FRESNO — The Armenian Studies Program and CineCulture present the Fresno premiere of “Aurora’s Sunrise” at 5:30PM on Friday, September 1, 2023, in the Leon S. and Pete Peters Educational Center Auditorium (5010 N. Woodrow Ave.), on the Fresno State campus. Following the screening, which is part of the Armenian Studies Program Fall 2023 Lecture Series, the audience will have the opportunity to discuss the film with director Inna Sahakyan.

“Aurora’s Sunrise” is Armenia’s official entry to the 95th Academy Awards and is a “Critic’s Pick” of the New York Times. The film was made possible with the academic contribution of the Zoryan Institute and is based on its Oral History Archive.

At only 14 years old, Aurora Mardiganian 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, Mardiganian became the face of one of the largest charity campaigns in American history. With a blend of vivid animation, interviews with Mardiganian 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 broadcast internationally. She focuses on uncovering untold and forgotten stories while exploring the nature of humanity through intimate and innovative filmmaking. In 2022, her animated documentary about Armenian Genocide survivor and early Hollywood star Aurora Mardiganian, “Aurora’s Sunrise,” became a festival favorite and screened at over 40 festivals, winning several awards. Sahakyan has also worked as a producer on documentaries such as “One, Two, Three” and “Donkeymentary.”

Admission for the film screening and discussion is free and free parking is available near the west entrance of the SaveMart center. A parking pass is not required for the Friday evening presentation.

For information about upcoming Armenian Studies Program presentations, please follow us on our Facebook page, @ArmenianStudiesFresnoState or at the Program website, https://fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies.

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