"Armenia sings on in our hearts"


"Armenia sings on in our hearts" takes you on a journey through the diversity of the diasporas of Argentina, Brazil, the United States and France as it explores the history of Armenians fleeing the genocide in the early twentieth century in search of a new home. It is a cultural journey that invites us to engage with an ancient civilization through stories, interviews, dance and music.

"The documentary was inspired by the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. I wanted to focus on the positive and leave my own small footprint on this important commemoration. My intention was to show that, despite the tragic events, Armenians were still able to maintain their identity", says Isabella Bablumian, the film's director. A young Armenian residing in Brazil, she decided to tell the story of the little ´Armenias´ in disparate parts of the world, where surviving Armenians have managed to reconstruct, once again, their cultural identity and form new communities. Isabella wanted to share with the world the story of her people and give voice to previously untold stories. "They persevered in their century-long silent but resilient fight for survival", she says.

"This land is ours"

Through the lens of cultural manifestation and the voice of protagonists from various communities, the film embarks on a journey around the world and shares the history of the ancient people of Armenia. It offers the viewer an opportunity to see colorful dances performed by the members of the diaspora that as they themselves say, "make us feel like we're dancing on top of a mountain in Armenia saying 'this land is ours'".

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                  Armenian church in São Paulo, Brazil


One of the objectives of the documentary was to connect the distant diasporas together. As someone who resides outside of her country as do most (70% of the total population) of her compatriots, Isabella feels the need for reconnecting the thread. "I want to help the Armenians of the world to find out about each other and to inspire them to continue defending their cause. Our stories are all similar and interconnected but at the same time so isolated from each other that they may be lost unless they are reconnected", says the director.


With images that span Armenia and community life in the countries that became home to the immigrants, the film features testimonies of members who share their experience, both in their respective countries as well as in Armenia. Central in this discussion is the issue of identity especially for young people, who are already in the fourth generation, who are united in an allegiance to their country of birth together with a strong link to their Armenian roots. Many of them have never visited their motherland nor speak the language, but keep the ancient traditions alive and identify themselves as Armenians. It is clear that the unifying factor here is the strong Armenian culture that has been passed from generation to generation, a phenomenon that´s at the heart of the storyline.


                     Nessimian family from Río de Janeiro, Brazil


The original idea of a 15-minute short made up of homemade videos evolved into a feature length documentary that took a leading spot at the Pomegranate Film Festival in Toronto (Canada) and received a nomination for Best Documentary at the ARPA festival in Hollywood (USA). Isabella's husband, a young Brazilian, as well as encouraging Isabella in her venture, also got his first experience of the moviemaking world through becoming the co-writer and co-producer of the documentary. With every passing day, more friends voluntarily joined the initiative: co-producers, editors, musicians, translators. The project finally came to life when seed funds were obtained through crowd-funding (collected through Kickstarter, a site for collective financing), allowing the team to film in five countries, eight cities and tell a story narrated in five languages.


"The film is a tribute to our ancestors who suffered so much and an inspiration for those who struggle every day to keep our culture alive," says Isabella. "The centennial is a reminder for all of us to keep the memory alive, to never forget, but above all, to continue building and prospering. We remember and mourn those dark stories, as we celebrate the resilience of our ancient Armenian culture and its people".


The documentary tells a moving story and leaves one with the urge to do more. It is a journey through a culture that remains intensely alive throughout the centuries. Watch the film here.



Header: Argentinian Armenian folkdance company, Kaiané

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The documentary inspired by the centenary of the Armenian Genocide
Eugenia Akopian