Friday, August 1, 2014

Laying it all out on the table, Historically speaking

East of Byzantium : War Gods and Warrior Saints forges yet another  industry standard.   

EoB Creator and Director Roger Kupelian has helmed a breakout look for Series Writer William Marten's concept, which was to get all the historic experts in one room and engaged around one table.  Los Angeles-based historians were joined by colleagues from Italy and New Zealand, many of whom had already been working with Kupelian on his Graphic Novel series. Due to his experience in documentaries and reality television, it was agreed Martens would direct this key segment.

In order to give the assembled experts something to physically interact with during their discussions, Kupelian designed the table and accompanying tabletop pieces to reflect a raw, primal look and reflect key locations, symbols and characters of the epic two-parter.  Please check out IMDB for a list of credits on this project.








Friday, July 11, 2014

You Asked and We Accept: Here is the Wish List.


After 12 years of research and prep, East of Byzantium:War Gods and Warrior Saints is finally underway! We faced our challenges head on, and are moving forward.  Our latest round of filming was in Armenia and the footage looks exciting.  Now we are gearing up for our Los Angeles schedule.

Many of our fans have written us asking if there is anything they can do to help or contribute to the production.  The best way for our amazing supporters to help us at this time would be to assist with certain needs in order to focus our resources on making this special miniseries even more amazing.

So the following is a wish list of things the production could use. Please contact warriorsaint2014@gmail.com with any questions if you want to help supply the items below, or go to our Indiegogo page if you would rather come on board financially.

Donors will receive screen credit in the show, in whichever department suits your contribution as well as advertisement through our Facebook page if you are providing certain goods.

Our Wish List
  1.     Frequent Flier Mileage Award Tickets to help bring EOB Experts and Scholars to Los Angeles for a Shoot.
  2.     Travel Award Points for Car Rentals
  3.     Unused Gift Cards from Restaurants, Electronics, Home Improvement Supply Stores
  4.     Hotel Point Award Nights for EOB Experts and Scholars
  5.     Catering a meal for our crews on 07/19 - 07/20/2014 (smaller Crew) and then a larger crew on (08/16 through 8/26). Call us for an actual count.  Also Snacks/ Finger foods/ Energy bards/ Bottled Water.
  6.     Red Epic, Red Scarlet, EX-1, EX-3, and 5D Camera Gear for 07/19, 07/20, and 08/16 thru 08/26
  7.     Sound Recording Mixer - up to 6 Mics for Expert Roundtable 07/19 - 07/20
  8.     Lighting Package for  in studio shoot 07/19 - 07/20
  9.     Fabric to Create Costumes (please call and ask)
  10.     Collapsible Blue Screen/ Green Screen (20 ; by 20 ' )  for  08/16 through 08/31
  11.     Portable Hard Drives for Data Storage
  12.     Open Land with Horses (for Shooting Big Cavalry Sequences)
  13.     Trucks, Cube Vans, Cargo Vans (to move people and/or props and costumes)
  14.     Mini-Jib for Expert Roundtable and Exteriors (07/19-20 and 08/16-26)
  15.     Artistic Interns to lend us some time to create amazing props and costumes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PRESS RELEASE ON EOB TV SERIES!

WE'RE MOVING FORWARD!

Production Deal Inked for East of Byzantium: War Gods & Warrior Saints
Epic Documentary Mini-Series

For Immediate Release:
Los Angeles (05/13/2014): Visual Effects Veteran Roger Kupelian (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Flags of Our Fathers), Emmy Nominated Documentary Filmmaker William Martens, and multiple international award winning producer Seda Melkoni of Journey Pictures, have teamed up to produce the epic documentary mini-series East of Byzantium: War Gods & Warrior Saints.
Inspired by the graphic novel created by Roger Kupelian, forensic and exacting historical research will guide the telling of this epic true story. If ever there was a real Game of Thrones, this is it. The visually stunning documentary mini-series will explore the little known but pivotal era in world history spanning Rome’s last era of glory, the birth of Christianity as an organized and state supported religion, the myriad cultural and religious tides of the time, and the battles between the ruling empires and houses of nobility that would decide the fate of the Caucasus, the real Middle Earth, and ultimately the fate of the Western World. War Gods and Warrior Saints brings heroes, heroines, barbarian hordes, and epic battles to life in this true telling of the tug-of-war that profoundly affected the future of humankind.
Privately financed, production is set to begin in June and will be presented to the networks by early fall 2014. Grammy winner Serj Tankian (System of a Down) is in talks to compose the score.  The Armenian portion of the production will be headquartered at the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies in Yerevan.





