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Center for Armenian Studies Events

For previous years' guest speakers and topics, please visit the Center for Armenian Studies poster and flyer archive.

We also encourage you to check out a selection of CAS video recordings on our Videos of Past Events page and on our YouTube channel.

CAS 2023 Annual Dr. Berj H. Haidostian Distinguished Lecture | Aurora's Sunrise: Craft of the Film

Inna Sahakyan
Thursday, September 28, 2023
6:30-9:30 PM
Off Campus Location
This is an invite only event. A public conversation with the director and screening of the film is on September 29 - October 6, 2023 (The State Theater, 233 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104) For showtimes click here:

For the 2023 Dr. Berj H. Haidostian Annual Distinguished Lecture, the Center for Armenian Studies is honored to invite Inna Sahakyan, Director of the film, Aurora's Sunrise.

Inna Sahakyan will talk about the craft of the film, and her process of directing a documentary that incorporates both animation and historical footage. Clips and images will be used.

Please note this event will not include a screening of the film.

At only 14 years old, Aurora lost everything during the horror of the Armenian genocide. Two years later, through luck and extraordinary courage, she escaped to New York, where her story became a media sensation. Starring as herself in Auction of Souls, an early Hollywood blockbuster, Aurora became the face of one of the largest charity campaigns in American history. With a blend of vivid animation, interviews with Aurora herself, and 18 minutes of surviving footage from her lost silent epic, Aurora's Sunrise revives a forgotten story of survival.

For over fifteen years, Inna Sahakyan has directed and produced feature-length documentaries, doc series, and shorts that have been broadcasted internationally. She focuses on uncovering untold and forgotten stories while exploring the nature of humanity through intimate and innovative filmmaking. Her feature-length debut, co-directed with Arman Yeritsyan, was the award-winning "The Last Tightrope Dancer in Armenia" in 2010. Recently, she completed "Mel," a story about a transgender weightlifter from Armenia. In 2022, her animated documentary about Armenian Genocide survivor and early Hollywood star Aurora Mardiganyan, "Aurora’s Sunrise," became a festival favorite and screened at over 40 festivals, winning several awards, including the Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2022 for Best Animated Film, Movies that Matter 2023 for Special Mention and Audience Award, Audience Favorites at IDFA 2022, Audience Awards at Animation is Film 2022 and FIFDH - International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva 2023 for Grand Prix, among others. Inna has also worked as a producer on documentaries such as "One, Two, Three" and "Donkeymentary."

"Aurora's Sunrise" was made possible by the academic contribution of the Zoryan Institute and is based on its Oral History Archive.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: By invitation only
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: armenia, film
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Armenian Studies