Celebrating Armenian Culture: “The River Ran Red” by J. Michael Hagopian + Short Films by Emerging Armenian Filmmakers

River Ran Red movie poster
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Categories: Screening.
Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver St., 4th Floor, Lower Manhattan
Admission: Suggested Contribution: $10 General Admission | $5 Students & Seniors

Documentary Feature
THE RIVER RAN RED by J. Michael Hagopian
Documentary | 2009 | United States | 60 mins

Short Films Program
THE FRAME by Ophelia Harutyunyan (10:47)
 by Anahid Yahjian (03:15)

In commemoration of the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide, Alwan for the Arts and 3rd i NY present a special series showcasing the enduring arts and culture of the Armenians, who share a collective tragedy, and who have become an integral part and active voice in the tapestry of world cultures, specifically that of the Middle East and the Arab world, where distinct and complex Armenian communities have taken root and been nourished over the last century.


THE RIVER RAN RED by J. Michael Hagopian

Winner of the Best International Historical Documentary of the New York International Film and Video Festival and Second Place (History and Biography) of the U.S. International Film and Video Festival

Part of The Witnesses Trilogy, a series of three films based on nearly 400 professionally filmed interviews taken since 1967, The River Ran Red depicts the search for survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 through the testimony of 30 eyewitnesses. Drawing from the rich texture of these intimate interviews, the film is the crown jewel of the trilogy and is a heart-rendering saga of a people in a long forced journey towards extermination, with the causes of the genocide discussed in the context of Armenian and Turkish history.

From the deportation orders of Armenians, reports by American missionaries and consuls, the treatment of orphaned children and their exile in the desert, forced conversions to Islam, loss of identity and secret telegrams, the viewer is taken from the waters of the legendary Euphrates River to the burning deserts of Syria, the final resting place of the 1,500,000 Armenians who perished.

Official Trailer

About J. Michael Hagopian
In summer of 1915, when the Turkish soldiers rampaged through the town of Kharbert, Michael J. Hagopian’s mother hid her baby in a mulberry bush and prayed to God that the Turkish soldiers would not find him. Mother and baby survived, and eventually made it to Fresno, California. Hagopian received an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and after receiving a doctorate in international relations from Harvard University, he went into cinema and founded the Atlantis Films Company, which produced over fifty documentary films on ethnic minorities and foreign lands. He won critical acclaim, including two Emmys for the writing and production of The Forgotten Genocide, the first full-length feature on the Armenian Genocide, that encompassed nearly 400 witness interviews and twenty years of research. In 1979, Hagopian founded the non-profit Armenian Film Foundation dedicated to preserving the visual and personal histories of the witnesses to the first genocide of the 20th century.


THE FRAME by Ophelia Harutyunyan
Set in Armenia, The Frame is a story about an old, stubborn Armenian man, living in a village and fighting a sickness. He needs help, but that’s not if you ask him. He thinks that he is very well capable of taking care of himself and he refuses to bring his only daughter into this and keeps this as a secret from her, until the day he realizes that his condition is getting worse. The day the daughter visits, he is set to tell her everything, but she brings her own secret to the table, forcing him to make a very hard decision.

Born in 1989, in Yerevan, Armenia, Ophelia Harutyunyan grew up around the arts in all its forms. For some reason, Harutyunyan thought that art could only be a hobby and not a profession, so she studied law at Yerevan State University and completed her master studies in Sweden. She received her LL.M. degree from Stockholm University, but the most valuable thing she learned in Swedenwast that it it is never late to pursue one’s dreams. So after returning home, she started pursuing a career in filmmaking, beginning with an internship in a film production company, different film workshops, and volunteering at film festivals. In 2011, she started working at the Civilitas Foundation’s CivilNet.tv Internet Channel as a Production Manager and Assignment Desk Editor. In 2012, she was accepted at Columbia University’s School of the Arts Creative Producing MFA program, and continues to make short films as she pursues her studies.

THE JAILOR by Anahid Yahjian
Set to the original manuscript of Sylvia Plath’s poem of the same name, The Jailor was spontaneously shot over the course of three days as childhood friends Armen Harootun and Anahid Yahjian drove out from their native Los Angeles up the California coast toward San Francisco. With nothing but two cameras, a trunk full of various fabrics and objects, and Plath’s words to guide them, the filmmakers relied on serendipitous shifts in light, weather, environment and their own moods to build an abstract visual narrative about an empathic prisoner and her captor’s ego. No location scouting was done—everything and anything that came across their path is fair game to be filmed.

Writer and filmmaker Anahid Yahjian was born in Bulgaria and raised in Los Angeles. Since graduating with honors from Occidental College with a degree in comparative literature and film studies, she has split her time between Yerevan, Sofia, Los Angeles, and New York City. She served as crowdfunding platform ONEArmenia’s media and content manager and creative director from 2012-2014. Her work has been published, screened, and awarded internationally and watched virally online.