Two screenings of ‘Aurora’s Sunrise’ to take place in Toronto in June

The Zoryan Institute will host two screenings of the award-winning animated film “Aurora’s Sunrise” at York Cinemas on Friday, June 16, 2023, at seven and 7:30 p.m. The film tells the story of the survival of a 14-year-old girl who lost everything during the Armenian Genocide.

“Aurora’s Sunrise” blends footage from the Zoryan Institute’s original 1984 interview of Aurora Mardiganian with the brilliant animation of Bars Media and their German and Lithuanian co-producers, along with scenes from the 1919 silent film “Auction of Souls,” the first Hollywood film on genocide starring Aurora Mardiganian as herself.

According to a statement released by the Institute, the project came to life thanks to a partnership between the Zoryan Institute and Armenia-based Bars Media in 2015. The partnership “aims to bring Zoryan’s oral history testimonies to life on the big screen through animation, to relay stories of genocide survivors to younger generations, and to help empower young women and girls around the world to follow in Aurora’s footsteps and represent their communities in the face of persecution, violence, and trauma.”

The film is directed by Inna Sahakyan and produced by Bars Media, Gebrueder Beetz Film Production, and Artbox Laisvalaikio Klubas, with the financial partnership of Eurimages, the Zoryan Institute Armenia, and the National Cinema Center of Armenia, and with the contributions of the Lithuanian Film Center, ZDF/ARTE, Public TV Armenia, and LRT.

“Aurora Sunrise” has been selected as the Armenian submission for the 2023 Oscars and has premiered at 20 different internationally renowned festivals around the world since entering the international film festival circuit in June 2022. “[The film] has won nearly a dozen awards, including perhaps the most notable recognition, the Grand Prize at the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) of Switzerland. The film is also highly ranked by some of the most influential film critics worldwide and has been used by the Zoryan Institute as an educational tool across Canada and the United States,” reads a part of the Institute’s statement.

Tickets to the Toronto screenings can be purchased here. Doors will open 30 minutes before the screenings. Please see the Zoryan Institute ticket table upon arrival.

Learn more about “Aurora’s Sunrise” and the Zoryan Institute’s Armenian Genocide Oral History Collection.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article (published on April 26, 2023) stated that the screenings would take place on Friday, May 19, 2023, at seven and 7:30 p.m. The article and its title have since been modified to reflect the updated dates of the screenings.