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Documentary about the Forced March of Filmmaker’s Family during the Armenian Genocide to be Screened

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)March 21, 2013

(MAHWAH, NJ) – Eric Hachikian and Randy Bell will screen their documentary “Voyage to Amasia” at Ramapo College of New Jersey on Monday, April 15 from 3 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in Robert A. Scott Student Center, Friends Hall SC-219). The program is sponsored by the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Communication Arts’ Cinematheque Series.

Amasia, Turkey is the town where Eric’s grandmother, Helen Shushan, was born.  In 1915, when she was 40 days old, the Ottoman government exiled Helen and her family and most of the other Armenians in Amasia and forced them to walk south towards the Syrian Desert.  This was just one instance in a systematic Ottoman campaign to deport and execute Armenians.  An estimated 1 to 1.5 million Armenians died between 1915 and 1923 in what was the first genocide of the 20th century — the Armenian Genocide.

Helen and her family miraculously survived and eventually reached the United States.  When Eric was growing up, Helen told him the stories about Amasia that she had heard from her mother. She told him it was the most beautiful place in the world.

When Helen died in 2004, Eric wrote “Voyage to Amasia” as an imagined musical journey with his grandmother to a place they both only knew through stories and photographs.  The piece premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2005, and when filmmaker Randy Bell heard it, he suggested that, using the music as an inspiration and guide, the two make a real voyage to Amasia.

In exploring modern-day Turkey and Armenia, including a village settled by refugees from Amasia,  the film traces a path through the past, telling Helen Shushan’s story, the story of how the Armenian Genocide continues to affect the current people of Turkey and Armenia.

Eric Hachikian is an Armenian-American composer whose compositions and orchestrations can be heard in a variety of major motion pictures, network television shows, and national ad campaigns.  A classically-trained composer, as well as self-taught DJ and perpetual student of world music, Eric’s musical style has no boundaries, and his multi-genre interests result in a unique and personal sound.

Eric studied Nadia Boulanger’s methods in Paris, France, and has also studied composition and audio engineering at the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals, as well as at Northwestern University and Oberlin Conservatory. He received his Bachelor of Music with highest honors from the University of Michigan, and his Master of Arts from New York University.

Randy Bell is a Washington, DC-based independent filmmaker. His documentary films, which explore subjects as diverse as American popular music, mid-century European modernist architecture, and the AIDS orphan crisis in Kenya, have won awards from the Cleveland International Film Festival, the New England Film and Video Festival, and the Ivy Film Festival. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the African Studies Association, and Harvard University have honored them. And they have screened on television, at film festivals, independent movie theaters, and universities internationally. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in 2000, and his Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2010.

The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information or to reserve a seat, please call 201.684.7409.

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About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Niche.com.

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com. Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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