Amid controversy, movie directors head to Australia for launch of “1915”

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LOS ANGELES — Bloodvine Media announced this week the Australia release of the feature film 1915, a psychological thriller dealing directly with the Armenian Genocide, which marks its 100th anniversary this year. The limited theatrical run beginning in Sydney, and organized in partnership with the Armenian cultural institution Hamazkaine, will be accompanied by a digital release on Friday, June 19. The film will be available for download at 1915themovie.com

“A creative way to do justice to such a monumental topic,” hailed the Los Angeles Times upon ‘1915’s US, Armenia, and Russia releases in April 2015. Academy Award nominated director Atom Egoyan called it “ambitious, urgent, and full of passion,” while Paste magazine praised the film’s “riveting storylines that deliver important history lessons along the way.”

But more than receiving critical praise, the filmmaker duo Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian have also inspired controversy — centered in Australia.

Earlier this year, in a public letter carried by Yahoo! News, Hovannisian and Mouhibian condemned the release of another film dealing with the historic events of 1915 — the directorial debut of Australia’s own Russell Crowe. Set in Turkey in the aftermath of 1915, “The Water Diviner” (released by Warner Brothers on April 24 in the US) completely avoids the Armenian Genocide, instead focusing on the glorification of Turks in their battle against the Western forces in Gallipoli.

“The highest profile piece of propaganda produced in the service of genocide denial,” the “1915” filmmakers called “The Water Diviner.” In turn the 1915 websites were hacked by the “Turkish Cyber Army” and an organized Turkish effort was undertaken to destroy 1915’s ratings on IMDB and other industry websites.

Starring Simon Abkarian (“Casino Royale”), Angela Sarafyan (“Twilight”), and Sam Page (Mad Men), scored by Serj Tankian (System of a Down), executive produced by Armenia’s first foreign minister Raffi Hovannisian, and produced together with Terry Leonard, 1915 is a haunting and provocative film about the ghosts of our past.

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In Australia, the co-writer/directors Hovannisian and Mouhibian will not only lead Q&A sessions after screenings, but also engage the public with lectures, interviews, and discussions about the century-long campaign to deny the first genocide of modern history. Their talk on “Hollywood and the Armenian Genocide,” on Tuesday, June 23 at 8pm, will be open to the public and held at the Armenian Cultural Centre, 259 Penshurst St. in Willoughby.

 

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