Theatrical release: 2015
In 2015, exactly 100 years after the Armenian Genocide, a director (Simon Abkarian) is staging a play at the 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 controversial decision that will alter the course of history.
But this will not be an ordinary performance. As protesters surround the theater before showtime, and a series of strange time-bending accidents spreads terror among the play’s cast (Sam Page, Nikolai Kinski, Sunny Suljic) and producer (Jim Piddock), it appears that Simon’s mission is far more personal and dangerous than anybody suspects – and the ghosts of 1915 are everywhere.
Filmed almost entirely on location at the historic (and haunted) Los Angeles Theatre, 1915 was the first narrative feature film produced in the United States about the Armenian Genocide. It was the debut feature film performance of star actor Sunny Suljic, who was 8 at the time of filming. It features an original score composed by System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian. The massive demonstrations that the film depicts as a plot-point came to fruition when 160,000 people conducted a “March for Justice” in LA alone on April 24, 2015.
Los Angeles Times: "The film plays out like a pensive, high-minded version of Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). It contemplates weightier ethical dilemmas such as personal tragedy versus collective grief, artistic license versus historical responsibility, revisionist history versus corrective narrative, forgetting versus moving on. It's one creative way to do justice to such a monumental topic."
Paste Magazine: "Hovannisian and Mouhibian build a tense film with moments of genuine suspense and psychological thrills, all while touching on the larger issues of memory, truth and denial...riveting storylines that provide important history lessons along the way."
The Upcoming: "Highly original, helplessly emotive."
The New York Times: "A ghostly evocation of bygone slaughter."
Roya Rastegar, Los Angeles Film Festival: "Visually lush and cinematically ambitious, 1915 captures the power of story to reclaim the stolen history of a people."
Atom Egoyan (Oscar-nominated director of Sweet Hereafter, Exotica, and Ararat): "Ambitious, urgent, and full of passion."