The With Our Soldiers Campaign has teamed up with filmmaker Roger Kupelian to provide DVD’s of his award-winning documentary on the Artsakh liberation struggle, Dark Forest in the Mountains.
In addition to the 40-minute feature, the special edition DVD includes the documentary sequel Hands and a Homeland, which picks up where the story left off 10 years after the cease-fire. Soldiers, volunteers, and those affected by the war talk about their experience in gripping detail with rare, on-the-ground footage. The DVD also features a special animated history of Armenia that is a must for any library or personal collection.
Proceeds from all DVD sales will be donated toward the medical treatment of injured and disabled veterans of the Artsakh war still in need.
Students, youth and community members gathered in the halls of the Hollywood Armenian Center last Thursday evening for an exclusive screening of Roger Kupelians award-winning documentary, Dark Forest in the Mountains.
The event was organized by the AYF as part of the With Our Soldiers campaign, a year-long initiative aimed at raising awareness and support for the freedom fighters of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).
There is perhaps no better film to acquaint people of all backgrounds with the liberation of Artsakh than Dark Forest, said AYF Executive Director Serouj Aprahamian. If we care to take steps to build a brighter future for the people there, we must first learn about its history and the moving stories of those involved. I think watching the film instilled in all of us a renewed passion to get active.
Originally filmed in 1994, the documentary succinctly chronicles the history of the region and the lead up to the Artsakh liberation struggle using a mix of digital animation, expert interviews, and on-the-ground footage. The film was shot and edited by Roger Kupelian, an accomplished Hollywood visual effects professional with such credits as Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, Men in Black 3 and his most recent project, East of Byzantium.
If there ever was a place that spoke of the ancient fighting spirit, it is this, said Kupelian about Artsakh. We can all find our own journey there and I certainly can say, for one, that stepping foot on that land affected me for the rest of my life.
Kupelian spent time on the frontlines, capturing scenes from the war as well as gripping exposes into the lives of commanders, volunteers, medics, and children affected by the conflict. He attended Thursdays screening and engaged with the audience in a lively discussion following the film.
Artsakh is still crucial today in terms of what our up-and-coming generations can do in order to affect the outcome of where Armenian lands will end up in the future, remarked Kupelian about the importance of focusing on the issue. A major loss now would be a catastrophe for the Armenian spirit. Additionally, a peacecertainly on fair terms for native Karabakhtsiswould invite back those who would once again work the land and bring back vital energy.
Attendees were visibly inspired by both the film and the first-hand accounts shared by Kupelian during the discussion. Many stuck around after the screening to purchase copies of the film and to learn more about the AYFs campaign.
Copies of the special-edition DVD, which includes a sequel featurette with rare interviews with participants in the war a decade after the cease-fire, can be purchased online at www.WithOurSoldiers.com.
Portions of all proceeds will go toward the medical treatment of disabled veterans of the Artsakh war in need.
Torrance, CA- The Armenian Youth Federations South Bay Potorig Chapter will host its second annual Armenian Genocide Museum on Thursday April 12th at 5:30 PM at the South Bay Armenian Center (2222 Lomita Blvd. Lomita, Ca 90717). In its inaugural year last year the event showcased important information about the Armenian Genocide and exposed to the non-Armenian South Bay community the atrocities of the Genocide.
The museum features themed rooms in chronological order according to the timeline of the Genocide, modern activism and Armenians in the media, and Armenian Genocide Monuments around the world. As a centerpiece, a scale model of the Armenian Genocide Monument in Armenia, Tzisernakabert will be featured. The Potorig chapter hopes to attract a diverse crowd from the South Bay community and beyond, including students from local high schools and organizations.
The night will also include a special screening of the widely acclaimed documentary Grandmas Tattoos at 8:30 PM. The film follows Susan Khardalians journey to find the truth behind the mysterious tattoos that covered her late grandmothers face and hands.
The AYF South Bay Potorig Chapter invites the community to attend. We look forward to seeing you there!
It was this time last year, that I was contemplating what to do with my summer. I had the opportunity to go on a service trip with my college friends to few countries in Africa. But, I always wanted to participate in a service trip in Armenia. So I started looking at my options, and I came across AYF Youth corps. The opportunity I was able to have last summer became the best experience of my life. I had two things different from the 29 people I traveled to Armenia with. First, I am from the east coast, and most were coming from the west coast, and knew each other. Second, I am half Irish and half Armenian, and I am not fluent in Armenian – not even close. I could barely understand it; and what they speak there is not even the same “Armenian” that my mother speaks (Eastern vs Western). This made me nervous as I got ready to leave for Armenia in July. Spending six weeks in another country where I cannot understand what they were saying can seem a bit frightening. The amount of knowledge, memories, and friends I gained from that experience is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. Anytime we went somewhere, there was always a friend who would come stand next to me and translate what was being said. Anytime we had free time or we had a long bus ride, someone would make sure they sat down next to me and gave me a history lesson. Everyone was so eager to teach and include me in everything that took place on the trip. The deghatzi’s (locals in that area) were also very eager to teach me anything that they could. I developed special relationships with them, and I still keep in touch with them despite the language barrier. One deghatzi in particular learned a bit of English each day from me, as I learned a bit of Armenian each day from her. I urge everyone to consider doing this trip with AYF. If you don’t speak Armenian, don’t worry. Because at the end of the first day there, they will make you feel that you have always belonged there. There is no better feeling than to be able to call home and have a simple conversation with my Metzmama or my Mother and understand what is being said. Thank you AYF for making this possible, thank you deghatzis for making us part of your family, and a special thanks to my group for the memories. You will always be in my heart.