The residents of Gyumri were introduced to the Mediterranean town nestled between Syria and Turkey that is known for its Armenian population with a long history and tradition.
In the discussion after the film, film producer, Nane Bagratuni, described the hospitality she encountered during the movie's filming.
A Kessab native, Hakob Kortmosiandescribed the current situation in Kessab, calling for moral and monetary support for those who remain there.
Hasmik Kirakosyan, an adviser to the Governor of Shirak, also shared her memories Kessab, recalling her 1990 visit to Syria with a dance ensemble of group more than 40 children. The dance group faced financial issues as well as issues relating to legal documents. Vahe Mashikyan took them into his home and housed them all for over 10 days. The local community made all kinds of accommodations to support them in every way possible.
About the Film:
The residents in the film present their history beginning from before the common era, spanning from Tigran the Great’s rule to the 21st century. They reflect on the massacres perpetrated by the Turks in 1909, the Genocide that occurred in 1915, and their return to Kessab 3 years after the incidences.
Kessab ethnographer, Hakob Cholakian, and Arab scholar, Nizar Khalili, survey Kessab’s past using historical evidence and the personal narratives of young schoolchildren and other residents.
102 year old Kessab resident Galil Nana/ Galilia Manchikyan, who was 7 years old when the 1915 Genocide occurred, recalls her memories from the Genocide, specifically discussing the tattoos on her hands. She describes life in Kessab and illustrates the secrets of survival and cultural preservation within this ethnic enclave, which has managed to survive despite 3 attacks by the Turks and cohabitation with the Arabs.
On April 11, "Media Center" hosted a screening and panel discussion of the first part of a film series entitled "Kessab" at the Hoktember Movie Theater in Gyumri. Panelists included film producer and director Nane Bagratuni, and a Kessab native by the name of Hakob Kortmosian.