The idea for the documentary “From Ararat to Zion” was born four years ago, as I reflected on how little the outside world knows of the significant Armenian presence in the Holy Land. During a year of research, I became convinced that there is a powerful story here which needs to be told – the story of how a small nation can fulfill a mission that serves the wider world beyond its borders.
The documentary focuses attention on facts that have been often overlooked in telling the history of the Holy Land, and have enriched my own understanding of my identity as an Armenian. Against the background of all the contemporary religious, cultural, and political divisions that torment the Holy Land, I have tried to explore a sacred terrain that is shared by all, without partiality to taking any ethnic or religious position out of the general human context.
The heroes of our story are the pilgrims who have travelled to the Holy Land through the centuries. In the course of the narrative, we follow in the footsteps of these pilgrims who looked death in the face as they made their perilous journeys. We have tried to approach the Holy Shrines not just as filmmakers, but as pilgrims ourselves, trying to see and feel what the pilgrims saw and felt.
The process of shooting the film turned out to be so dramatic that we ourselves came close to being, like the early pilgrims, people who looked death in the face. The documentary is our own personal story, told in all its vividness.
The director of the documentary, Edgar Baghdasaryan, does a fine job in bringing out the many mystical and emotional layers of the story. The beautiful music of Lisa Gerrard and Ara Torosyan gives the film a living warmth. Aidan Quinn’s exceptional narrative becomes the authentic voice of the story, weaving together the visuals and the music.
Shooting the documentary took us on three trips to Israel, one to Egypt, and one to Turkey. Many individual sponsors and foundations contributed to the project, and I extend my deepest gratitude to them.
Although we are telling the story of one particular nation, our film is about all the nations of the world whose role in history has been obscured. All of them have had to pay a high price to survive and to keep their place on the stage of history.