J. Michael Hagopian

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Jakob Michael Hagopian (Armenian: Մայքլ Հակոբ Հակոբյան; October 20, 1913 – December 10, 2010)[1] was an Armenian-born American Emmy-nominated filmmaker.


Hagopian was born to an Armenian family on 20 October 1913, in Kharpert, Mamuret-ul-Aziz Vilayet, Ottoman Empire. In summer of 1915, when the Ottoman soldiers rampaged through Kharpert, Michael's mother hid her child in a mulberry bush and prayed that the soldiers would not find him. Both escaped,[2] and moved to Fresno, California.

Hagopian received an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and after receiving a doctorate in international relations from Harvard University, he went into cinema and founded the Atlantis Films Company, which produced over fifty documentary films on ethnic minorities and foreign lands.[3] He won critical acclaim, including two Emmy nominations for his film The Forgotten Genocide, the first full-length feature on the Armenian Genocide. The film encompassed twenty years of research and nearly 400 witness interviews.

In 1979, Hagopian founded the non-profit Armenian Film Foundation dedicated to preserving the visual and personal histories of the witnesses to the Armenian Genocide.

The pre-release version of Hagopian's 58-minute documentary "The River Ran Red" opened the Eighth Annual Arpa International Film Festival on Oct. 24, 2008 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California, four days after Hagopian’s 95th birthday.[4]

Other awards

  • Arpa Lifetime Achievement Award,
  • Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award, 2006,
  • Jewish World Watch's 'I Witness' Award for dedicating his professional life to chronicling the history of the Armenian people and commemorating victims of the Armenian Genocide.


  • The Witnesses Trilogy
    • Part 3:The River Ran Red (DVD). Armenian Film Foundation. 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Part 2:Germany and the Secret Genocide (DVD). Thousand Oaks, California: Armenian Film Foundation. 2003. OCLC 61369507.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Part 1: Voices from the Lake (DVD). Thousand Oaks, CA: Armenian Film Foundation. 2000. OCLC 60767918.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ararat Beckons (Videotape). Hollywood Film & Video. 1991. OCLC 25074751.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • The Armenian Genocide (DVD). Thousand Oaks, California: Armenian Film Foundation. 1991. OCLC 60768143.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Produced for the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission of the State of California.)
  • Strangers in a Promised Land (DVD). Thousand Oaks, California: Armenian Film Foundation. 1986. OCLC 180933802.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • The Armenian case (DVD). Thousand Oaks, California: Atlantis Productions. 1975. OCLC 71224858.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • The Forgotten Genocide (DVD). United States: Atlantis Productions. 1975. OCLC 60767995.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Cilicia . . . Rebirth in Aleppo (DVD). Thousand Oaks, CA: Armenian Film Foundation. OCLC 181238609.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • California Armenians: The First Generation
  • The Art of Traditional Armenian Cooking
  • Where Are My People? (DVD). Thousand Oaks, CA: Armenian Film Foundation. OCLC 60768330.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Soviet Boy
  • Historical Armenia (DVD). United States: Atlantis Productions. 1967. OCLC 181231956.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. http://www.armenianfilm.org/
  2. America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915, By J. M. Winter, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-521-82958-5, p. 19
  3. Kouymjian, Dickran. "ARMENIANS AND AMERICAN FILM". Le Cinéma Arménie. Paris. 1993: 104–122.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. NAASR to Premiere J. Michael Hagopian’s ‘The River Ran Red’ in Boston, by Andy Turpin, Hairenik, March 11, 2009

External links