July 3, 2008
Business Wire — "UNITED NATIONS SCREENS CONTROVERSIAL "SCREAMERS" FILM IN TOKYO"
"Screamers," the critically-acclaimed documentary about genocide in the last century, with music by the Grammy award-winning rock band 'System of a Down,' was featured last week at the United Nations Refugee Film Festival 2008 in Tokyo, sponsored by
UNHCR and Japan for UNHCR.
UNHCR called the festival a "vital component of UNHCR's year round action plan to raise awareness of the plight and triumph of the world's 33 million refugees and internally displaced persons. A select array of films from across the globe gives voice to seldom-heard stories of hope, despair, and resilience. In line with World Refugee Day's theme for this year, the festival draws attention to the human side of refugees."
"We included "Screamers" in the festival this year because it looks at the history of genocide and what is happening in Darfur -- through the eyes of history," says Festival Director Kirill Konin.
"Film is an important medium to introduce the many aspects of the lives and circumstances of refugees across the world, and through this entertainment vehicle, create better awareness and understanding," said Angelina Jolie, UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassador.
"Screamers" examines the repeating pattern of genocide, from the Armenian genocide, to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, up to Darfur today. After its theatrical release in the US and Canada, the documentary was screened in the U.S. Congress, British Parliament and European Parliament to raise awareness about Darfur and genocide education. Sony BMG has recently launched "Screamers" DVD in seven languages.
Director Carla Garapedian, who has made documentaries about Afghanistan and Chechnya, led discussion sessions at the UNHCR Festival for "Screamers" as well as "Letter to Anna," about the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, directed by Eric Bergkraut, and "Kite Runner," the uplifting story of truth and redemption in Afghanistan, directed by Marc Foster. Director Steve Thomas was on-hand to discuss his film "Hope" about the journey of an Iraqi refugee family to Australia.
"We must remember history," said Garapedian. "After the Armenian genocide, the U.S. opened its doors to thousands of refugee survivors from Ottoman Turkey, including my family. If they hadn't done that, I wouldn't be here."
The UNHCR screening of "Screamers" follows a dispute in April 2007 at the United Nations headquarters in New York, where the Turkish delegation demanded reference to the Armenian genocide be omitted from an exhibition entitled, "Lessons from Rwanda," sponsored by the Aegis Trust. After a three week delay, and criticisms from the media and former UN Commander Romeo Daillaire, reference to the Armenian genocide remained in the exhibition, but only after the word "murder" was changed to "mass killings."
Turkey continues to deny that its successors committed genocide. Under its penal code, it will prosecute anyone who raises the issue on the grounds of "insulting Turkishness." Last week, publisher Ragip Zaracolu was sentenced to five months in prison, commuted to a fine, for publishing a book about the Armenian genocide. Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor and contributor to "Screamers", was also being prosecuted under the code before he was assassinated last year. Meanwhile, U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for the new ambassador-elect to the Republic of Armenia, Marie Yovanovitch, were postponed last week because the State Department has delayed responding to Senators' questions about the ambassador-elect's position on Armenian genocide recognition. The position has been unfilled since Ambassador John Evans was recalled two years ago by the Bush Administration for recognizing the Armenian genocide. Another Ambassador-elect, Richard Hoagland, was withdrawn last year after a Senate hold.
MEDIA CONTACT: GS Entertainment Marketing Group, 323-860-0270 or MG2 Productions: email@example.com
CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARY AND
WINNER OF THE AUDIENCE AWARD, AFI FILM FESTIVAL 2006 ®Screamers
Debuts on DVD February 19, 2008
Special Features Include Going Backstage, Bonus Song, and Press
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – MG2 Productions in association with
BBC Television and The Raffy Manoukian Charity present SCREAMERS,
taking center stage on DVD February 19, 2008 from Sony BMG Entertainment.
Directed by award-winning journalist and filmmaker, Carla Garapedian,
this gripping documentary traces the history of modern-day genocide
and genocide denial -- from the Ottoman Empire at the start of
the 20th century, to the current genocide in Darfur. Follow the
multi-platinum album selling and Grammy-Award®-winning* band,
System of a Down as they raise awareness for human rights atrocities
that continue to plague the world today.
