BY CATHERINE YESAYAN
Glendale’s Central Library sends out email notices for their upcoming events. Since, lately, the events have become more frequent, I pick and choose. I had a good reason to choose to attend the screening of the documentary “Digging into the Future – Armenia” by Joseph Rosendo.
The name Joseph Rosendo was not familiar to me, however a quick internet search revealed that Mr. Rosendo is a multi talented journalist, who has produced a Public Television series called Travelscope, which has garnered numerous Telly and Emmy awards.
Like most Armenians, I’m passionate about our ancestral homeland, a country the size of the State of Maryland which is hard to locate on a map. Our beloved poet William Saroyan calls us, “A small tribe of unimportant people.” Now because of Mr. Rosendo, the past glory of this “Unimportant People” can be seen on Public TV.
The film opened with our most familiar religious hymn of “Der Voghormia” meaning Lord Have Mercy, at Sanahin monastery. The scene stroke all the right cords inside me and gave me goosebumps and maybe it brought one or two tears.
It turned out that I was not the only person who got emotional. To answer a question from the audience, Mr. Rosendo, too, teared up when he told us how the project, personally, affected him. He said, “Armenia was a mystery to us before we went there, but two weeks of criss-crossing the country gave us a deep understanding of the culture.” And then another non-Armenian woman from the audience got up and made a comment. She said, “I too got emotional, watching the documentary. I felt I’m part of this tribe.”
The movie took us beyond the beaten path and brought our 5000 year old history alive. The hour-long journey of discoveries of cultural heritage left us in awe. We went to the archeological sites, where the world’s oldest artifacts have been discovered, among them the oldest shoe unearthed in the world. Rosendo referred to Noah as the first winemaker and we saw the earliest wine making vessels ever discovered.
In the film, on the road, Rosendo meets Armenians at fruit stands or at bustling markets. The camera goes inside their homes where he’s invited to share traditions dating back to the pagan times. Rosendo explains why he has chosen the title of “Digging into the Future.” He says, “Every discovery offers viewers an insight into how the Armenians of the distant and near past lived – and the past reveals the present or the future.”
I was overjoyed to know that the documentary could be broadcast on Public TV where millions could watch it. Hopefully the screening on TV will happen next year in 2015, right on time with events that would commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. On June 6 at 7:30pm there is going to be another screening at
Ararat-Eskijian Museum in Mission Hills, California.