LOS ANGELES — Creative Armenia was officially launched at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently with a mandate to discover talent and empower stories of impact in the digital age. The event was co-hosted by Teri Schwartz, Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and Dr. Eric Esrailian, producer of “The Promise,” who is also a founding member of Creative Armenia’s advisory board.
Grammy Award winning musician and activist Serj Tankian and documentary filmmaker Carla Garapedian introduced the organization’s first initiative, a $5,000 video challenge from the Oscar-winning director Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda” and “The Promise”). Filmmakers everywhere were invited to take part in “Creative Challenge 001: Art of Impact,” with a submission of a short film, no more than 60 seconds, that takes on a human rights issue important to them.
“For me film is the greatest medium to confront catastrophe and expose the conscience,” George says in the video. “The medium itself is the struggle of light against shadow.”
Launched in partnership with “The Promise,” the Gulbenkian Foundation, an anonymous benefactor and a global network of supporters, Creative Armenia reflects the Armenian community’s increasing interest in the realm of human rights and entertainment.
“The Promise,” which in recent weeks catapulted the saga of the Armenian Genocide onto the big screen, has been accompanied by a storm of human rights activity off screen — including the establishment at UCLA of the $20 million Promise Institute for Human Rights. All proceeds of the film will be going to charitable causes.
“To have something like this come out of a dark chapter of our history, moving toward the light, is extraordinary,” said Esrailian. “And it is heart-warming to see it all coming together at UCLA.”