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Armenian Genocide Documentary ‘Intent to Destroy’ to Premier at Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival

The Grigorian Family Trust and the Florida Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. will host the Florida premier of the Armenian Genocide documentary ‘Intent to Destroy’ at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) on Wednesday, November 15, at 6:00pm at Savor Cinema.

According to Deadline, “Abramorama and Gathr Films have acquired North American theatrical rights to the Joe Berlinger documentary ‘Intent to Destroy,’ a film-within-a film that centers on the Armenian genocide of 1915 and was a critical favorite at this year’s Tribeca and Hot Docs film festivals. Abramorama will release the film theatrically on Nov. 10 in New York and Los Angeles followed by select cities nationwide. Gathr Films will then expand the release with one-night-only event screenings through its crowd-sourced theatrical distribution platform Theatrical On Demand.”

According to IndieWire, “The Armenian Genocide claimed the lives of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire from 1915-1917, but the truth about the horrors was suppressed because of America’s diplomatic relationship with Turkey. Even as recently as 2016, when filmmaker Terry George set out to make a narrative feature about the tragedy, the Oscar Isaac-starring ‘The Promise,’ he fielded threats from the Turkish government. Academy Award-nominated director Joe Berlinger was on set to capture the challenges — both artistic and political — in making a movie about the Genocide. In the first trailer for this unflinching documentary, ‘Intent to Destroy: Death, Denial, and Depiction,’ Berlinger weaves interviews with filmmakers and historians into his fascinating behind the scenes footage.”

WATCH THE TRAILER: “Intent to Destroy: Death, Denial, and Depiction”

The highly anticipated documentary ‘Intent to Destroy’ includes behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the film ‘The Promise,’ as well as exclusive interviews with filmmakers, historians, actors, and genocide survivors. The documentary also features new music written and produced by award-winning Armenian American musician Serj Tankian of the rock band ‘System of a Down.’

The Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival premier reception includes live Armenian music by Dick Barsamian on Oud, as well as food and refreshments.

Tickets to the FLIFF premier are $12 and can be purchased online by clicking below.


Florida Armenians Participate in Premier of Armenian-American Film “HERE” at Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival

By Tina Varjabedian
FLArmenians Miami Contributor

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – On Thursday, October 25, Cinema Paradiso premiered “HERE,” an Armenian-American film, at Ft. Lauderdale’s International Film Festival (FLIFF). Arsine Kaloustian-Rosenthal, Florida Armenians (FLArmenians) Communications Director, opened the program by introducing the Armenian culture and FLArmenians to the diverse audience in attendance. She explained that the Armenian community has been present in Florida for over 50 years and that St. David was the first Armenian Church in Florida. She added, “Today we have 5 churches and 2 mission parishes with approximately 30,000 Armenian-Americans across the great State of Florida.”

Kaloustian-Rosenthal then introduced local favorite, renowned Armenian musician Joe Zeytoonian of Harmonic Motion, who played cultural Armenian melodies on the Oud. The audience then asked Mr. Zeytoonian questions about the Oud instrument and about different Armenian songs and melodies. Mr. Zeytoonian warmly discussed details about the audience’s questions and the instrument, explaining that the Oud is a unique and ancient Armenian/Anatolian instrument that has been around since the 7th century.

Joe Zeytoonian, Tina Varjabedian and Arsine Kaloustian-Rosenthal at FLIFF

The film HERE is shot entirely on Armenian soil and showcases the captivating and magnificent landscapes of Armenia. Although the film is primarily in English, it contains many segments throughout where the Armenian language is spoken with subtitles. HERE demonstrates various intense themes, the primary one being soul searching. The film displays the complex relationship between expatriate Armenian photographer Gadarine Najarian (Lubna Azabal) and satellite-mapping engineer Will Shepard (Ben Foster), who decide to continue their journey together, unknowing to where this decision can take them both personally and professionally. Inspired by the Armenian scenery displayed in the film, Arsine Kaloustian-Rosenthal expressed, “The film provided us a very intimate window into the landscape of Armenia – something many of us had never seen before. For a few hours, director Braden King transported us from the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival to the land of our ancestors. It was a lovely escape.”

When asked why he chose Armenia as the landscape for this film, director Braden King explained, “As I explored further, Armenia – its history, landscape, location, people and culture – became another collaborator, a third co-writer.  When I visited for the first time in 2004, it was instantly clear that Armenia was the most precise lens through which to focus in on HERE’s story and themes.  Within the first few hours of that very first trip, there was no place else to go.”

Watch and listen to Joe Zeytoonian on the Oud below: