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The Sandcastle Girls Making Film Inroads

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Old 27 Jul 16, 17:41   #1 (permalink)
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Post The Sandcastle Girls Making Film Inroads

LINCOLN, Vt.At a time when the Armenian community is bursting at the seams for a legitimate film about the genocide, Chris Bohjalians gem The Sandcastle Girls is making headway.

Its enough to celebrate what is destined to become a monumental achievement for Armenians who have waited patiently for such a Hollywood breakthrough in light of persistent Turkish intervention.

Bohjalian speaking to an audience at Columbia about his book The Sandcastle Girls (Photo: Robert V. Kinoian)

Yes, weve had Atom Egoyans Ararat and 1915. Weve applauded the French film Mayrig with Claudia Cardinale and the late Omar Sharif. And lets not forget The Lark Farm, an Italian drama that caused much dissention with Turkish naysayers.

The Sandcastle Girls has been a work in progress ever since 2012, when Bohjalian gushed forth with his prized work. The prolific author remains buoyant in seeing his epic tale transferred to the silver screen. An earlier attempt at a genocide book, he admits, failed miserably.

In his 15th book, Bohjalian brings us on a very different kind of journey as his spellbinding tale travels between Aleppo, Syria, in 1915 and Bronxsville, N.Y., in 2012a sweeping historical love story steeped in the authors Armenian heritage, making it his most personal novel to date.

Although Bohjalian is unsure as to how many copies his book has sold, suffice it to say the hardcover went through 7 printings and the paperback is currently into its 10th. Its reached out to 15 different countries, including Turkey and Russia, and spent 2 months on the best-seller list.

In all, some 5 million copies have slipped into the hands of readers. Since then, Bohjalian has come forth with three other best-sellers, including his most recent, The Guest Room, this year.

The Sandcastle book was received very well in Armenia, he confirmed. I loved meeting with students who have read the Armenian or Russian editions at Yerevan State University. It brings me a smile when I see copies of it at places like Artbridge Bookstore on Abovyan Street or at the Cafesjian in downtown Yerevan.

A day seldom passes when Bohjalian doesnt hear from readers of book groups telling him how much the book moved them because previously they had known nothingnothing at allof the genocide.

At least three of four times a week, other readers ask me why Turkey still denies the genocide, he points out. And many others of non-Armenian descent express their frustration as to why the United States refuses to use the word genocide or recognize it officially.

A Turkish publishers edition is slated to hit the streets this winter. How it will be received becomes a matter of conjecture.

In the current environment there, I think their decision to publish my book is an act of real bravery, the author agrees.

Bohjalian film liaison Eric Nazarian tells us theres a ton going on with the film at the moment.

Its in prep and were casting, he confirms. It remains an intricate process. Were still in the crewing-up phase and planning a lot. There is still a lot to do.

In his multi-faceted role with the film, Nazarian actually wears three hats: screenwriter/director/producer. Thanks to a mutual friend (former Armenian Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian), the connection with Bohjalian grew mutual.

Their friendship was cemented on trips to Western Armenia and Istanbul. Since then, Nazarian has given his heart and soul to get this movie debuted. His script remains poignant and powerful, according to Bohjalian, and utterly perfect.

Its magisterial, added Bohjalian. I love every scene and every wordthe myriad ways his vision brings my novel to life. It has been his Herculean efforts as a director and producer. Eric will run craft services and wire klieg lights to himself if thats what it will take to get this film out. He has been spectacularly generous with his wisdom and research.

Ever since he was 17 and saw Schindlers List and America, America, Nazarian had a dream of telling the Armenian Genocide story on film. It was a dream, a duty, a calling, whatever one wishes to label it.

The images I wanted to make had me by the gills, he revealed. The hope and dream of someday doing it only got stronger over the years when I was at USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Nazarian is currently figuring out scheduling contingencies and budget considerations. He says hes handpicking his crew. As to a specific timetable, that remains to be seen at the moment.

I would honestly not prefer to speculate, Nazarian confirms. I want to let my finished film and the aftermath speak for itself.

The collaboration with Bohjalian has become bona fide and sustainable if anything. Nazarian cannot say enough positives about the film and how adaptable it will become into a full-scale production.

As a screenwriter, I have to get to the filet mignon of the novel and condense the tale, Nazarian points out. Chris is one of the most remarkable authors I have ever adapted with an intrinsic sense of cinema. He graciously gave me his blessing to adapt the novel to fit my vision for the film while, at the same time, retaining the colorful and fundamental characters that made this such a human, empathetic, and sweeping story.


LINCOLN, Vt.At a time when the Armenian community is bursting at the seams for a legitimate film about the genocide, Chris Bohjalians gem The Sandcastle Girls is making headway. Its enough to celebrate what is destined to become a monumental achievement for Armenians who have waited patiently for such a Hollywood breakthrough in light of persistent Turkish intervention. Bohjalian speaking to an audience at Columbia about his book The Sandcastle Girls (Photo: Robert V. Kinoian) Yes, weve had Atom Egoyans Ararat and 1915. Weve applauded the French film Mayrig with Claudia Cardinale and the late Omar Sharif. And lets not forget The Lark Farm, an Italian drama that caused much dissention with Turkish naysayers. The Sandcastle Girls has been a work in progress ever since 2012, when Bohjalian gushed forth with his prized work. The prolific author remains buoyant in seeing his epic tale transferred to the silver screen. An earlier attempt at a genocide book, he admits, failed miserably. In his 15th book, Bohjalian brings us on a very different kind of journey as his spellbinding tale travels between Aleppo, Syria, in 1915 and Bronxsville, N.Y., in 2012a sweeping historical love story steeped in the authors Armenian heritage, making [...]
LINCOLN, Vt.At a time when the Armenian community is bursting at the seams for a legitimate film about the genocide, Chris Bohjalians gem The Sandcastle Girls is making headway. Its enough to celebrate what is destined to become a monumental achievement for Armenians who have waited patiently for such a Hollywood breakthrough in light of persistent Turkish intervention. Bohjalian speaking to an audience at Columbia about his book The Sandcastle Girls (Photo: Robert V. Kinoian) Yes, weve had Atom Egoyans Ararat and 1915. Weve applauded the French film Mayrig with Claudia Cardinale and the late Omar Sharif. And lets not forget The Lark Farm, an Italian drama that caused much dissention with Turkish naysayers. The Sandcastle Girls has been a work in progress ever since 2012, when Bohjalian gushed forth with his prized work. The prolific author remains buoyant in seeing his epic tale transferred to the silver screen. An earlier attempt at a genocide book, he admits, failed miserably. In his 15th book, Bohjalian brings us on a very different kind of journey as his spellbinding tale travels between Aleppo, Syria, in 1915 and Bronxsville, N.Y., in 2012a sweeping historical love story steeped in the authors Armenian heritage, making [...]
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