Genocide Documentary ”Screamers” Premieres at AFI Festival

LOS ANGELES–The entertainment community teamed up with Genocide prevention activists on November 2 for the world premiere of ”SCREAMERS”, a gripping documentary detailing the efforts of multi-platinum, Grammy-award winning band System Of A Down in their campaign to end the cycle of genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America. ”SCREAMERS” debuted at the American Film Institute Film Festival 2006, at the ArcLight Cinema. On hand for opening were Director Carla Garapedian, System Of A Down Band Members Serj Tankian, John Dolmayan and Shavo Odadjian, producers Pete McElevy and Tim Swain, sponsor Raffy Manoukian of the Raffy Manoukian Charity and a host of genocide recognition and prevention activists from groups including the ANCA and Save Darfur among others. ”Armenian Americans welcome Carla Garapedian’s compelling documentary as a powerful contribution to the anti-genocide movement,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. ”System Of A Down–first through music, now through film–continues to build the grassroots political constituency so vital to ending forever the cycle of genocide.” Prior to the screening of the film, more than 300 Armenian community members, activists and entertainment leaders gathered for a reception at the rooftop of the ArcLight Cinemas. The reception was sponsored by the ANCA, Save Darfur and the Raffy Manukyan charity. Attendees were able to meet with the principals of the film and enjoyed an opportunity to discuss the film and its message with producers and participants prior to the packed house screening. Earlier Thursday, the American Film Institute held a special ”SCREAMERS” press conference, which featured remarks by Garapedian, McElevey, System of a Down members Serj Tankian and John Dolmayan, as well as ANCA Board Member Raffi Hamparian. The press conference was moderated by Save Darfur Campaign Manager Ben Prochazka. ”When people discuss the Genocide, they say”never again.” We said it with the Holocaust… We said it with Cambodia… We said it with Rwanda…” commented McElevey who added that despite this sentiment, genocide continues to plague the world. In her remarks, Garapedian explained that the goal of the film was to raise awareness about the issue of genocide. She thanks Dolmayan for his participation and Tankian for opening ip his family through the stories of his grandfather, himself a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. ”My grandfather’s story was my personal motivation to get involved in the film. It is a story that needed to get out,” explained Tankian. ”This not a film about System of a Down, but a film about the Genocide…[It’s about] how we are supportive of action, but are not able to stop these types of things from happening," added Tankian. Representing the ANCA, Hamparian drew of piece of US history when he called the late senator from Wisconsin William Proxmire a "screamer." He recounted how the senator, in 1967, began to press the US Senate to approve the international convention of genocide and throughout the years Proxmire "gave a thousand speeches, then 2000 speeches, then 3000 speeches until on February 11, 1986–20 years after he began as a screamer–by a vote of 83 to 11 the US Senate passed the Genocide Convention."To crush, end or stop genocide is not an end. It is a cause," said Hamparian who praised the filmmakers and System of A Down for dedicating the time and energy to produce this film and allow the public to become aware on the subject. SCREAMERS, directed by award-winning journalist Carla Garapedian, is a production of MG2 productions in association with BBC Television and The Raffi Manoukian Charity. Garapedian, a veteran reporter who has made a career of covering the most difficult stories, from Chechenya to repression in Afghanistan, follows the European tour of "System Of A Down" and their ongoing efforts, through music and activism, to raise awareness about denial of the Armenian Genocide and its legacy of a century of atrocities. The fim is scheduled to open in the Los Angeles area on December 8. To learn more about System Of a Down’s Armenian Genocide recognition advocacy tour in Washington, DC earlier this year, visit www.anca.org.

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