Contact: Journey Pictures, LLC


323-463-3393



Photo: Andrew Hall  © EOB, LLC All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Personal Message from R. Kupelian


Dear EoB Fans,

This is by far the most difficult entry I've ever had to write. One early morning in February of this year Armen Mirzaian, one of our dearest friends, and one of East of Byzantium's earliest collaborators, was taken from us very suddenly. 

Ara Soudjian, mutual colleague, who had originally introduced us, phoned me with the bad news, and of course I could only sit there at my desk, my body reacting with that  mix of shock and disbelief.

Armen, who made his trade as an animation story/ storyboard artist, was a huge influence on not only EOB but many of my other projects as well, and his absence is being felt by everyone who ever had the fortune to know him, even for a short amount of time.  It will be a herculean task to find a replacement for someone like him, having embodied that rare combination of talent and humanity. You always knew you would get an honest critique from him. But it was a cut that had healing on the other side.  

I can only wish he was still here, to collaborate further, to leave more of his unique mark on this undertaking. He knew how difficult this was going to be. He was in it for the long haul as he saw it. 

I remember the earliest days of our collaboration; shuttling him back and forth from our pad at Park La Brea (near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to where he was camping out in Burbank, as he did not have use of a car at that time. Armen had just started adding his burgeoning skills to our development work. We got to be like brothers then, carrying long conversations about Art, Culture and All Things Metaphysical as long as the road allowed. 

That was his vibe, he became everyone's brother.

Armen once told Ara he was thankful, that  I gave him some important breaks in this biz. 

Well, Armen, as you streak across the inverse as a being of light, back to the Source, (as I like to imagine it), to hang out in that realm that Art can only guess at - wherever you are, please take the knowledge that you gave us a lot more. 

We'll keep at it, and endeavor to make something you would have approved of.

Armen Mirzaian
Artist
1977- 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Interview with EOB Warrior Saint's Co-Writer Razmig Chaglasian


Razmig Chaglasian was a contributor to East of Byzantium Vol 1: WAR GODS and now has increased his role, moving on to Co-writing Volume 2: WARRIOR SAINTS with Roger Kupelian. Razmig managed to squeeze together a few moments of his time for this interview.


EOB: When did you first get acquainted with the Vartan  story and what does this epic mean to you?

RC: When I was 6 years old , I learned a song in school about the exploits of an Armenian hero named Vartan who fought for Armenians and died valiantly. A few years later in Armenian history class, we learned about the period and the history of Vartan Mamigonian.  I later studied that period on my own for a couple of years because the battle represented the “final stand” Armenians took to preserve their identity. In other words, it is the ultimate story of survival and a desire for a people to craft and preserve its own identity in the face of overwhelming strength and power.

EOB: Who would you say are your greatest inspirations?

RC: I’ve drawn inspiration from a number of great writers, but two in particular whose work I often revisit are George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway. 


EOB: What are some of the difficulties the storyteller, especially one from an Armenian background will have in telling this particular story. What would you say is the adjustment in writing for a graphic novel versus writing for a screenplay?

RC: One major difficulty for a storyteller, particularly an Armenian, is to remain unbiased in the portrayal of the major figures central to the story from the Persian side.  For Armenians, this battle is viewed as a major moral victory and justification for our preservation of Christianity. It is one of the three major events in Armenian history of the last two thousand years, thus a palpable patriotism is tied to the Armenian heroes in the war.  In writing a graphic novel, the words on the page are secondary to the images. In writing a screenplay, words paint the picture in the mind of the reader. Graphic novels are primarily a visual medium, particularly with a remarkable visual storyteller like Roger Kupelian, words on the page just help frame the action.


EOB: Why do a graphic novel about a battle that Armenians lost rather than a story about one of our great kings or legendary figures?

RC: Stories of tragedy and fights for survival illicit visceral reactions from readers. Stories of great kings have been told in the past, and often, I can’t get past the hyperbole involved in the glorification of oppression by said kings. The underdog fighting a war they cannot win, but must fight, has a romantic feel.


EOB: At this time., The Roman's main adversary was the Sassanian Persian Empire. As such, Persians are the chief adversary in the story arc, especially the second one that Warrior Saints deals with. There are those who say that this story is the wrong one to tell especially because Iran today remains one of the few allies to The young Armenian Republic within Sea of enemies. Do you agree with this? How would you respond to that criticism?

