Constantinople, April 24 1915. As the British prepared their landings in nearby Gallipoli, hundreds of arrest warrants are issued across the city. The arrival of police at poet Taniel Varoujan’s door would shatter his home, destroy his work, and his family would never see him again.

Film Noir in style, “Taniel” pays homage to the era of dramatic filmmaking with extreme lighting and camera angles. The narrative is mostly heard through poetry, with Varoujan’s poems in Armenian expressing the emotions in each of the scenes; and narrative poetry in English delivered with an emotive depth of feeling by Sean Bean.

Taniel has recently finished taking part in the film festival circuit. It won two awards at the Bermuda International Film Festival, Best Short Film award at ARPA International Film Festival and Don Quixote special mention award at Avanca Festival. The film was also selected by a number of festivals all over the world, including Sydney, Toronto, Bucharest, Washington DC, Buenos Aires etc, as well as by the Golden Apricot International Film Festival, Shetland’s Screenplay Festival, curated by Mark Kermode; and one of the oldest festivals in Europe in Montecatini. Taniel also had some very special screenings at The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan and at the iconic Lincoln Center in New York. The film also had two very emotional screenings in 2019, tracing the poet’s footsteps in Istanbul, at Hrant Dink Foundation; and at Ghent University in Belgium, Varoujan’s alma mater.

Taniel and I

Poetry producer Tatevik Ayvazyan talks about her love of Varoujan’s poetry and how it was chosen for the film

Sean Bean

Finding the narrator’s voice for “Taniel”