DOCUMENTARY / A NEW ARMENIA

A New Century Begins
A New Armenia is a 60-minute public television documentary film and educational outreach initiative that tells the stories of fascinating Armenian Americans working to preserve their Armenian culture while also impacting American culture through music, business, politics, art, religion, theatre, and volunteerism. 

The Project
A New Armenia is a feature documentary film for public television (PBS) stations across the United States. It will be paired with a significant national outreach education initiative. The project is designed by successful public television producers Stephanie Ayanian, Joseph Myers, and Tom Keiter. It is executive produced by Alexis Alexanian who has over twenty years of industry experience as a producer and consultant to major industry players. She is currently President of Production at LOCOMOTIVE, a film, television and financing company that Executive Produced Rebecca Miller’s Maggie’s Plan, starring Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore which is currently in theaters.

  • First major film to tell the inspiring stories of today’s Armenians from across the United States, and not focusing on the Genocide.
  • Stories act as exemplars for Armenian Americans, offering them models of success for the next century.
  • Non-Armenians gain an appreciation for a rich and ancient Armenian culture that is being actively adapted and advanced in communities across the country today.
  • Reaching 211 million Americans and creating tangible impact through a successful public television model.
  • Broad outreach initiative including K-12 curriculum, social media campaign, and live cultural events for the Armenian and non-Armenian public.
  • Supported by Armenian organizations, including Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), Knights and Daughters of Vartan, Armenia Tree Project, and Armenian Youth Federation (AYF).

Financial Status and Ask
Approximately $150,000 from foundations, organizations, and individuals has already been donated to A New Armenia to develop and begin filming. We are now aggressively fundraising, as we have a very strict timeline for completing funding – we have significant additional funding pledges secured, but they are contingent on the rest of the funds being pledged this year. We must receive new pledges totaling $207,000 by December 31, 2016 (monies received during the course of 2017) in order to complete the film.

Rationale
The Genocide of 1915 left Armenia and the Armenian populations devastated, but today there are over 10 million worldwide and Armenians in the United States are thriving in numbers. Still, the Armenian language and traditions are endangered, and a large majority of Americans have never heard of the Armenians or of Armenia. We aim to address this.

Our research has uncovered many Armenian Americans leading fascinating lives, doing important work, and providing inspiring portraits – the types of stories that are popular with audiences because they educate, they create empathy, and they expand an audience’s awareness of the world. We will share these stories widely both to inspire Armenian Americans and to educate non-Armenians.

Reaching Non-Armenians
Compelling portraits will inherently be inspirational to Armenian Americans, but what about the non-Armenian public that we want to reach? Many projects have introduced Armenians to the non-Armenian public by focusing on the Genocide. This makes sense to Armenians because the Genocide affects their lives so deeply. However, there is a more effective way to reach the broader public.

  • First, engage audiences with compelling, real, relatable characters working to embrace, preserve, and adapt Armenian culture today.
  • Then, as audiences start to relate to these inspiring human characters, they will begin to care.
  • Finally, the now-empathetic audience takes a greater interest when Armenians are in the news and Armenian causes require support.

Progress
storyshop has spent over a year researching and filming the stories of Armenian Americans, organizing internationally recognized content advisors, outreach partners, and cultivating the relationship with PBS to enable the production and distribution of A New Armenia. The company is diligently filming stories and continuing to position relationships for successful distribution in communities all over the United States. storyshop is half-way through filming.

Market
Public television (PBS) is the nation’s largest broadcast platform for reaching and creating an informed citizenry. Their educational platform includes broadcast television, mobile devices, online interactive content and social media, and extensive classroom resources. PBS is watched by 211 million Americans through TV, their primetime audience is larger than Bravo, A&E, HBO, and Discovery Channel. PBS also reaches 1 million Armenians in the United States. 

Public television viewers are educated and seek programming that is often ethnographic in nature. The target audience for A New Armenia is people interested in ethnographic programming and audiences of all ages interested in engaging stories.

The Production Company
The storyshop team has experience bringing inspiring educational documentaries and outreach initiatives from creative concept through distribution on public television (PBS). Partners Stephanie Ayanian, Joseph Myers, and Tom Keiter have decades of experience working together and successfully sharing educational stories with public television audiences, garnering countless awards and recognition by international organizations. They have partnered with institutions such as The Verizon Foundation, The American Society of Civil Engineers, and The Pennsylvania State University, as well as many others. 

storyshop projects have a track record of large and successful outreach initiatives. Partner work has been screened internationally in public education programs, including supporting the efforts of institutions, educators, policy makers, governments, and celebrities. Communities across the U.S. have held public screenings and discussions around each film, K-12 schools and universities have used educational toolkits in the classroom, and social media campaigns have increased visibility and impact.

Executive Producer Alexis Alexanian has over twenty years of industry experience as a producer and consultant to major industry players. She is currently President of Production at LOCOMOTIVE, a film, television and financing company that Executive Produced Rebecca Miller’s Maggie’s Plan, starring Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore which is currently in theaters. She is working with storyshop to shepherd the project to completion. 
    
The Stories
The film follows a select set of individuals, all chosen to resonate with non-Armenian audiences as well as with Armenians. The project will document their lives, work projects, struggles and triumphs over nearly a year in each of their lives. Each in their own way, they work to perpetuate culture and preserve Armenian identity

The 3-minute video below offers an example of our professionalism and a chance to hear from the project's originator, Stephanie Ayanian. It was produced before we began this project, and is no longer entirely representative of our film's content, which will consist of the real-person stories of Armenian Americans today.