Aurora’s Sunrise

Aurora’s Sunrise

Directed by Inna Sahakyan • 2022 • Armenia

Inna Sahakyan’s exquisite and heartbreaking animation retraces the scarcely believable biography of Aurora Mardiganian: a survivor of the Armenian Genocide who became a silent movie star. After surviving the infamous “death marches”, Mardiganian fled from a Turkish harem to revolutionary Petersburg and then to New York. She was alter cast as herself in Auction of Souls, a 1919 silent epic about the genocide aimed at rallying American support for the Armenian cause. Interweaving interviews with the elderly Mardiganian, delicate paper-cut animation, and surviving fragments from the 1919 film, Sahakyan honours the memory of both Mardiganian and the rift in national history that the genocide produced.

AURORA’S SUNRISE • Արշալույսի լուսաբացը
Directed by Inna Sahakyan
Written by Inna Sahakyan, Peter Liakhov, Kerstin Meyer-Beetz
Cinematography by Vardan Brutyan
Music by Christine Aufderhaar
Starring: Anzhelika Hakobyan, Arpi Petrossian

In Armenian, English, and Turkish with English subtitles

Aurora’s Sunrise


  • Director Inna Sahakyan on how she brought Aurora’s story to the screen

    Filmmaker Inna Sahakyan sits down with Klassiki editorial director Sam Goff to discuss the incredible life story of Aurora Mardiganian, genocide survivor turned silent movie star. Sahakyan reveals how she approached the task of reconstructing Mardiganian’s life onscreen for her hybrid animated do...