Aurora's Sunrise

Still from the film Aurora’s Sunrise
An animated drawing of a woman clutching a small child standing next to a solider in front of a desert mountain.
Courtesy of Bars Media Studio (Armenia).

Aurora’s Sunrise is a powerful animated documentary that tells the harrowing story of Arshaluys “Aurora” Mardiganian, a teenage survivor of the Armenian Genocide who lost her family and endured the death march across the Syrian desert before escaping to the United States and recounting her firsthand experiences of atrocity in print and on the silver screen.

Directed by Inna Sahakyan, this inventive, hybrid documentary seamlessly interweaves animated re-enactments made using paper cutouts and semi-rotoscoped characters, archival interview footage captured before Aurora’s 1994 death, and short scenes from Auction of Souls, a 1919 silent Hollywood blockbuster based on her own autobiography, in which she played the leading role.

Aurora’s Sunrise premiered in competition at Annecy IAFF 2022. The film was Armenia’s official selection for the 95th Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film. It later went on to screen at over 70 festivals worldwide, winning 16 awards, including the Asia Pacific Screen Award 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, Best Feature Length Documentary Award at MiridasDoc 2023 and FIFDH – International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva for Grand Prix, among others.

Aurora’s Sunrise is created by Bars Media Studio (Armenia) in co-production with Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion (Germany) & Artbox Laisvalaikio Klubas (Lithuania). This film was made possible by the academic contribution of the Zoryan Institute and is based on its Oral History Archive. The event is organized and hosted in partnership with Bars Media and Zoryan Institute.

Free admission. Sponsored by the Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Anthropology.

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