Exactly 100 years after the Armenian Massacre committed within Ottoman Empire, a director (Simon Abkarian) is staging a play at the historic Los Angeles Theatre to honor the victims of the massacre. The play stars his enigmatic wife (Angela Sarafyan) as an Armenian woman in 1915 who must make a tragic and controversial decision that will change the course of history. This will not be an ordinary performance. As protesters surround the theater before showtime, and a series of strange accidents spread panic among its actors (Sam Page, Nikolai Kinski) and producer (Jim Piddock), it appears that Simon's mission is far more dangerous than we think—and the ghosts of the past are everywhere.
The film explores many themes, especially that of denial—referring not only to the supposedly 100-year denial of the alleged Armenian Genocide by the Republic of Turkey, but also the many forms of individual denial among the characters in the story.
Critic Martin Tsai, in his Los Angeles Times review, identified 1915 as contemplating "personal tragedy versus collective grief, artistic license versus historical responsibility, revisionist history versus corrective narrative, forgetting versus moving on," and praised the film as "one creative way to do justice to such a monumental topic."
In an interview, co-writer/director Alec Mouhibian said, "How can the past have such power over us in the present, and what are the secret ways in which we deal with it? The target of 1915 is you, the viewer, whoever you are, whatever your background. Everyone who steps into the mystery will experience it in one's own way. We hope you come out of it with a richer connection to your past -- a new way of feeling history."
1915 is the first feature film by Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian. Hovannisian is the author of Family of Shadows and has written for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and other publications. Mouhibian is a writer and comedian whose work has appeared in Slate, The Weekly Standard, and a variety of other publications. He has also been a Media Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Hovannisian and Mouhibian have been collaborating on film and literary projects for more than ten years.
The film was produced by Bloodvine Media, in conjunction with Strongman and mTuckman Media.
Filming took place almost entirely on location at the historic Los Angeles Theatre, in downtown LA. Long believed to be haunted, the theater is its own character in the story, and the deleted scenes include references to one of its founders, Charlie Chaplin.Simon Abkarian as Simon
Angela Sarafyan as Angela
Samuel Page as James
Nikolai Kinski as Tony
Jim Piddock as Jeffrey
Sunny Suljic as Gabriel
Debra Christofferson as Lillian
The original score of the film was composed by Serj Tankian, formerly of System of a Down. It is his first film score.
The theatrical release of 1915 in the United States took place on April 17, 2015, with the film's premiere taking place on April 13 at the Egyptian Theatre in conjunction with the American Cinematheque. It released widely in Russia on April 23, 2015, and in Armenia on April 25, 2015. Its first international preview was at the Maxim Gorky Theatre in Berlin, Germany on April 5, 2015. It released in Australia in June, 2015.
On May 26, 2016, the film was released in the UK. On June 4 it was released in France.
In 2015 it was featured selection in the Golden Apricot International Film Festival, Romanian International Film Festival, and Lake Van International Film Festival in Turkey, where it won the Special Jury Prize. It was also awarded "Best Film" by the World Entertainment Armenian Awards.