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Museum screens new film in Montreal about Armenian genocide

News release details

Actor and advocate Arsinée Khanjian to lead discussion at public event 

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) will screen its new film about the Armenian genocide as part of a public event tomorrow in Montreal, organized in partnership with the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC).

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for the local Ahuntsic-Cartierville constituency, will participate in the event and bring greetings on behalf of the Government of Canada.

The free, public event will feature a discussion with Armenian-Canadian actor and human rights advocate Arsinée Khanjian, who narrated the short documentary that will play in the Museum's "Breaking the Silence" gallery. The event will be conducted primarily in French.

The film, Acts of Conscience, looks at the genocide through the lens of Armin T. Wegner, a German war medic who photographed and documented atrocities against the Armenian Christian minority that were occurring around him in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War – including forced "death marches" through the desert. In the 1930s, Wegner also voiced his opposition to the anti-Semitic policies of the Nazis and authored an impassioned plea to Hitler on behalf of the Jews of Germany.

Compelled by his conscience to take action despite great personal risk, Wegner's story epitomizes the importance of efforts to combat the denial and minimization that often surround gross human rights violations.

What: Armenian genocide film screening (in French)
When: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, October 29, 2016
Where: École Arménienne Sourp Hagop 3400 rue Nadon, Montreal

The event will be moderated by Dr. Lalai Manjikian, author of Collective Memory and Home in the Diaspora: The Armenian Community in Montreal (2008). CMHR President and CEO John Young will be attendance. CMHR Vice President of Public Affairs and Programs, Angela Cassie, and a representative of the ANCC will make introductory remarks. The 12-minute film will be followed by a discussion with Khanjian, who will also invite questions from the audience.

Khanjian has been an outspoken advocate for recognition of the genocide, helping raise awareness through her starring role in Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan's 2002 feature film, Ararat, and her ongoing international advocacy work. She and Egoyan visited the CMHR in Winnipeg last November for a public event marking the 100th anniversary of the genocide. Egoyan narrated the English version of the CMHR's new documentary.

An exhibit at the CMHR explores the efforts for recognition of the Armenian genocide by Wegner, Egoyan and others. In 2004, Canadian Parliament voted to officially acknowledge and condemn the Armenian genocide as a crime against humanity.

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Maureen Fitzhenry