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Aurora's Sunrise is showcased as part of LIMINAL TALESrecent animated films sharing pressing narratives from across the SWANA region and its diasporas.

Please note that Aurora's Sunrise is available for US audiences only.

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LIMINAL TALES presents recent animated films that share poignant and pressing narratives from across the SWANA region and its diasporas. The program features short films by Mahmoud Hamdi, Ayçe Kartal, Sofia Al Khyari, Huda Razzak and Sarah Saidan, and a feature-length animation by Inna Sahakyan. Memory is experienced like a phenomenon in which each central character or narrator reveals how their internal psyches affect their external realities. Furthermore, the narratives are told through the lens of characters that vary in age, allowing for a nuanced storytelling of reflection and at times, disassociation. Each film has an innate ability to transport viewers into their intricate realms using a variety of visually expressive techniques. 

Inna Sahakyan’s Aurora’s Sunrise is based on the true story of Aurora Mardiganian, a survivor of the Armenian genocide who, after fleeing to the U.S., starred in a silent film about her own life and experience, titled Auction of Souls (1919). The animation retells Mardiganian’s harrowing story, incorporating scenes from the 1919 film, archival footage of Mardiganian recounting her arduous journey, as well as using her memoir, Ravished Armenia, as a chronological grounding. Mardiganian’s astonishing yet horrific memories are rendered using paper cutouts and semi-rotoscoped characters crafted alongside ephemeral watercolor imagery.

Film Program:

Aurora’s Sunrise, Inna Sahakyan, Armenia, Germany, Lithuania, 2022, 1 hour and 36 min.

Home of the Heart, Sarah Saidan, France, 2022, 14 min and 46 sec.

Shadow of the Butterflies, Sofia El Khyari, France, Portugal, Qatar, 2022, 9 min.

The Ocean Duck, Huda Razzak, United States, 2021, 7 min.

Wicked Girl, Ayçe Kartal, France, Turkey, 2017, 8 min.

Beach Flags, Sarah Saidan, France, Iran, 2014, 13 min and 38 sec.

A Man Wanted to Play Drums, Mahmoud Hamdi, Egypt, 2010, 3 min and 12 sec.

*Aurora's Sunrise was created by Bars Media Studio (Armenia) in co-production with Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion (Germany) & Artbox Laisvalaikio Klubas (Lithuania).

This film was made possible by the academic contribution of the Zoryan Institute and is based on its Oral History Archive. The event is organized and hosted in partnership with Bars Media and Zoryan Institute.

Aurora’s Sunrise (2022)

A genocide survivor becomes a silent movie star: Aurora Mardiganian's odyssey is close to unreal. After losing her family, escaping slavery, and enduring Hollywood greed, she journeys far to tell the world of the Armenian Genocide.

About the Filmmaker:

Inna Sahakyan has directed and produced feature-length documentaries, documentary

series, and shorts, for over fifteen years. Following her feature-length debut co-directing the award-winning Armenia’s Last Tightrope Dancer in 2010, she directed Mel and Aurora’s Sunrise, completing both international co-productions in 2022. Inna also enjoys mentoring her native Armenia’s next generation of filmmakers.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    96 minutes
  • Language
    English, Armenian, Turkish
  • Country
    Armenia, Germany, Lithuania
  • Subtitle Language
  • Director
    Inna Sahakyan