System of a Down’s Serj Tankian on Music, Activism, and the Armenian Genocide – The Calvert Journal
While the four members of System of a Down have genocide ties, it was Tankian who made the fight for his recognition – which Turkey continues to formally deny – his own personal quest. Now a new movie, Truth in power documents this fight – as well as providing an intimate account of Tankian’s education and creative process.
Produced by Tankian himself, as well as his frequent collaborator Garin Hovannisian – who also directed – the film is by no means an unbiased documentary on Tankian’s activism. System of a Down as a group rarely appears, outside of the leader’s point of view. It’s Tankian telling his story through his own words.
“The idea started in 2011. This was going to be my most professional years, so I decided to wear a GoPro camera and sort of record everything I did artistically. I thought it would be interesting to portray the sight of the artist’s own eyes, like a movie, but I soon found out that I looked more like a bird than a human in terms of how I move my neck. It’s nauseating to watch from my perspective, but we had some really good pictures and an understanding of the tapestry and colors of an artist’s life on the road, demonstrations and all kinds of stuff, ”says Tankian The Calvert Journal.
Tankian then approached Hovannisian – who was working with him on another documentary at the time, I am not alone, on the Armenian Velvet Revolution – about using these footage for a separate film. Tankian says the two decided that “it really was the activist journey” that was the most important part of this film, which was to become Truth in power.