Suzanne Khardalian to Speak at ‘ANC Grassroots’ Panel on Activism through Film and Arts

Filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian

GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee – Western Region announced that filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian will serve as a panelist in “Lights, Camera, Activate,” which will cover the ways in which film, music and the arts can be used to promote grassroots activism. The presentation is part of the ANC Grassroots weekend that will take place from Friday, November 25 to Sunday, November 27 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.

Khardalian is the director and producer of the riveting new film “Grandma’s Tattoos” that lifts the veil of thousands of forgotten women – survivors of the Armenian Genocide – who were forced into prostitution and were tattooed to distinguish them from the locals.

In1919, just at the end of WWI, the Allied forces reclaimed 90,819 Armenian, young girls and children who, during the war years, were forced to become prostitutes to survive, or had given birth to children after forced or arranged marriages or rape. Many of these women were tattooed as a sign that they belonged to an abductor. European and American missionaries organized help and picked up and saved thousands of refugees who later were scattered all over the world to places like Beirut, Marseille and Fresno. The film is also Khardalian’s personal journey into her own family’s history to investigate the true story of her late grandmother, Khanoum.

Khardalian presently lives in Stockholm, Sweden. She studied journalism in Beirut and Paris and worked as a journalist in Paris until 1985 when she started to work on films. She also holds a Masters Degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and contributes articles to various journals. She has directed more than 20 films that have been shown both in Europe and the United States.

In 1988, Khardalian directed “Back to Ararat,” the first feature-length documentary about the Armenian Genocide. It won the Guldbaggen Award for Best Swedish Film in 1988. The filmmakers travel from old ruins to new Armenian communities around the world, and present the stories of a people united in the dream of returning to their homeland. The film also includes conversations with Turkish representatives who argue the genocide never took place.

In 2005, her film “I Hate Dogs – The Last Survivor” met critical acclaim for its stark depiction of a Garbis, a 99-year-old Armenian Genocide survivor whose lifelong hatred for dogs has its roots in the atrocities he witnessed in 1915.

The three-day ANC Grassroots program is a groundbreaking weekend of workshops and panel presentations that will educate the community about civic leadership arising from grassroots efforts. ANC Grassroots will bookend the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region Annual Banquet, which will take place on Saturday, November 26 at 7 p.m.

ANC Grassroots and the Annual Banquet are open to interested individuals throughout the entire United States, and participants are encouraged to register early.

Tickets for ANC Grassroots, which includes the Friday night cocktail in the Starview Room; as well as conference sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which include breakfast, post-banquet dance, and a keynote luncheon on Sunday, are $150. Tickets for the Annual Banquet are $200. Those interested in attending the Annual Banquet and ANC Grassroots can purchase a package for $300.

Students with valid ID can purchase discounted tickets to the Annual Banquet and Conference.

Visit the ‘ANC Grassroots’ Web site for information and registration.

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