‘Voyage to Amasia’ Premieres on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON—On July 24, Congressional Armenian Caucus co-chairman Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) hosted the screening of the poignant documentary film, “Voyage to Amasia,” before a full-capacity crowd in the U.S. Capitol.

A scene from the event
A scene from the event

“Voyage to Amasia is a moving, heartfelt film that highlights both the immense tragedy and intense courage still borne by the Armenian people to this day,” said Rep. Grimm. “As co-chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, I salute this poignant visual piece for keeping the deep wounds and salient legacy of the Armenian Genocide in the hearts and minds of the world community. If we are to ever move forward and learn from this awful tragedy, and do justice to the victims and their descendants, we must never forget to commemorate and remember those who were lost. ‘Voyage to Amasia’ stands as a shining example of that noble endeavor, and I am proud to host its Congressional screening,” he continued.

The film documents composer Hachikian’s return to his ancestral home of Amasia nearly 100 years after Ottoman soldiers deported his grandmother, Helen Shushan, and her family during the Armenian Genocide. Hachikian first learned about Amasia from his grandmother, who told him she hoped to take him there someday. The film traces a path through the past, exploring how the Armenian Genocide of nearly a century ago, and Ankara’s denial of truth and justice for this atrocity, continue to strain the relationship between Armenians and Turks. Inspired by one family’s story, the filmmakers embark on their own journey in the hopes of finding a greater understanding between two peoples at odds over a still unpunished crime.

Director Randy Bell described his experience working on the film. “My journey was obviously different than Eric’s because, as a non-Armenian, I felt none of the lingering family trauma that any Armenian must feel visiting Turkey for the first time. However, I obviously understood and sympathized with Eric’s personal journey, and the Armenian Genocide and the ongoing denial of it outrages me, as it should everyone. I think this sympathy, combined with some intellectual distance from the issue, allowed me to help Eric sort through his feelings and come to a more nuanced understanding of Turkey today,” Bell told the Weekly.

A pre-screening reception and the film viewing were followed by a panel discussion, sponsored by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), featuring Hachikian and Bell.

“We want to thank Congressman Grimm for hosting the Capitol Hill premiere of ‘Voyage to Amasia,’ and to express our appreciation to Eric and Randy, the creators of this powerful film, for being on hand to help share their insights with Congress and the Washington, D.C. foreign policy community about the ongoing costs of the Armenian Genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, the ANCA’s Executive Director.

The film was the winner for Best Documentary at the Pomegranate Film Festival in 2011. It was also awarded Winner of the Jury Award at the Alexandria Film Festival in 2012.

For more information about “Voyage to Amasia,” visit http://www.voyagetoamasia.com. To view more photos of the event, visit the ANCA’s Facebook page. The film is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. The soundtrack may be downloaded from CD Baby.

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Lilly Torosyan

Lilly Torosyan holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights from University College London and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston University, where she served on the ASA Executive Board. She currently works at an HIV clinic in Uptown Manhattan, where she tries to immerse herself in as many cultural, political, and social events as humanly possible.

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