WGBH Boston, “The Hidden Map” & Armenian Museum of America Team Up for Special-Event Broadcasts
“The Hidden Map,” one of the only Armenian films ever to be distributed nationally by PBS, continues to share the Armenian story with viewers across America. After its successful June premiere in hundreds of US cities, the documentary has been scheduled for more public television broadcasts from coast to coast during the network’s August pledge drive.
Especially noteworthy is Boston WGBH’s visionary approach to connecting its viewers with the continuing story. Recognizing its vibrant Armenian community, WGBH made the important decision to spend an entire day recording studio breaks for the upcoming broadcasts of the documentary in the Armenian Museum of America in Watertown. Collaborating with filmmaker Ani Hovannisian and museum director Jason Sohigian, the WGBH team created a program that celebrates Armenian heritage, history and resilience, featuring lively exchanges and museum treasures to accompany the film. They hope to engage their diverse viewership including Armenians with the rich 90 minute program which will premiere on the main channel GBH2—among the most highly-regarded in the country—on Monday, August 15 at 7:30 p.m. Additional airdates are listed online.
August airdates and times in other PBS markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Washington D.C., Seattle, Cleveland, Tucson, Tampa, Miami, Philadelphia, Lexington, Charleston, Indianapolis, Louisville, Grand Rapids, Providence, Austin, El Paso, Fort Wayne and many more are available by checking local PBS schedules or “The Hidden Map” website.
“The Hidden Map” takes viewers on a daring journey with Hovannisian, a granddaughter of Genocide survivors, as she ventures to the lost ancestral Armenian homeland to uncover the forbidden past. A chance meeting with a Scottish explorer leads to a joint odyssey beneath the surface of modern-day Turkey, unearthing sacred relics, buried secrets and the hidden map. The duo also meets Turks, Kurds and ‘hidden’ Armenians who risk their safety by revealing long-silenced truths.
PBS’s partnership with Hovannisian is closely tied with the Diasporan community who plays a vital role in helping to keep the story on the air for millions more to discover. Viewers who pledge a nominal amount in support of PBS’s broadcasts of “The Hidden Map” will not only help ensure additional airings on a national stage, but will receive unique gifts including exquisite hand-crocheted traditional dolls made exclusively for PBS viewers by women in Goris, Armenia. Some of the talented craftswomen are displaced citizens of Artsakh who are now starting to build their lives anew, supported partly by the income from these dolls, which represent the strength, beauty and resilience of all women. Other gifts include DVDs, original postcards of historic Western Armenia and “Lavash” cookbook.
“It’s a huge exhale,”said Hovannisian, “to know that PBS has taken the Armenian story and championed the truth by sharing “The Hidden Map” with viewers over and over again. They also do it because viewers are responding. It’s a team effort, just as it is our collective story. It was especially exciting to film pledge breaks with WGBH hosts in the awesome Armenian Museum of America where thousands of years of Armenian creation, destruction and rebirth go hand in hand with the film.”
Museum Director Jason Sohigian added, “It was an honor to host WGBH-TV again at the Armenian Museum of America for their annual pledge drive. We’ve watched Ani’s documentary every time it has aired on PBS, and look forward to these special broadcasts, especially as the museum and film reflect many of the same themes, namely the survival and resilience of the Armenian people. We are here to share that history and culture with the world.”