RIFF Movies Archive

Charents: In Search of My Armenian Poet

South Africa, 2009, HDV - Color - 98

Shareen Anderson

Shareen Anderson

Tigran Nazaryan

Lusine Grigoryan, Tigran Mansurian

Shareen Anderson, Tigran Nazaryan, Sevan Naccasshian

Fort Greene Filmworks

Fort Greene Filmworks


Charents: In Search of My Armenian Poet explores the life and work of one of Armenia's best-loved poets, Eghishe Charents, who was tragically and mysteriously killed in a Stalinist prison in 1937.Who was this man, this poet? If you ask anyone today, without hesitation, they would say Charents was the poet of the people. A man who knew, in fact, lived through, his country’s tumultuous history: witnessing a brutal genocide against his people, experiencing the loss of Armenia’s historic homelands, and the despair and hunger that followed – civil war and then REVOLUTION that brought a new hope, only to be followed by the gloom and terror of the Stalinist years. More than just a victim of the times, Charents became a martyr to his people and many consider him to be the father of modern Armenian literature.This literary travelogue takes viewers on a journey from Armenia to the poet's birthplace in Kars, Turkey, with Grikor Babakhanyan - a poet in his own right – who, together with his friend and historian Volodya Arushanyan, set off to discover Charents’ birth home in Kars, Turkey. Traveling through Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey, Grikor and Volodya make new acquaintances that share their enthusiasm for Charents’ poetry. Along their path, the inimitable beauty of the Transcaucasian mountainous landscape is revealed.Weaving in between Grigor's journey to the poet's birthplace are stylized readings of Charents' poems and interviews with experts and ordinary people, creating a fascinating narrative of the poet's life and works.

Cinematographer/DP, Director, Producer, Submission Contact, Writer Shareen Anderson is an independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York and Johannesburg, South Africa. Charents: In Search of My Armenian Poet is her feature-length documentary directorial debut. She first came across the poems of Charents while she was in graduate school at St. Petersburg State University in Russia and decided to write about his poems in her master's thesis. Inspired not only by his works, but also by his life, she always wanted to make a film about him. Fifteen years later, that dream has become a reality.Shareen also co-directed and co-produced with filmmaker Lisa Henry the critically-acclaimed eight-part documentary series entitled "Saving Soweto" for Al Jazeera English, which follows the doctors and patients at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa. She and Lisa Henry also co-directed and co-produced a one hour documentary entitled "Forgotten Freedom Fighters", also for Al Jazeera English, about heroes of the South African liberation struggle against Apartheid, who are now living in poverty and anonymity.Additionally, Shareen has also worked on a variety of other projects: Prison Town, U.S.A, a feature length documentary about prison expansion for the American P.O.V. strand on PBS, Families: The Wonder of Toddlers also for PBS, Beyond Blue: Mankind's Deepest Dive for RTVi, Uncle Sam Wants You!, a 2 hour special for A&E following US Marines as they find young recruits, the award-winning Food Network specials After Midnight: New York and After Midnight: Las Vegas, and Take This Job... a 13 part series for A&E on how Americans make a living. This series spawned four additional hit reality series for A&E: Dog The Bounty Hunter, Family Plots, King of Cars, and Parking Wars. She also worked on The Sacred Truth: The Blue Hole of Dahab, which took the Gran Prix at the Belgrade International Underwater Film Festival and The Empty Tomb, a one hour documentary about the Great Pyramid, both for RTVi.Shareen graduated from St. Petersburg State University, Russia with an MA in Russian Language and Literature in 1994, and from Washington State University with a BA in French and Russian in 1989. A California native, she has lived and worked extensively in the US, Russia, Armenia, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Ukraine, France, and England, and South Africa.




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