Los Angeles, CA – March 27, 2018 – “People don’t really talk about the subject; they keep the story like a bird in a cage. Our film has these metaphors. The central idea of the film is [about preserving] the purity of childhood, even as this war is going on,” said Aren Perdeci (American Cinematography).
From emerging filmmakers who share directing, producing and writing credits, Ela Alyamac (‘Fairy Dust’) and Aren Perdeci (highlighted for his cinematography), is ‘LOST BIRDS’ – “a Turkish- and Armenian-language project, which was shot in the filmmakers’ native Turkey and presents a historical tragedy from the point of view of two children, casting the events in a fairytale atmosphere,” wrote Jon D. Witmer from American Cinematography.
Photo: Bedo and Maryam from American Cinematographer.
Set against the backdrop of the 1915 Armenian tragedy, (in what was then the Ottoman Empire), an event that culminated in what is now, outside of modern-day Turkey, ‘LOST BIRDS’ follows two siblings, Bedo (Heros Agopyan) and Maryam (Dila Uluca), who live a happy and peaceful life in the small Armenian village of Anatolia, until the day their grandfather (Sarkis Acemoglu) is apprehended by soldiers. Fearing for their lives, Bedo and Maryam’s mother forbids them to leave the house. But, unaware of her seriousness, the children sneak out to play and to check-in on the bird, Bacik, whom they’ve been nursing back to health.
When the Bedo and Maryam return, they find their house to be empty, their mother to be missing, and the entire village to devoid of life. Embodying the numerous children and others who were left behind during the mass deportations of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire of 1915, Bedo, Maryam, and Bacik, embark on a dangerous journey, spending nights sleeping underneath the stars of the country side, dreaming of finding and being reunited with their mother.
Photo: “Bedo and Maryam spend a night under the stars after their family vanishes in the exile” – American Cinematographer.
During their expedition, Bedo and Maryam get separated but soon reunite in an orphanage, and sneak away convinced that their mother would have returned for Christmas’ approaching date. When they arrive, the chimney is running with smoke and light is coming through the windows. “The shot structure echoes the house’s first appearance: the home is first seen in a wide, locked-off shot, and then a cut takes the camera handheld, following the children as they run toward the front door,” wrote Witmer.
With no sight of their mother, the children return to the orphanage, embodying a scene that “reveals a large, candlelit room; the orphanage’s administrators gather around a table at the far end, with news that displaced families from Bedo and Maryam’s village have been settling in Aleppo with the help of their village’s priest, Father Mesrop (Arto Arsenyan),” stated Witmer.
Photo: “Mahmut leads Bedo and Maryam through the same cave” (to Aleppo) – American Cinematographer.
Embarking on their next journey to Aleppo, the children set Bacik free and wait to meet their fellow villagers in hopes that they’ll find their mother.
‘LOST BIRDS’ concludes with a flashback scene to the previous Easter dinner – a joyful time before the family became separated. Unlike the original scene of the Easter dinner, this scene is, “a single shot, and we only pull back, where before there were separate shots,” Perdeci explained to Witmer.
“They had this time before, but it’s never going to be like that again. This is the moment the children realize their childhood is gone,” added Perdeci.
Photo: “The children enjoy Easter dinner with their family” – American Cinematographer (first Easter dinner scene).
Noted, as revolutionary in both the film and cultural worlds, Alyamac and Perdeci’s ‘LOST BIRDS’ was the first-ever Turkish production to display the 1915 Armenian tragedy on the big screen, as the film handles the difficult task of telling a dramatic story in a fairytale narrative.
Alyamac and Perdeci met after a film festival they had both entered in Hungary, and quickly became friends. But, it was when Perdeci’s new film subject, one about 1915 told from the eyes of two children that intrigued Alyamac, as almost immediately the two began writing the screenplay for ‘LOST BIRDS’.
Photo from: American Cinematographer.
Heart wrenching yet enchanting, ‘LOST BIRDS’ has captured “the heartbreaking beauty of love and loss,” stated Alyamac. The film beautifully tackles the task of telling a dramatic, heartbreaking tragedy through a fairytale-like narrative, leading the audience to feel something enchanting – yet very real at the same time.
‘We wanted to make it very magical,” Alyamac remarked to Witmer.
To create an authentic re-telling of the 1915 tragedy, Alyamac and Perdeci compiled almost 100 pages of notes, referred to as a “visual map”, or one that included visual inspirations, photo boards, storyboards, and more. They were able to re-create mirror images of the village by utilizing locations that were near Urgup, in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey.
As the filmmakers paid great attention to the little details, Alyamac told Witmer that, “people would give us real props to use in the film – a nightgown from their great-grandmother, a doll, a camera, everything,” signifying the vitality of re-capturing the genuine lives of those affected by the tragedy.
“People don’t really talk about the subject; they keep the story like a bird in a cage. Our film has these metaphors. The central idea of the film is [about preserving] the purity of childhood, even as this war is going on,” Perdeci articulated to Witmer.
To honor those impacted by the 1915 Armenian tragedy and to send the message of harmony and peace between conflicting countries universally, TriCoast Entertainment invites family and friends of all ages to watch the emotional, yet heartwarming historical film, ‘LOST BIRDS’, screening in Glendale, CA on April 24th, 2018 in respect for Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
“The journey continues,” Perdeci mused [to American Cinematographer]. “And we are very happy on this journey. It’s the most important thing, after all.”
‘LOST BIRDS’ stars several first-time actors, Heros Agopyan as ‘Bedo’ and Dila Uluca as ‘Maryam’. Alongside is Sarkis Acemyan as ‘Grandpa Yetvart’, Arto Arsenyan as ‘Father Mesrop’, and Takuhi Bahar as ‘Kinar’. For more information about the ‘LOST BIRDS’ screening in Glendale, CA and to attend with press passes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks: Jon D. Witmer, American Cinematographer
LOST BIRDS (2017, 90 min.) Written and directed by Ela Alyamac and Aren Perdeci. Editor: Ela Alyamac, Aren Perdeci. Cinematographer: Aren Perdeci. Sound department: Eli Haligua, Burak Topalakci, Caglar Yesilay. US. English. Kara Kedi Films, TriCoast Entertainment.
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Kara Kedi Films.
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