RC: I am not a fan of revisionist history.  The battles two nations fought roughly 1,600 years ago should have no effect on today's political climate. Iran and Armenia share thousands of years of history, rich with alliances, battles, cultural similarities and most of all, a deep rooted belief in their individual identities.


EOB: Did you agree with the way the Persian empire was depicted in the immensely successful film (300)? How is it different in the east of Byzantium saga?

RC: 300 was an entertaining film, but I personally did not agree with the way the Persian empire was depicted. They were represented by creatures and monsters rather than human beings with an agenda.  Our portrayal of the Persian empire is very different. In East of Byzantium, they, like the Armenians, are humans with specific political and religious ideologies that drive them to pursue their goals. Telling a story like this invites the storyteller to take sides and paint the enemy as the "other", a race that is inferior in one way or another to your story's protagonist. Once they've been categorized as such, its easier to attack them because they are no longer human beings.  But once you've depicted the enemy in your story in that manner, you're perpetuating a tired cliche.


EOB: Kupelian has described you as one of the most passionate people he has ever met concerning this particular period  Of Armenian history. What is the strongest part of the epic of Vartan as far as you are concerned? It is usually considered a religious story by many, but do you see it that way?

RC: I love this story for a number of reasons, but one in particular is that it is a battle that Armenians were soundly defeated in, but had to fight. It was a group of people marching into certain death to fight to preserve the intangible. Their identity. The church, the culture and Armenia's rich traditions all form that identity. But what is an identity aside from a mental construct.  Most battles are fought for materials gains. These men and women fought to stay Armenian. 


EOB: In your research, what are some of the misconceptions you feel Armenians have regarding Vartan and his clan? 

RC: In the most famous depiction of Vartan, the profile picture wearing his helmet, he is shown to have dark black hair. Vartan was a red head. But more importantly, Vartan is canonized for basically being a hot-headed general. He is a saint according to Armenian history. The Armenian church I grew up attending is named Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church. Notice the name is Saints, because Vartan, his clan, and all those who fought and died in that battle are canonized. Vartan was a military and political leader who took a particular position, which he deemed to be the right course for his people. Vasag (his rival and head of House Syunik) is treated remembered as the great traitor of our people. For Armenians, he's ranked with Judas as one of histories greatest turncoats. But in reality, Vasag was a wealthy man protecting his interests at any cost, which in this case, involved betraying his rival. He is no more or less slimy than any politician today.



EOB: What other projects are you currently working on and do you have any advice you would give a writer who is about to embark on scripting a difficult historic topic?

RC: I am currently working on an outline for a script as well as a short story.

My advice to a writer working on an epic is to really do your homework on the subject and think about your central characters by putting yourself in their shoes and thinking about how you would react. It'll teach you something about the character and yourself.


WARRIOR SAINTS  (East of Byzantium: Vol. 2) will being unveiling in early 2013.

Friday, October 12, 2012

BOOK TOUR BEGINS WITH A FULL HOUSE

Fifteen (15) minutes before our scheduled start all the seats were filled. By the end of the presentation people had filled into every corner of the bookstore and were spilling out into the street. We appreciate everyone that came and showed their support for War Gods. If you missed this event don't fret, you have another chance to see Roger and get your copy signed. We will be at the Glendale Central Library November, 8th.  Photos by Meher Hagopian. 






























Friday, September 28, 2012

EOB: WAR GODS BOOK SIGNING SCHEDULE 2012

Both standard and collector's editions of the book, as well as special prints, will be available for signing. Roger will be making a presentation on the process of creation, as well as recent news for the project.

GLENDALE: OCT 5th, 2012, (Friday): 8:00 pm. 
Abril Bookstore 
415 E. Broadway , Glendale CA 91205 
(818) 243-4112

CHICAGO: (Andersonville) OCT 17th, 2012,(Wednesday) at 5:30 pm - 8:30pm, 
AlleyCat Comics

TORONTO: OCT 18th - 22nd,2012, Dates to be announced 
Pomegranate Film Festival

GLENDALE: Nov 8th, 2012, (Thursday): 7:00 pm. 
Glendale Central Library
222 E. Harvard St. , Glendale CA 91205 
(818) 578-3288



WATCH THIS SPACE FOR MORE DATES SOON!