July 14, 2023: In anticipation of the upcoming screening of Aurora’s Sunrise in Laval, Quebec on July 21, 2023, the Zoryan Institute wishes to highlight why this film is so integral for younger generations to see.

Aurora’s Sunrise is based on and features Zoryan Institute’s 1984 oral history testimony with Armenian Genocide survivor, Aurora Mardiganian. This is one of nearly 800 audio-visual testimonies, amounting to over 3,000 hours of interview footage collected between 1983-1990 as part of the Zoryan Institute’s Armenian Genocide Oral History Collection. It brings us great pride to know that these testimonies are being used by researchers, scholars, educators, and filmmakers to share the stories with present and future generations of Armenians and non-Armenians alike.

Aurora’s Sunrise is not another genocide movie. This is a story of humanity, generosity, resilience, and a true inspiration for today’s youth. The film tells the incredible story of a teenage girl, Aurora Mardiganian, who became known as the Joan of Arc of Armenia by becoming the spokesperson for victims of the Armenian Genocide, and the catalyst for the humanist movement in America.

Aurora was the daughter of a happy and prosperous Armenian family. During the Armenian Genocide, she experienced some of the worst violence and torturous acts imaginable, yet with her determination to live and her altruism, she wrote a memoir about her experiences, which was later converted into the very first silent film on genocide in Hollywood, Auction of Souls, in 1919. Aurora Mardiganian starred as herself in this film, reliving her trauma from just years earlier, in order to raise awareness about the genocide and the need to support the survivors and orphans from the region. This film, backed by the Near East Relief Foundation of America, raised hundreds of millions of dollars, and saved, housed, fed, clothed, educated, and offered vocational training to nearly 60,000 orphans.

Aurora made an incredible impact in the rebuilding of a nation after tragedy, and her resilience and selflessness can be used as a model to help empower and encourage the youth of today to follow in her footsteps and represent their own communities in the face of adversity and hardship.

The Zoryan Institute’s foresight to preserve the survivor testimonies back in the early 1980s has allowed future generations to continue learning from these stories and experiences. In a recent interview with Dr. Rouben Adalian, the interviewer of the 1984 Aurora Mardiganian interview, he states:

“[The Zoryan Institute] made a huge contribution, in retrospect, to preserving an invaluable fragment of the experience of the Armenian people through these recordings…It is on the basis of those interviews, or in this case specifically Aurora Mardiganian’s singular interview, that the Institute has been able to take that material and generate something far more substantial, and perhaps more usable, which is an animated production of her exceptional and unique story.”

We look forward to seeing the youth of Quebec at next Friday’s screening! To purchase your ticket to the Laval, Quebec screening of the film, please visit: https://www.universe.com/events/auroras-sunrise-laval-screening-tickets-4PRLH1

If you wish to sponsor a ticket for a student, please contact swaldron@zoryaninstitute.org. If you have any difficulty purchasing your ticket online, please contact Benjamin directly at the local Quebec number, 514-991-2864.

Disclaimer: While the film is animated, there are depictions of violence, sexual violence, and torture. Viewer discretion is advised, and parental supervision is required. The film is recommended for viewers 15+.