Aurora's Sunrise

  • List Title
  • FIFDH-Geneva-23
  • Mradasdoc
  • Asian world
  • APSA
  • AIFF
  • Apricot
  • FFHH
  • Fantoche
  • Annecy
  • Buffalo
  • doclisboa
  • List Title

She is a best-selling author, a Hollywood sensation, a teenage survivor of Armenian genocide.
She is Aurora Madriganian, the girl who brought her people’s tragedy to the world.




90 min


Inna Sahakyan



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.

Directed by

Inna Sahakyan

Written by

Inna Sahakyan, Kerstin Meyer-Beetz, Peter Liakhov


Ruben Ghazaryan


Christine Aufderhaar

Art Director

Tigran Arakelyan

Lead Illustrato

Gediminas Skyrius

Produced by

Vardan Hovhannisyan, Christian Beetz, Justė Michailinaitė, Kęstutis Drazdauskas, Eric Esrailian, Inna Sahakyan

Commissioning editor

Martin Pieper (ZDF/arte)

Aurora’s Sunrise
  • „Just in diesem Moment überraschen uns die aus dem Theaterbereich stammenden jungen Regisseure Hans Block und Moritz Riesewieck mit einem erstaunlichen Dokumentarfilm, der seit Monaten Publikum und Kritik auf den wichtigsten Festivals der Welt elektrisiert. Völlig zu Recht: Es ist, als würden einem die Scheuklappen weggerissen, als sähe man das, was sich seit Jahren direkt vor unseren Augen abspielt, zum ersten Mal unverschleiert... eine fesselnde ,Doku noir' mit höchstem Anspruch...Dieser Film müsste an allen Schulen gezeigt werden.“
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


In co-production with

  • Creative EU Media
  • ancine
  • BRDE
  • FSA
  • ProPublica
  • NRW
  • Blue Ice