Nigol Bezjian, September 11, 1955 in Aleppo, Syria originally , from Aleppo, but whose professional training in film has been at universities in New York and Los Angeles made the first film on Armenian political violence. The Hour of the Gray Horse (1984) won a prize in the 1984 from the Armenian Film Foundation. The story is about a young militant who assassinates a Turkish diplomat. During the awards banquet in Los Angeles, Rouben Mamoulian distributed the prize in person. When Bezjian received his award, he told Mamoulian and the audience a touching story about his leaving Aleppo years ago. One day he made the dramatic announcement that he wanted to go to America to study film. His father, surprised and a bit annoyed, said, "Inch, Mamoulian me bidi ellas?" "What, are you going to become a Mamoulian?"
Bezjian's earlier films, A Rock, a Rope and a Tree (1980), Cycle Carmen (1981), and Billy's Night (1986) are short ones which treat dramatically the subject of love.Bezjian's latest and longest film, and by far the most ambitious, Chickpeas (1992) deals with the life of Armenian immigrants who have moved from one diaspora (Lebanon) to another (Los Angeles). The film features Arsine Khanjian, the fetiche actress of Canadian Armenian filmaker Atom Egoyan. Despite its low budget production, Bezjian's Chickpeas has been acclaimed in the film festival circuit and in 1994 began a successful commercial run in American movie houses in large metropolitan areas.
Bezjian is the pivotal force among the new wave of young Armenian-American filmmakers, most of whom are in the Los Angeles area. He has also helped in the production of short films by Sylvette Artinian and Ara Madzounian. His wife, Roxane Bezjian (Los Angeles 1961-), has just completed the highly acclaimed, hour-long documentary, Charles Garry, Street Fighter in the Courtroom (1992, 58") which pays tribute to San Francisco trial lawyer Charles Garry (Garabedian), who was an advocate of civil liberties and defended those who no one else would. The film, which has won a number of awards, treats the Armenian Genocide as adetermining factor in Garry's defense of victimized groups.