SOAD to appear at AFI fest Nov. 2nd on Screamers


“Screamers” highlights System of a Down’s 2005 world tour. It includes long takes of 7 live performances in many cities from London to Los Angeles. Their music also serves as back ground to many of the other clips in the film.

The most interesting S.O.A.D. parts of the film, however, are the interviews with the band members talking about the personal importance of helping create awareness and recognition of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. They are caught on the tour bus playing around at times, but the story-re-telling of events of the Genocide that they have heard from their grandparents, is the films focus.
The best footage of this includes older home-video footage of Serj’s grandfather, (one of the few remaining survivors of the Armenian Genocide in the world!), and interactions with Serj and his grandfather as of last spring.

There is a very special “sneak preview” for “Screamers” at the AFI fest November 2nd and 3rd. People can get tickets now. It is also confirmed that the entire band and director will be there the night of the 2nd.

For more information about this project including image gallery and video trailer check out:


The Holocaust, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur….

And every time a U.S. president, a British Prime Minister, a U.N. Secretary General says, “Never again.” Yet it happens-again, and again, and again….Why? Because, our leaders say, We didn’t know.Yet they did know recent studies have shown that the British knew conclusively what was going on at Auschwitz…yet buried that knowledge in their files because it would have forced them to change their war plans.

 Everyone knew what was going on in Cambodia, post-the Vietnam War, as the Academy Award-winning movie “The Killing Fields” demonstrates … yet the powers that be declined to admit it, for fear they would have to do something.In Carla Garapedian’s powerful new film, “Screamers,” Pulitzer prize-winner Samantha Power says President after President, Democrat and Republican, have known about genocides as they were happening … but have chosen not to act.

In Iraq, Reagan did not want the horrors of Saddam Hussein’s massacre against the Kurds to come out, because then he would have to do something to stop him. In Bosnia, world television coverage of the genocide convinced the international community to step in…but only after 200,000 had been murdered.
In Rwanda, Bill Clinton did not want the true horrors to come out …because then he would have to do something. And now, in Darfur, George Bush has finally declared the desolation of the Southern Sudan a “genocide”-yet refused to do what it takes to stop it.
Why? Because, once again, as in 1915, when the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, first reported the wholesale extermination of the Armenian population by the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia, it was denied so the United States would not be forced to act.
That reaction gave Hitler his impetus for the Holocaust: “Who remembers the Armenians?” he declared in 1939, before ordering the murder of 6 million European Jews.
In “Screamers,” Garapedian traces the history of modern-day genocide-and genocide denial- from the fertile “Holy Mountains” of Anatolia to the current atrocities in Darfur .
This documentary is as shattering as it is powerful,which includes interviews and live performance footage with System Of A Down, the multi-platinum, Grammy-Award winning rock band, all of whose members are Armenian-American.

The film is laced with seven of the band’s songs from “Holy Mountains” to “P.L.U.C.K.” to the #1 hit “B.Y.O.B.” that illuminate the band’s views on political and social issues. Conceived by longtime collaborators Peter McAlevey and Carla Garapedian (herself an Armenian-American and documentary director of “Lifting the Veil” and “Children of the Secret State”), “Screamers” came together in the summer 2004 after producer McAlevey (“Radio Flyer,” “Shadow Hours”) approached System of a Down’s legendary producer Rick Rubin about partnering with the band to make a documentary about one of their main causes – recognition of the Armenian genocide.With Rubin’s support, Garapedian met System Of A Down, who endorsed the film’s important message-how the world’s denial of the Turk’s Armenian genocide contributed to the continuing crisis of international genocides ever since – from Armenia to Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and present-day Darfur.The cameras followed System Of A Down on their European and American tours last summer and fall as they promoted their new, two-album set, “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize.” (Their collective record sales have totaled over 16 million albums worldwide With the band’s cooperation, McAlevey and Garapedian, along with British producer Nick de Grunwald, secured a deal with BBC Television for UK TV rights.The film was mainly financed by The Raffy Manoukian Charity in the UK.Returning to the USA, Garapedian teamed up with McAlevey stalwarts — DP Charles Rose, editor Bill Yahraus, post-production supervisor Robin M. Rosenthal and production manager Don West — as the band continued its tour in the States.She attempted to track down House Speaker Dennis Hastert (who, according to Vanity Fair magazine, has taken $500,000 in campaign contributions from the Turks in return for allowing an Armenian genocide recognition bill from ever being passed by the House of Representatives), visited a 100-year-old survivor and, most importantly, spent time with lead vocalist’s Serj Tankian’s grandfather, one of the few remaining eyewitnesses of the genocide.

