Exclusive: Director Andrew Goldberg talks Armenia, My Home, narrated by Andrea Martin for PBS

KTVB 7, Idaho
Feb 22 2024
Emmy Award-winning director and producer Andrew Goldberg shares his journey in telling the stories of Armenia on PBS with host Mellisa Paul for Idaho Today.
 1:15 PM MST

Armenia, My Home is the latest documentary made for PBS by Emmy Award-winning producer Andrew Goldberg about the reinvigorated Armenia of today with a look back at some of the past. Goldberg's Armenia, My Home is a celebration of rebirth and, for some, a rediscovery by the Armenian diaspora—those people raised here in the USA or Canada who could never find the country of Armenia on their childhood globes or a map. It is a celebration that recalls the nearly 3,000-year-old storied past of the world's first Christian nation surrounded by Iran, Turkey, and Russia, a place where the East and the West blend seamlessly in a culture that has fought and won the forces of war and time. 

We are taken to the Armenian monastery Khor Virap, the capital city of Yerevan, and revisit the Genocide memorial and more, as the ugly history of Armenia is not glossed over in this film. But it is not the sole focus of this film either. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) carried out one of the largest genocides in the world, killing over one million Armenians—put to death by execution or by deliberate exposure and starvation. To this day, Turkey denies the genocidal intent of these mass murders. 

The most breathtaking cinematography is a hallmark of this informative documentary that emphasizes the enviable progress of this tiny nation as we remember the history of Armenia. "One day, my father brought a globe of the world, and like every Armenian, the first thing you do is look for Armenia…it was not there! I was so disappointed that I started crying," said Diary Of A Dead Man author Vahe Berberian, recalling a childhood story. 

Goldberg secured not only revealing interviews by "Armenia, My Home" features prominent voices from the Armenian diaspora including actor Eric Bogosian (HBO's Succession); author Chris Bohjalian (HBO's The Flight Attendant); Pulitzer Prize-winning author Peter Balakian (Black Dog of Fate); journalist Araksya Karapetyan (Good Day LA), author Dawn Anahid Mackeen (The Hundred-Year Walk); Conan O'Brien's assistant Sona Movsesian; and Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of NY. Additional voices include educator Dottie Bengoian, internationally renowned artist Michael Aram, comedian Vahe Berberian, and scholars Ron Suny and Salpi Ghazarian. 

Credit: PBS

The narration colors the deep feelings elicited in this film as Andrea Martin (Only Murders in the Building, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) excels in this capacity. Martin's subtle but poignant delivery underscores the Armenian people's triumphs and resilience as this documentary celebrates the modern-day, independent Armenian Republic and its people there and abroad who yearn to return and see the land for themselves. This program also features interviews with acclaimed scholars such as Samantha Power, Taner Akcam, Halil Berktay, and Israel Charny.

As mentioned, Goldberg's documentary is peppered with notable Armenian people from all walks of life and a cinematically superb exploration of Armenia's terroir-rich cultural tapestry, all enhanced by anecdotal stories that are both deeply moving and, at times, humorous, like Eric Bogosian's yarn about his grandfather who believed there were 'secret Armenians" everywhere and that handsome actor Cary Grant, was one of them. Goldberg uses archival photographs to accompany these fascinating interviews at a pace that percolates with a vibrant soundtrack.  

The spectacular aerial and ground views and cultural revelations of Armenia show the most focal Armenian landmark, Mount Ararat, which is inside Turkey's borders today. Ararat is a word and a place so steeped in biblical history that so many Armenian Americans revere; there is the community Goldberg shows us that boasts personalized license plates all across the USA, uniting these first-born Americans to a place they cherish.  

Today, Armenia is healing and seeing economic reinvigoration but has a way to go for a complete restoration as it once was. According to the social justice website freedomhouse.org, "Armenia is in the midst of a significant transition following mass antigovernment protests and elections in 2018 that forced out an entrenched political elite…The country continues to be seriously affected by the 2020 conflict with Azerbaijan, which saw several months of fighting over control of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh." [source]

Tune in: Armenia, My Home begins airing on February 23 on PBS stations.