A century after the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire, Turkey still won’t recognize it occurred and President Obama won’t press the issue either. But a filmmaker raised in Sarasota wants to make sure the event is not ignored on this important anniversary. Professional vlogger Datev Gallagher has spent the past seven months working on the short film I Am Armenian, a 26-minute documentary telling the story of the genocide through its impact on her own family. “It’s a part of history that is not officially recognized, but over 1.5 million died and suffered,” Gallagher said. “I’m just trying to do justice for these people.”
Watch the entire film here:
Gallagher, of Armenian descent on her mother’s side, graduated from New Gate School in 2007 before studying film at Florida State University, where she graduated in 2010. Today, Gallagher lives in Nevada, accomplishing the impressive feat of paying her bills through daily video blogging on the YouTube channel ladiedottie. The channel has more than 94,000 subscribers and nearly 21 million views.
I Am Armenian, though, was released ad-free, a passion project intended to raise awareness of the genocide. April 24 is recognized in Armenia as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, with today serving as the 100-year anniversary. Most states recognize the day, though alliances with Turkey has made the federal government wary of recognition, and presidents from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama have avoided any acknowledgement of the event as a genocide.
The film chronicles Gallagher’s own interest in the event after being contacted by a cousin and then looking at her own family’s roots in the tragedy. “It’s a dangerous thing to talk about,” Gallagher said. In the course of filming, she and her family scour old newspaper accounts and the paths of individuals directly and indirectly touched by the event.
While officially recognizing the genocide remains controversial, the story is not new to most people within the Armenian community, she said. But she hopes the reach of the tale is expanded by this film. “I want to educate people who haven’t heard of it,” she said.
Gallagher pushed to have a product ready for the centennial of the tragedy and posted it online Thursday. In less than 24 hours, the film had been viewed more than 12,700 times.