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Under the Walnut Tree

Leah Bedrosian Peterson
United States, 2018, 6 min.

In Armenian with English subtitles.

A young boy has been displaced during the massacre of his people and his family. After wandering alone for days, he is ready to give up but fights to continue to safety. His struggle for survival ends when he finds his mother singing to a lifeless body. Under The Walnut Tree is loosely based on the true story of Shahan Natalie, who survived the Hamidian Massacres (also known as the Armenian Massacres) which were the precursor to the Armenian Genocide.

Director's Statement

After I discovered the story of Shahan Natalie, I spent time thinking about his experiences and imagining his life and the impetus that lead him to become the leader of a group of assassins. During further research, I read about the circumstances he went through as a young boy and thought about the world that we are in now and the conditions that so many refugees are dealing with- that's really where the inspiration for Under the Walnut Tree began. While I wanted to honor my own Armenian heritage and educate viewers about the struggles that my ancestors went through, I also wanted to make my film accessible to a broader audience not just an Armenian one.

Category: Animation.
Themes: Family, War.

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