“[An] invigorating and articulate film [that] unfolds at
the sensitive intersection of entertainment and politics,"
said Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, during its theatrical
release in the United States. Also the winner of the Audience
Award at the AFI Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Montreal
Human Rights Festival, SCREAMERS is truly a must see. This shattering
and powerful DVD includes seven never-before-released concert
and behind-the-scenes footage of the band on tour. "A brilliant
film," says Larry King of CNN, that asks the audience, as
well as all people, to be “screamers” and to speak
out against injustice.
"Genocides, we should feel, are all one, said Serj Tankian,
lead singer of System of a Down. "I think this is an important
film. It's not just about System, it is about the denial of genocide,
the common denominator of all genocides, how they get away with
it. It is about the hypocrisy of denial."
A similar sentiment is shared by the film's director:
“The band's music is the perfect vehicle to make people
wake up and take action to end the cycle of genocide," said
Carla Garapedian. "SCREAMERS busts wide-open the hypocrisy
of politicians and governments who have misleadingly vowed 'never
again.' This film reminds us that we, as individuals, can make
a difference. We can, as Serj says, all be screamers.”
A chilling segment in the film features an exclusive interview
with one such 'screamer,' journalist and activist, Hrant Dink.
Brutally killed shortly after the film's premiere for speaking
out for recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Hrant Dink spent
the majority of his life fighting the government of Turkey's ongoing
denial of the Genocide.
Multi-platinum, Grammy-Award winning band, System Of A Down, lend
their music to this critically acclaimed political movie-- an
impassioned synthesis of concert film and hard-hitting exposé
about genocide in the last century-- from the Armenian genocide,
the first genocide of the 20th century, to the genocide now in
Darfur. The film includes commentary and interviews with Pulitzer
prize-winning author Samantha Power (“A Problem from Hell:
America and the Age of Genocide”), survivors from Turkey,
Rwanda and Darfur, FBI whistleblowers, and the recently assassinated
Hrant Dink, who all shed light on why genocides occur and how
they are permitted to repeat.
Screamers was conceived by Peter McAlevey and Carla Garapedian
and produced by Nick de Grunwald, Tim Swain, Carla Garapedian
and Peter McAlevey.
The Screamers DVD will include the following, never before seen
• "Going Backstage"- Fan meets the band backstage
• "Armenian School"- Teachers remember Serj, Daron
and Shavo at school
• "Where Did We Come from?"- Serj and John pinpoint
exactly where their families came from
• "Grandfather’s Village"- Serj’s
grandfather’s village in Turkey today
• Bonus Song- "Question!"
• Never-before seen concert footage
• Hrant Dink in Memoriam- Exclusive interview with Hrant
Dink in Istanbul
• Press Conference - Serj and John at Screamers’s
Premiere press conference
• "Spiral into Flames"- Glass artist at work creating
genocide commemorative symbol
• Get Connected -Director tells you how to find out more
• Trailer - Screamer’s theatrical trailer
May 30, 2007
DARFUR TEAMS WITH GRAMMY-WINNING ARTISTS ‘SYSTEM OF A DOWN’
TO ANNOUNCE THE CANNES PREMIERE OF BAND’S FEATURE DEBUT
Cannes—Sixteen-million album-selling and Grammy award-winning
band System of a Down hopes to raise awareness in conjunction
with the human rights group Save Darfur, in their feature film
Cannes debut tonight (May 21) in the acclaimed U.S. documentary
film SCREAMERS. SCREAMERS features seven live performances by
the band as they toured Europe and American over the last two
years. The premiere will be followed by a Save Darfur invitation-only
party at Cat Corner. Featured in “Screamers” is their
hit “B.Y.O.B.” (Bring Your Own Bomb), the antiwar
song that opened #1 on the charts the same day in Britain, America
and Japan, a unique occurrence.
