Theatrical release poster
|Music by||Serj Tankian|
1915 is a 2015 psychological thriller film co-written and directed by Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian. It is produced by Hovannisian and Mouhibian with Terry Leonard, and stars Simon Abkarian, Angela Sarafyan, Samuel Page, and Nikolai Kinski, along with Jim Piddock. 1915 follows a mysterious theater director in present-day Los Angeles as he stages a controversial play to bring the ghosts of a forgotten tragedy back to life. The title refers to the Armenian Genocide, which is denied by the Turkish government to this day. The film also features the first original film score by Serj Tankian, the Grammy-winning frontman of System of a Down.
1915 was released theatrically in the United States on April 17, 2015, and was the #2 box-office performing debut film on its opening weekend. It released widely in Russia on April 23 and Armenia on April 25. In December, 2015, it screened in Turkey as part of the Lake Van International Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize.
Exactly 100 years after the Armenian Genocide committed in Ottoman Empire, a director (Simon Abkarian) is staging a play at the historic Los Angeles Theatre to honor the victims of that crime, forgotten and denied for an entire century. The play stars his enigmatic wife (Angela Sarafyan) as an Armenian woman in 1915 who must make a tragic and controversial decision that will change the course of history. This will not be an ordinary performance. As protesters surround the theater before showtime, and a series of strange accidents spread panic among its actors (Sam Page, Nikolai Kinski) and producer (Jim Piddock), it appears that Simon's mission is far more dangerous than we think—and the ghosts of the past are everywhere.
The film explores many themes, especially that of denial—referring not only to the 100-year denial of the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey, but also the many forms of individual denial among the characters in the story.
Critic Martin Tsai, in his Los Angeles Times review, identified 1915 as contemplating "personal tragedy versus collective grief, artistic license versus historical responsibility, revisionist history versus corrective narrative, forgetting versus moving on," and praised the film as "one creative way to do justice to such a monumental topic."
In an interview, co-writer/director Alec Mouhibian said, "How can the past have such power over us in the present, and what are the secret ways in which we deal with it? The target of 1915 is you, the viewer, whoever you are, whatever your background. Everyone who steps into the mystery will experience it in one's own way. We hope you come out of it with a richer connection to your past -- a new way of feeling history."
1915 is the first feature film by Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian. Hovannisian is the author of Family of Shadows and has written for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and other publications. Mouhibian is a writer and comedian whose work has appeared in Slate, The Weekly Standard, and a variety of other publications. He has also been a Media Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Filming took place almost entirely on location at the historic Los Angeles Theatre, in downtown LA. Long believed to be haunted, the theater is its own character in the story, and the deleted scenes include references to one of its founders, Charlie Chaplin.
- Simon Abkarian as Simon
- Angela Sarafyan as Angela
- Samuel Page as James
- Nikolai Kinski as Tony
- Jim Piddock as Jeffrey
- Sunny Suljic as Gabriel
- Debra Christofferson as Lillian
The original score of the film was composed by Serj Tankian, of System of a Down. It is his first film score.
The theatrical release of 1915 in the United States took place on April 17, 2015, with the film's premiere taking place on April 13 at the Egyptian Theatre in conjunction with the American Cinematheque. It released widely in Russia on April 23, 2015, and in Armenia on April 25, 2015. Its first international preview was at the Maxim Gorky Theatre in Berlin, Germany on April 5, 2015. It released in Australia in June, 2015.
In 2015 it was featured selection in the Golden Apricot International Film Festival, Romanian International Film Festival, and Lake Van International Film Festival in Turkey, where it won the Special Jury Prize. It was also awarded "Best Film" by the World Entertainment Armenian Awards.
- "1915 (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
- Kieser, Hans-Lukas; Schaller, Dominik J. (2002), Der Völkermord an den Armeniern und die Shoah [The Armenian genocide and the Shoah] (in German), Chronos, p. 114, ISBN 3-0340-0561-X
- Bryce, Viscount James; Toynbee, Arnold (2000), Sarafian, Ara, ed., The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915–1916: Documents Presented to Viscount Grey of Falloden (uncensored ed.), Princeton, NJ: Gomidas, pp. 635–49, ISBN 0-9535191-5-5
- Brooks, Brian. "'Ex Machina' Again Leads Specialty Box Office As 'Félix And Meira' Opens Solidly". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
- "'1915' Earns Special Jury Prize at the Lake Van International Film Festival". Asbarez.com. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
- "Thriller '1915' to Hit Theaters & VOD This April".
- "'1915' a creative take on Armenian genocide". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
- "A New Film Takes on the Armenian Genocide". Frontpage Mag. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
- Hovannisian, Garin (2011), The Family of Shadows, Harper Collins Publishers
- Media, Bloodvine. "1915 The Movie – A film commemorating the Armenian Genocide". 1915themovie.com. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
- "Film "1915" To Shed Light on Forgotten Genocide of 1.5 Million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey".
- "'1915': The first film of the centennial".
- "1915 The Movie – UK Premier Screening + Q&A". Eventbrite. Retrieved 2016-05-06.