‘Three Apples’ Producer Discusses Film’s Production

From l to r: Edgard Tenembaum, Cigdem Mater, Micheline Marcom Aharonian, Sona Tatoyan, Jose Rivera, Shekhar Kapur, and Vahe Yacoubian

Since the producers of the upcoming feature “Three Apples Fell From Heaven,” a drama set against the backdrop of the Armenian Genocide, gathered last October at Tumo Center for Creative Technologies in Yerevan the media have been reporting on the planned production of the film about the Armenian Genocide.

The event was organized to introduce award-winning director Shekhar Kapur who was in the country to scout locations for the film and to welcome the production team to Armenia where they hope to do some of the filming.

Three Apples Fell From Heaven

“This is a challenging project that reveals a shameful chapter in world history,” said Kapur whose movies, including “Elizabeth” and “The Golden Age,” have earned nine Academy Award nominations. “I am not one to back down from a challenge and I believe the world is ready to join me in finally examining this tragedy and its far-reaching consequences. My films aspire to put human faces on history and I think that’s what make them relevant. That’s what I hope to do in depicting the Armenian Genocide.”

“Three Apples Fell from Heaven” is based on Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s award-winning novel of heroism and heartbreak set against the savage backdrop of the Armenian Genocide.

Producer/actress Sona Tatoyan, whose husband, Oscar®-nominated screenwriter José Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries), has adapted Marcom’s novel for the screen recently sat down with Asbarez to discuss the film.

Asbarez: How would you describe the film and the message it puts forward?

Sona Tatoyan: Simply said, Three Apples Fell From Heaven is a film about the Armenian genocide. A historically accurate portrayal of this great tragedy, presented in a culturally, linguistically, geographically and demographically authentic setting.

Asbarez: What does the film represent to you, personally?

It is the story of the great-grandparents of most Armenians of my generation that must be told. A story beautifully told in the novel by Micheline Aharonian Marcom, which I read eleven years ago and fell deeply in love with. A script poetically written by Jose Rivera, which brought what I visualized in the novel into the architecture of a feature length epic screenplay, portrays the pain and suffering with immense magnitude. A period in history the world must know and remember. It’s an honor for me to be part of it.  I’m humbled to be walking this path.

Recently, a Turkish newspaper published an interview with you, quoting you as saying that Armenians should forget the genocide. Can you please clarify this quote?

There is nothing to clarify. I have not made such a statement. How could I have? How could I have said anything like that in an interview about a film on the Armenian genocide I am helping create? The genocide is part of our cultural identity and one cannot walk away from it.  It’s made me who I am.

What is then your reaction to this interview, which you just confirmed is distorted?

I realize that during the production of the film, there will be constant attempts to distract us to take our attention away from our goal of producing a great historical epic film on the Armenian genocide. The best way to counter such attempts is to stay focused on the film and produce it for the world to see. The film will speak for itself.

Asbarez: You have also talked in the past about the recognition of the Armenian genocide. Can you elaborate the point about reconciliation and moving forward?

S.T.: The Armenian genocide is a fact. It does not require validation by anyone. It cannot be disputed. At the same time, moving forward and healing requires recognition by the world and especially Turkish government.


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  1. Talin Gureghian Hall said:

    “Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects animals. It is a severe plague since it is highly infectious. Its containment demands considerable efforts in vaccination, strict monitoring, and occasionally the elimination of millions of animals.”

    The Public Relations equivalent of the above might be ‘Foot-in-mouth’ disease. Though the prevailing wisdom, particularly in the entertainment media, is that “any press is good press”, having read two early interviews about the making of this potentially ground braking film_due to the directional director Shekhar Kapur_ it would be a critical part of the early promotion of the venture to get the PR ‘Story’ right, and more importantly, consistent, to avoid any collateral damage when the sound bites from more interviews hit the global media who will certainly not be as kind on any ‘foggy’ statements about the genocide.

    The message should be singular, powerful and certainly personal, but not so personal that those who need to know about the genocide (most of the world) get a confused and isolated starting point to their greater education.

    The film “might speak for itself”, but before it does, those who speak on behalf of the film will need to choose their words carefully.

  2. Arziv said:

    There is nothing about choosing the right words, or carefully crafted words to describe a murder, mass murder , genocide. Genocide is plain and simple genocide. There is not a reservoir of words , nor a fountain of phrases to choose from. Just plain and simply Genocide.

    • Talin Gureghian Hall said:

      Absolutely. Correct.
      Below are the 52 WRONG WORDS, not “chosen carefully” which prompted the above original comment.
      (See caption below this response from recent Three Apples interview.)

      When non Armenians from Europe read these comments, as they did, and asked whether the statement below regarding the Armenian Genocide represented Armenians’ views in the United States, the answer was “No”; just plain and simply “No”. Hence, the importance of “those who speak on behalf of the film” needing to choose their words carefully.”

      Below are the comments from the interview addressed:

      “The most important thing for the Armenian diaspora is to make peace with Anatolia and Turks. They should forget the genocide. This doesn’t mean they should accept the denial policy of Turkey. However, this is what should be done by the Armenians primarily to show respect to their own culture and history.