The band has teamed with the internationally known Save Darfur
organization, a coalition of more than 1,000 human rights and
faith-based organizations, that has made it its mission to raise
awareness and stop the unfolding tragedy in the Darfur region
of Sudan, which has already cost more than 400,000 innocent lives
and driven many hundreds of thousands more into exile and poverty.
Serj Tankian from System of a Down says, “It doesn’t
matter if the first one was Armenian, or the greatest numbers
were the Jews in the Holocaust, or whether it was Pol Pot or Stalin,
who did it to his own people. Genocides, we should feel, are all
one.” “I hope that the international distribution
of ‘Screamers’ will help bring awareness of this urgent
issue,” says director Carla Garapedian.
Says Ben Prochauska, national campaign manager for Save Darfur,
“Thanks to the worldwide attention “Screamers”
and System of a Down’s music has brought to the problem
of worldwide genocide, more people now know about the reality
of what’s happening in Africa than ever before. I really
hope the audience at Cannes responds as well as American audiences
and critics have to this powerful film.” During “Screamers”
ongoing worldwide release, publications as prestigious as MAXIM
Magazine have hailed the movie as “extraordinary,”
“genius” (The New York Village Voice), “powerful”
(Independent), “a brilliant film -- everyone should see
it” (Larry King, CNN), while the LA Times, Washington Post,
Boston Globe and New York Times have all devoted considerable
coverage to “Screamers” and its global human rights
message. The film also won the popular audience awards at the
American Film Institute Festival in Los Angeles and the Montreal
International Human Festival.
April 10, 2007
“SCREAMERS” SERJ TANKIAN AND
DENOUNCE CANCELLATION OF UN GENOCIDE EXHIBITION
Following the UN Secretary General’s request to remove a
sentence referring to a million Armenians being murdered during
the Ottoman Empire from the Aegis Trust exhibition “Lessons
from Rwanda,” and the exhibition’s subsequent cancellation,
Serj Tankian and Carla Garapedian have issued the following statement:
“We are very shocked by this decision by the Secretary General
to remove mention of a historical event which is well-documented
by thousands of official records of the United States and nations
around the world, including Turkey’s wartime allies, Germany,
Austria and Hungary, by Ottoman court martial records and by eyewitness
accounts of missionaries, diplomats and survivors as well as decades
of historical scholarship. In the U.S., President Bush has called
the events the ‘forced exile and annihilation of approximately
1.5 million Armenians.’
“Elie Wiesel says denial is the last stage of genocide –
this act of censorship by the Secretary General is effectively
an act of appeasement to the very forces in Turkey that led to
the recent death of Hrant Dink, and the prosecution of Nobel Prize
winner Orhan Pamuk. Other writers and artists in Turkey are facing
prison sentences today under Article 301, for wanting to speak
openly about this issue. What message does this send to them?
The reason why genocides have continued in the last century –
from the Armenian genocide, to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia
and Rwanda, to the genocide going on now in Darfur – is
because the international community has not intervened to stop
them. Sadly, the Secretary General’s decision to stop any
mention of the antecedents to the Rwanda Genocide is a blow to
those who want to stop genocide now.”
Serj Tankian, songwriter, singer, poet, activist and lead singer
of System of a Down, appears in the film Screamers, which traces
the history of genocide in the last century, from the Armenian
genocide, to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.
He was invited by the Aegis Trust to meet the Secretary General
on Monday, along with Screamers director, Carla Garapedian. Aegis
is co-sponsoring a screening of the Screamers in the British Parliament,
following its theatrical run in the U.S. and screening in the
U.S. Library of Congress.
James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust wrote to Tankian
and Garapedian explaining why Aegis wouldn’t submit to the
Secretary General’s request, which followed a protest from
the Turkish government. The sentence in dispute: “Following
World War 1, during which one million Armenians were murdered
in Turkey, Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin urged the League of Nations
to recognize crimes of barbarity as international crimes.”
“Had we been asked to remove reference of atrocities to
Jews because German objected, we would have been equally resistant,”
said Smith. “We can’t apply one rule to some and not
to others because of the political wind in the UN is blowing against
the Armenians,” he said. Removing the sentence would amount
to a “denial of elementary facts.”
