LOS ANGELES — In honor of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education, is readying at least 40 of the nearly 400 Armenian testimonies it has secured from the Armenian Film Foundation for inclusion in the Visual History Archive. It is anticipated the entire collection will be integrated by fall 2015.
USC Shoah Foundation and the Armenian Film Foundation signed an agreement in April of 2010 to digitize the interviews the late Dr. J. Michael Hagopian recorded on 16-mm film between 1972 and 2005. Hagopian was an Emmy-nominated filmmaker who made 70 educational films and documentaries during his career, including 17 films about Armenians and the Armenian Genocide, winning more than 160 awards for his work.
“This project will unveil a trove of film testimony about of a horrific chapter of human history that remains woefully under-examined,” said Karen Jungblut, director of research and documentation at the Institute. “It also brings a new viewing experience to the Visual History Archive in that these interviews — most of which predate our 1994 founding — were conducted mainly for the purpose of creating documentaries, not necessarily standalone life histories.”
The Armenian collection contains a broad range of interviewee categories, including not only survivors of the Armenian Genocide, but also of other groups targeted by the Ottoman Turks, such as the Greeks, Assyrians and Yezidis. Also included are non-victim witnesses to the atrocities — such as Christian missionaries and Arab villagers — as well as descendants of the survivors and several renowned scholars.
The institute is integrating the testimonies into the archive with the help of Richard G. Hovannisian, a professor emeritus at UCLA and a leading expert in Armenian studies.