Tülin Özdemir: Beyond the Ararat

When I visited the Golden Apricot Festival in Yeravan a couple of weeks ago its was obvious that every second film project launched in the so-called industry section was meant to compete for the money that is reserved by many for 2015, 100 years after the Armenian Genocide, 1 to 1,5 million people are estimated to have been killed by order of the Ottoman government.

Armenians will do films, so will Turks, and Turks and Armenians together and all public broadcasters are expected to broadcast on the theme. Some maybe through thematic evenings? There will be a lot of journalism and debates about the official Turkish current denial to call what happened a genocide.

Well, there are other approaches and tv people could start by watching young Tülin Özdemir’s fine ”Beyond the Ararat”. It is a personal film, told by the director with a beautiful text and with her as the one who takes the spectator on a journey from her home in Brussels to Istanbul and from there to the Anatolia of her family – to end up in Yerevan, Armenia. Even if the film goes beyond the theme of the genocide, it has in its focus the young director’s painful search for identity, and wish to know more about what has apparently been a silenced taboo in her family.

On her way she meets women of same age as herself, she meets a grandmother in Anatolia who grieves her Osnan, and she listens to the words of the tragic legend about Tamara and Ali, who could not have each other due to their different origin, the Christian and the Muslim. It is a film that has its own sad tone and formidable images accompanied sometimes by quotes from Zabel Essayan’s ”Dans les ruines – le massacre d’Adana 1909”.  



Belgium, 2013, 55 mins. Stenola Production, coprod. Associate Directors.

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3876