of the film on the Armenian Genocide, which experts thought was lost forever, have been salvaged and turned into a short movie. Richard D. Kloian of the Armenian Genocide Resource Center has produced an enhanced and edited 24-minute version to which he has carefully added an historical introduction, descriptive subtitles, well-chosen music, and a slideshow of production stills to create an important document.
“The Pasadena Hamazkayin is proud to bring this groundbreaking film to our community,” remarked local Hamazkayin leader Manoug Joukhajian. “One of the main objectives of our organization is to preserve our cultural heritage. By hosting this exclusive viewing of Aurora Mardiganian’s “Ravished Armenia” we are showcasing an important part of our cultural heritage that was generated because of the genocide and Aurora’s brave cinematic efforts,” added Manoug Joukhajian.
“The Pasadena Armenian Youth Federation “Nigol Touman” Chapter is proud to share the remarkable story of Aurora Mardiganian with our community and especially our youth,” commented Pasadena AYF member Armi Kevorkian. “Aurora’s life story is an inspiration and one that should never be forgotten by our community”, added Kevorkian.
The book Ravished Armenia, by Aurora Mardiganian, (also called The Auction of Souls) was published three years after the Armenian Genocide commenced in 1915. The early publication of the book would clearly make it one of the first Genocide survivor memoirs to appear in English. Within months of arriving in the US, Mardiganian was starring as herself for $15 a week in a film adaptation and reenacting horrifying scenes from the Armenian Genocide.
The film “Ravished Armenia” was directed by veteran filmmaker Oscar Apfel. According to historians and film experts, the film garnered considerable attention in 1919 when it was first shown and was used to help raise money for Near East Relief to assist survivors of the Armenian Genocide. However, for many years “Ravished Armenia” was thought to be a lost film. Over the past two decades portions of the film have been rediscovered, and The “Ravished Armenia” film screening was presented through the efforts and leadership of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Association Pasadena “Shahan Shahnour” Chapter and the Pasadena Armenian Youth Federation “Nigol Touman” Chapter, with the support of the Pasadena Armenian National Committee.
The program at the Pasadena Armenian Center featured opening remarks by Manoug Joukhajian, a member of the event organizing committee and Pasadena ANC Chairman Raffi Hamparian. The featured speaker at the gathering was Eric Nazarian, a noted Hollywood screenwriter and film director. Most recently, Nazarian directed in 2007 the award winning film “The Blue Hour.” In his remarks, Nazarian commented on the remarkable endurance and strength of Aurora Mardiganian, who not only survived the horror of the Armenian Genocide, but was strong enough to convey her story on the silver screen upon her arrival in the United States.
The Pasadena ANC advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the areas Armenian American community and promotes increased Armenian American civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.