My Son Shall Be Armenian
Between 1915 and 1923, one and a half million Armenians were massacred by the Ottoman Turks. Since then, the Armenian people have fought for official recognition of what was the first genocide of the 20th century. In an intimate exploration of what it means to be Armenian, the film follows director Hagop Goudsouzian and five other Canadians of Armenian descent as they return to the land of their ancestors in search of survivors of the genocide. My Son Shall Be Armenian weaves heart-wrenching accounts by hundred-year-old eye-witnesses with the touching reactions of these New World pilgrims. The result is a dignified and poignant film about the need to make peace with the past in order to move on.
“In making this film,” confides Goudsouzian, “I wanted to go beyond the Armenian identification with suffering, so that my son may grow up experiencing joy and pride in his origins.” The filmmaker is accompanied on his journey by Lousnak Abdalian, Gabriella Djerrahian, Martine Batani, Garo Shamlian and Patrick Masbourian. Each comes with his or her own history, hopes and fears. Some are amazed to discover that the mythical country is suddenly very real and human. It is a cultural and emotional shock that crystallizes as they meet the genocide survivors, with their stories of suffering, resistance and shame, and their need to pass on the memory before they too are gone. The most touching reactions are those of the younger members of the group: Lousnak Abdalian glimpses her great-grandmother in the face of an elderly woman; Patrick Masbourian goes through a village cemetery vainly seeking his family name on the tombstones. He says, “If my generation – my sisters and I – do nothing, the memory will be completely lost.”
In dedicating this film to his father and son, Goudsouzian wishes to reconcile the future with the past, so that coming generations of Armenians will not have to bear the burden of silence. As the film ends with the filmmaker walking in the snow beside his young son, one finds oneself wishing that the snows of Mount Ararat would once again be Armenian so that justice would be served and that Hagop Goudsouzian’s son could happily cherish his Armenian heritage.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Hagop Goudsouzian is originally from Egypt and currently lives in Ontario. He has a wealth of experience in film and video production.
In partnership with TVOntario–TFO, he has produced and directed a number of television series, including Dossiers XXX, a documentary series in which science and technology are presented from a teenage perspective. Goudsouzian also created and directed the series Un autre son de cloche, produced to coincide with the International Year of the Family. In each episode of this series, skits written and played by children aged 9 to 12 address various social and family issues based on the children’s perceptions and experience. Goudsouzian’s interest in young viewers led to the creation of another project, Nouvelles Nouvelles, a children’s magazine that won the Children’s Broadcast Institute Award of Merit in 1991.
Fluent in French, English, and Armenian, Hagop Goudsouzian is presently directing a video self-portrait in which he pursues his quest for identity, a theme that also inspired him to make My Son Shall Be Armenian.
Hagop Goudsouzian is the producer and director of over 250 mainstream Television programs, 10 Armenian films and three shorts.
Apricot Armenian Gold (with Subtitles), Apricot Armenian Gold (with English Voices), Armenian Minstrels, Armenian Echoes (three part mini-series), Armenian Exile (also narrated).
Hagop also directed and narrated the feature length documentary My Son Shall Be Armenian and Mon fils sera arménien produced by
the National Film Board of Canada.
He also produced and directed several shorts, A Taste of Armenia, on the famous Goom's Market of Yerevan, free on some DVDs and Blu-rays.
In 2016 Goudsouzian released UPROOTED (also narrated), Part three of his "Armenian Trilogy."
Goudsouzian is now developing a feature length documentary. To sponsor Hagop's new projects, use contact or sponsor links.