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'Straw Dolls': A Film about the Armenian Genocide

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#1 Yervant1


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Posted 18 January 2015 - 09:35 AM

'Straw Dolls': A Film about the Armenian Genocide

By Contributor on January 16, 2015 in Books & Art

LOS ANGELES--New Jersey native and filmmaker Jon Milano is honoring his
connection to the Armenian community with "Straw Dolls," a film that
focuses on the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

"Having grown up with such a strong Armenian community in New Jersey,
this is a subject that is close to my heart," Milano said. "Your
friends have influence on you, whether you want to admit it or not.
And though I wasn't born into the culture you certainly adapt and
understand the history."
Milano recently detailed the two-year process of producing and
directing the film. "It is only controversial when people make it
controversial. It is true that the Turkish government has not
recognized this atrocity; however, we did not set out to make a film
to protest the Turkish government but rather tell a story that
Hollywood is unwilling to tell."

Milano said he wanted to make sure that the film was 100 percent
historically accurate and that thestories he told were true. "We took
very little creative liberties with the film, knowing full well that
when we make this film, it must be rooted in truth. Hence why the film
took two years of research."

The research uncovered hundreds of journals, photographs, survivor
interviews, and academic books. And when Douglas Kalajian, author of
Stories My Father Never Finished Telling, became involved, the team
was able to uncover rare stories that stood alone among the
atrocities. "We wanted to find stand-alone stories, slices of a much
larger tale," Milano said.

The film stars award-winning Iranian-Armenian actress Mary Apick and
Marco Khan(ian) ("10,000 BC" (2008) and "God's Not Dead" (2014)), with
a full ensemble of young Armenian actors. Once the cast was secured,
Milano explained, finding Armenia in Southern California was the next
task at hand. "We didn't anticipate it to be an easy feat, but we also
didn't expect it to take as long as it did." After 36 location scouts
encompassing all of Los Angeles County, the team expanded its search
north of the city.

"We had toured numerous movie ranches in the area, but everyone of
them either didn't meet our needs or out-weighed our budget. But then
we found it, and in Simi Valley of all places." The location is not a
stranger to Hollywood, as it was home to Quentin Tarantino's "Django
Unchained" (2012) and "Saving Mr. Banks" (2013). "Needless to say we
felt in good hands."
Photography of the film was completed in November 2014 and is slated
to premiere in Los Angeles and Yerevan on April 24, 2015.

"Regardless of the outcome, we made this film not only for ourselves
but for the Armenian people," Milano said.



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