“Lost Birds,” the first film made in Turkey to depict the Armenian Genocide, will be screened Friday at the Peters Education Center Auditorium on the Fresno State campus. The showing is being sponsored by the Armenian Studies Program as part of the CineCulture series provided as a service to Fresno State campus students, faculty and staff as well as the community.
Co-directors Ela Alyamac and Aren Perdeci will be on hand to discuss the long journey to get the film made. Perdeci, who is of Armenian descent, is a director, scriptwriter, producer, cinematographer and editor who has directed numerous short films and a variety of media projects. His past feature film work includes “Wrong Time Travelers.” Alyamac is a Turkish filmmaker who wrote and directed the romantic drama “Fairy Dust.”
“Lost Birds” looks at the Armenian Genocide through the eyes of a young brother and sister. Bedo (Heros Agopyan) and Maryam (Dila Uluca) are living a happy life in Anatolia with their mother and grandparents. When the men of the city are taken, the children are forbidden to go outside.
They defy their mother to visit a cave where they play. When they return, their village is empty and they are left to survive in a world being ravished by war.
Perdeci explains that the film is told from the point of view of the brother and sister to show that history is not just dates and numbers but is the story of real people.
“When you look at books, there are things that cannot be told. The human story cannot be told,” Perdeci says.
It took a year for the filmmakers’ application to the Ministry of Culture’s cinema fund in 2012 to get approval. It would have been easier to shoot this production in another location, but the directors found the work had a more emotional connection by working in the same locations with actors who have family ties to the area.
Although “Lost Birds” deals with a specific time and place, the filmmakers say they are certain the movie will have a broad appeal.
“We want people to remember how important family is,” Alyamac says. “In the midst of all these bad things, it is important always to keep our hope.
“We feel ‘Lost Birds’ is relative to the time we are living in with what is going on in Syria.”
- When: 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 7
- Where: Peters Education Center Auditorium (west of Save Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building)
- Admission: free, and parking on campus is not enforced after 4 p.m. on Fridays
- About the host: CineCulture Club (cineculture.csufresno.edu) promotes cultural awareness through film and post-screening discussions