Finally, just this spring, seven months after staging a protest rally at Dennis Hastert’s offices in Illinois (dubbed “Dennis, Do the Right Thing”), Tankian and drummer John Dolmayan confronted Hastert in the Capital Rotunda … luckily, the cameras were there.With an ending filmed in the actual village in Turkey where the massacre of Tankian’s ancestors began, set against the ghostly strains of the hit “Holy Mountains,” Garapedian’s film comes full circle from 1915 through the horrors of 20th and 21st Century genocide in Darfur … to a finale of ghostly images of real ancestors that will never be forgotten.
While most of the concert footage had been handled in Europe, Garapedian faced the harder challenge of linking it all to the current political debate on genocide – in Europe, Turkey and the United States.

In America, the pressure was on the Bush Administration to acknowledge its own historical record and recognize the first genocide of the 20th Century, thus setting the stage for a worldwide recognition and reparations.

Here luck played a hand again-while age alone has decimated the population of eyewitness survivors of the massacres, one turned out to be Serj’s own grandfather, Stepan Haytayan. Stepan is one of the only survivors who survived the death march from Efkere, the village Serj’s family came from in Turkey.

Fortunately, despite being in poor health, Serj’s grandfather had been videotaped by Serj a few years earlier and that, combined with Carla’s research on the village from historical archives in Harvard and Britain, helped flesh out the story of what happened the day the massacres started and the forced death marches that followed.
Then, luck intervened again -in the middle of this process word reached the filmmakers that an Armenian-American survivor of the genocide had just turned 100 in Connecticut … and received a letter from Vice-President Dick Cheney congratulating her on her good fortune in surviving the “Armenian genocide.”

It was the first time a ranking American vice-president had ever used the “g-word” officially to describe what the Turks had done. All of this just at the time the State Department was in the process of recalling its U.S. Ambassador to Armenia for using the “g-word” in connection with the Armenian genocide.

And also at a time when Congress was being asked to recognize the genocide and Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, was in the political hot-seat, not least by the FBI whistle-blower, Sibel Edmonds, who consented to appear in the film.Racing to Connecticut to interview this survivor before the White House could recall the letter, Garapedian also had the good fortune to interview Henry Morgenthau III, whose grandfather had been the U.S.

Ambassador to Turkey at the time and witnessed the massacres with his own eyes, as well Pulitzer prize-winning Harvard Professor Samantha Power, whose 2002 book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” demonstrates how all the subsequent genocides of the 20th and 21st Centuries date back to our simple inability to admit what the Turks did to the Armenians.
Again, as Hitler said in ordering the destruction of European Jewry, “Who remembers the Armenians?”

Well, Power does-as does every Armenian, anywhere in the world. As do Rwandans who have an exhibit on the Armenian genocide at the very sight where the worst killing was perpetrated. As Power argues in the movie, the problem with genocide is “you can’t kill them all; there are always survivors.”

And those survivors, Power says, become the “Screamers,” the one’s who can’t rest until the world knows what has happened –
Elie Wiesel on the Holocaust, David Puttnam making “The Killing Fields” about what happened in Cambodia, Dennis Quaid giving a year of his life to a film about Bosnia or Don Cheadle starring in the acclaimed “Hotel Rwanda.”

And, in the end, that’s what “Screamers” is all about-an internationally produced film by an equally international crew that uses the music of a band of genocide survivors to explicate one of the great questions of our time:

‘Can we stop genocide? Do we really mean ‘never again?’

In the end, as lead singer Serj Tankian stands, surveying mountains very like those of his native Anatolia (and System’s mournful song “Holy Mountains” plays in the background),

Garapedian’s cameras track through the rocky remains of Efkere, his grandfather’s ruined village, as images of the sacrifice in each household appear and the roll call of the dead continues:
“Armenia-1.5 million dead; The Holocaust-6 million dead; Cambodia-2 million dead; Rwanda-800,000 dead; Bosnia-200,000 dead; Darfur-400,000 dead

and counting.”

As Serj Tankian says at the end: “I think we should all be Screamers.”


4 Responses to “Screamers”

  1. 1 Jessica November 8, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    The hyperlink in this story that says “Armenian Genocide” (, the page that it links to has been hacked by some loser Turkish hacker (making hackers everyhere look bad), so you might want to remove the link.

  2. 2 Jessica November 8, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    I looked at the web source and they only hacked the entry page and left the source intact (lame ass skiddies making real hackers look bad), so you can get in through (or a similar link, anything that isn’t the homepage). They’ll have to do more than a god-AWFUL attempt at hacking to silence the truth.

  3. 3 Jessica November 8, 2006 at 11:22 pm

    The site is back to normal now. I didn’t think about it, but this kind of crap probably happens all the time. It’s such a waste of computer skills on someone so ignorant.

  4. 4 zum November 11, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    jessica, thanks so much for the info.
    wow yes how lame is that. some idiot scriptkiddie at work. and of course these “attempts” are just “attempts”.
    these websites have backups and they will put the site right back on track.

    thanks for coming by here.

    ps: are you armenian btw?

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