Armenian Club Hosts War Documentarian

First published in the Dec. 9 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The La Cañada High School Armenian Club recently hosted Emile Ghessen, a documentarian whose latest film is “45 Days: The Fight for a Nation,” which covers the 2020 war in Artsakh, a self-governing region east of Armenia.
Ghessen’s film brings to light the nuances and intricacies of the geopolitics of the Caucasus region. In the film, some of the topics Ghessen discusses are the evolution of warfare and the heavy reliance on misinformation, the use of drone warfare, and the use of Syrian mercenary groups — all of which were used by Azerbaijan during the recent war in Artsakh.
On Sept. 27, 2020, Azerbaijan invaded Artsakh. Ghessen arrived in Artsakh after the war’s start to document what was occurring and its aftermath.

Photos courtesy Emile Ghessen
Emile Ghessen on the frontline with Armenian soldiers in Artsakh.

He also details the humanitarian impact of war, the death and destruction it causes, the lives it shatters and the alleged war crimes committed by Azerbaijan against the Armenian inhabitants, such as bombing places of worship, hospitals, schools and Red Cross vehicles, the use of phosphorous bombs, and torturing and execution-style killing of civilians and prisoners of war.
Ghessen is a former British Royal Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has since made two documentaries, the first on the fight against the Islamic State, and the second about the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
The film is produced by Asko Akopyan, the producer of “Songs of Solomon,” Armenia’s official selection for the 93rd Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.
Ghessen and Akopyan finished a U.S. private screening tour on Sept. 28. The pair recently donated $45,000 from the proceeds of the screenings to four charities that help victims of war and families of fallen soldiers.
The film is currently competing in prestigious film festivals and for the Oscars. A global livestream of “45 Days: The Fight for a Nation” is available through until Dec. 13.