PARIS, France—For the past two years, Anna Benjamin and Guillaume Clere have been driven by the desire to give a voice to descendants—in Turkey—of Armenian Genocide survivors. In January 2015, the two French journalists came closer to reaching their goal of producing a documentary and web-series that tells the story of four Turks who discover their Armenian origin—and who decide to break silence. To complete their project, they launched a crowd-funding campaign.
Through the portraits of Nazli, Armen, Dogukan, and Yasar, “Turkey, the Legacy of Silence” reveals the weight of silence that burdens thousands of Armenian descendants in Turkey. Indeed, after 1915, the price of survival was high: assimilation in Turkish and Kurdish families, conversion to Islam, and, above all, silence. After a century of silence, history is resurfacing: Multiple families are now asserting their Armenian heritage. By giving a face to the million descendants of these Islamized Armenians, “Turkey, the Legacy of Silence” is a worldwide call to remembrance. Today, despite risks, fear, and shame, Nazli, Armen, Dogukan, and Yasar have the courage to break the taboo on their Armenian roots.
“Turkey, the Legacy of Silence” will be released internationally for the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in April 2015. Additionally, the public will be invited to offer testimony on the website.
However, to reach these goals, the authors still need to raise funds. Firstly, in order to reach an international audience, the film must be translated to English and Armenian. In addition, the web-series must be edited and embedded in an interactive web site. Benjamin and Clere made four trips to Turkey for the project, scouting to find Armenian descendants, and shooting videos for the film. The documentary is in the process of being edited; it still has to be standardized, translated, developed, and illustrated.
With the help of their producer, Découpages, they obtained several guarantees, such as broadcast on the French channel “Toute l’Histoire” and writing and production help from the CNC (Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée). They also obtained an agreement from media outlets such as France Info and Mediapart to host the web-series.
Today, Benjamin and Clere are relying on the public’s generosity to honor the memory of this chapter of Armenian history, to mark the Centennial and to reveal the silence.