The Lake Van International Film Festival is set to celebrate its fourth year this fall, keeping to its tradition of beginning the festival on September 1, which marks World Peace Day in Turkey.
The theme of the festival this year is “Cultural Heritage”, and will include “1915,” the feature film debut of Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian, about the Armenian Genocide.
With Turkey continuing to deny the Armenian Genocide, it came as no surprise that Turkish television station Canal Turk was threatened with boycott and protest after they decided to air Atom Egoyan’s “Ararat” in 2006. While the film was still shown, it was an edited version with many scenes depicting the massacres of 1915 cut.
This year, however, in a city very symbolic and controversial for Armenians and Turks alike, “1915” will be screened—unedited, between September 1 and 7, 100 years after the beginning of the Genocide.
As the Lake Van International Film Festival begins on World Peace Day, and is operating under the theme of “Cultural Heritage” in a historically Armenian city, it seems that co-director Garin Hovannisian’s hope that his film would go beyond art and serve “as an act of defiance against the continuing silence, indifference, and denial that have fueled an entire century of genocide,” could be realized.
Set and filmed in Los Angeles, 1915 follows one man’s dangerous and controversial decision to stage a play that would bring the ghosts of a forgotten tragedy back to life, exactly 100 years after it occurred.