PBS to air Armenian genocide documentary

A documentary co-written by Mary McDermott, an adjunct instructor in English at Penn State Brandywine, about the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide will air on Philadelphia’s public broadcasting station WHYY at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 8., the website of the Pennsylvania State University reports.

“What Will Become of Us” follows six Armenian Americans — famous and otherwise — as they navigate the 100th anniversary of the genocide, which began in 1915. According to the film’s website: “Their struggle speaks to the many immigrant communities who have experienced trauma. 100 years ago, were nearly annihilated by genocide. Today, often unrecognized, it remains defining — while the long shadow of the genocide creates a burden for young Armenian Americans, discouraging them from taking up their culture.”

The project began as producer/co-director Stephanie Ayanian, a Penn State graduate, took the idea of making a film about Armenians in America to her filmmaking partners, Joseph Myers and Tom Keiter, also Penn State alumni. According to Ayanian, they decided to make a film that grappled with the long shadow of the Armenian genocide but was also forward-looking, one that would examine what brought Armenians to America, what they have accomplished since they have been here, and the bright path that lies ahead in their future.

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The film was co-written by McDermott and Greg Feinberg.

“Stephanie is a dear friend from my Temple MFA cohort,” McDermott explained. “Before working on this documentary, I thought I was aware of the many accomplishments of Armenian Americans thanks in part to our very long friendship. I also thought I knew about the horrors of the Armenian genocide. But I realized after working on this project for over a year that I had previously known only a little about the trauma and hardships Armenians endured.”

“This film has deepened my appreciation and respect for Armenian Americans — for their indomitable strength — as well as for the people of ,” McDermott added. “I find the people in this documentary and their work incredibly inspiring.”

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