Gerard Agabashian, Bidayyat / August 13, 2014

Another Syrian-Armenian Story (The Opera Version)

In his debut film, , "1915", Syrian-Armenian Gerard Agabashian explores one artist's journey to safety from Deir ez Zor, Syria to Lebanon.

Syrian-Armenians are beginning to think they’ll never catch a break. It started in 1915, when in the face of a massacre at the Ottomans’ hands, the Armenians were forced to flee their homeland. The Syrian city of Deir ez Zor welcomed the Armenian refugees. Generations of Syrian-Armenians came to call the city home.

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Now, with the violent reality of the Syrian crisis extending to every corner of the country and beyond, the Syrian-Americans find themselves on the move again, this time with their Syrian friends. The Syrian government, in retaliation of peaceful protests, did not distinguish between Syrians and Syrian-Armenians. Both groups of people were made homeless without distinction. For many Syrian-Armenians, this latest exile has raised questions of homeland. Some managed to find refuge in Armenia and began the process of discovering their homeland. Others went to Beirut, or farther afield to Europe.

In this film, Syrian-Armenian filmmaker Gerard Agabashian documents the journey of opera singer Kevork Moutafian from Deir ez Zor to Lebanon. A small window into the world of these refugees trying to make new lives for themselves in a new place, Agabashian’s film hints at the weighty transition this community is making to the newest chapter of their history.