Garapedian added, “Perhaps the Secretary General should
visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC where another sentence
is engraved on the wall – ‘Who remembers the Armenians?’
That was Hitler’s answer to why he could get away with murdering
the Jews. Hitler used the Armenian genocide as a blueprint for
the Holocaust. The Secretary General should also visit the Kigali
Memorial Centre in Rwanda, which has become the focal point for
national remembrance and education about the 1994 genocide. There,
too, the Armenian genocide is commemorated. No one there is trying
to bury the truth.”
January 24, 2007
JOBLO.COM INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR CARLA GARAPEDIAN
JANUARY 20, 2007
TURKISH JOURNALIST’S MURDER DENOUNCED
“SCREAMERS” FILM DIRECTOR
Hrant Dink, who was killed yesterday for speaking out about the
need for Turkey to be open about its past, including the Armenian
genocide, voiced similar concerns in the documentary "Screamers,"
which is opening in theatres in New York and Washington, DC on
"Hrant Dink has long been a voice for tolerance and understanding,
and it is inconceivable that this message was not heard by the
criminal who took his life away,” says “Screamers”
director Carla Garapedian.
Dink was the editor of the Agos newspaper and was shot to death
on the street in front of his office Friday in Istanbul. Garapedian
interviewed Dink in Istanbul for “Screamers” to discuss
the pressures being faced by people who want to speak freely about
the Armenian genocide - notably himself, Orhan Pamuk and publisher
Ragip Zaracolou. In the film, he explains that many people in
Turkey cannot comprehend that their predecessors would be perpetrators
of genocide. "Because they're against genocide and wouldn't
commit it themselves, they can't believe their ancestors would
have done such things either." It’s a battle, he said,
for hearts and minds.
"Dink knew very well the danger of speaking freely for what
he believed in,” says Garapedian. “Like his friend
Orhan Pamuk, he was under prosecution, under Article 301, for
'insulting the Turkish state.'" “There has to be a
process for a people to have the right to know the truth,"
Dink told Garapedian in Turkey. "The progressive elements
of Turkey are working in this direction and those outside should
help us in this direction."
On Friday, Dink lost his fight for peace and democracy in Turkey.
“When I interviewed him for the film he told me his life
had been threatened many times,” says Garapedian. "They
are always making threats by phone or email,” Dink told
her. “I cannot be as free as normal people, I have to be
careful, always looking over my shoulder." Dink spoke about
his friend, Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk, who has also faced
daily threats after saying a million Armenians were killed by
the Ottoman Turks.
After "Screamers" was released in Los Angeles last December,
Garapedian asked the Turkish government for a response to the
film. Weeks later, the government issued a statement saying that
the Turkish government would redouble its efforts to combat the
"lies" being disseminated by the Armenian diaspora.
Yesterday, the government condemned the killing of Hrant Dink.
"Whatever they have said, I can only think their call to
deny the genocide sent a green light to those forces of extremism
in Turkey that are only too ready to rely on the gun," said
This week "Screamers," which examines genocide denial
in the last century, from the Armenian Genocide, to the Holocaust,
Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur, was shown at the Library of Congress,
to a standing-room only crowd of over 200 people. Attendees included
7 members of Congress and numerous young staffers all among the
over 100 million fans of the band, System of a Down, who are featured
in the film. The event was sponsored by Congressman Adam Schiff,
Save Darfur and the ANCA. Dink's words were heard by members of
Congress and echoed in the halls of the Library of Congress. As
Dink told Garapedian, "Those who live in a democracy may
not be able to comprehend why someone can not accept their past.
What they may not realize is that the person they are talking
to is not as open-minded as they are."
"The last time I saw him was in November for our AFI premiere
in Los Angeles, smiling as usual," said Garapedian. "He
was a true democrat with a big heart and the courage to move forward,
no matter the danger. Dink, in his own way, was a Screamer. I
feel very honored to have known him."