In 1915, as WWI rages on, the Ottoman Empire systematically begins to deport and massacre its entire Armenian population. Only 14 years old, Aurora is forced onto a death march towards the Syrian desert, she loses her entire family and is sold to be part of a harem. But through twists of fate as well as her determination and courage, she manages to escape and finally flee to the United States. Soon the press becomes aware of her story and the teenage girl becomes a bestselling author. When Hollywood decides to turn her story into a silent movie she is asked to act in the film as herself. On set she relives all the atrocities she was trying so hard to forget… The film eventually becomes a box-office hit all over the United States. And Aurora becomes the face of what is still the largest humanitarian campaign in American history, collecting large amounts of donations for Armenian orphans and refugees.
But eventually all film reels disappear and with them the memory of Aurora’s story. Just a few months after her death a film fragment of 18 minutes is re-discovered! On this basis as well as her own testimony and the magic of artfully crafted animation, Aurora’s incredible odyssey is revived. The inspiring story of a woman, who refused to be a victim no matter what stood in her way.
Inna Sahakyan, Kerstin Meyer-Beetz, Peter Liakhov
Vardan Hovhannisyan, Christian Beetz, Justė Michailinaitė, Kęstutis Drazdauskas, Eric Esrailian, Inna Sahakyan
Commissioning editor ZDF/arte
Coproduced by BARS MEDIA, gebrueder beetz filmproduktion, ARTBOX laisvalaikio klubas and ZDF
In cooperation with ARTE
This film was made possible with the academic contribution of the Zoryan Institute and is based on its Oral History Archive