Christopher Atamian is a noted writer, director, and producer of Italian–Armenian background and the grandson of Armenian Genocide survivors from Adiyaman and Shabin-Karahissar. His grandfather resettled in Zahleh, Lebanon and his cousin Missak Manouchian a renowned writer and revolutionary portrayed in Michel Guédikian’s 2012 feature film L’Armée du Crime. While his current work is increasingly devoid of overt ethnic topics, much of his early writings centered around issues of sexuality, ethnic origin and assimilation, most specifically in light of his own family’s near escape from the Ottoman Turks in 1915.
Born in New York City, Atamian attended the Lycée Français de New York before obtaining his high school diploma from Collegiate School where he was a National Merit Scholar and finished second in the United states on the National Mathematics Examination. Atamian attended Harvard University where he majored in literature, Magna Cum Laude and received a Fulbright Fellowship to the ETH (Swiss National Polytechnic) in Zurich, Switzerland. He completed his education at USC film School and Columbia Business School where he received the school’s highest honor, the Samuel Bronfman Scholarship in Democratic Enterprise. Apart from creative endeavors and his professional activities as a senior executive at companies such as ABC, Ogilvy Interactive and J.P, Morgan, Atamian has concentrated on community activism. He is the former President and a current board member of AGLA New York, an organization which fights to help bridge the understanding gap between the LGBTQ communities in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora and its respective societies-at-large. In 2004 he founded Nor Alik, a non-profit organization which presented leading Armenian cultural activities, including the First Annual Armenian International Film Festival (with Anahid Kassabian). He co-produced the OBIE Award - winning play Trouble in Paradise in 2006, directed by Elyse Singer, starring Jeremy Schamos and Nina Hellman and the New York run of the 2014 underground sensation Dear Armen. Atamian was selected for the 2009 Venice Biennale on the basis of his video Sarafian’s Desire and received a 2015 Ellis island Medal of Honor. After a successful early career writing for leading publications such as The New York Times Book Review and The Huffington Post, he is now concentrating on fiction writing, film and musical theater.
He is represented by Tom Miller at the Carol Mann Agency.
Journalism and Criticism
- The Huffington Post: arts theater, film, dance; domestic politics; Middle Eastern politics. Frequent guest panelist at Huffington Post Live.
- The New York Times Book Review
- The Jewish Daily Forward
- Ararat Magazine: Lead arts writer for this publication--book reviews, film, theater, general culture and politics.
- The New York Press: Dance critic, 1996.
- Editor at The Columbia Journal of World Business
- Harvard Advocate Prose Board.
Select Articles for The New Criterion, Hyperallergic, SCENE, fashion daily Front Row Center, Dance Magazine, CITY Magazine (Book Reviewer and Editor, 2000-2002); KGB Magazine (co-publisher and lead writer 1998-2000.); Yevrobatsi.org(New York Correspondent for this leading Armenian on-line publication: art, politics and culture 2004-2008); New York Magazine, The Beirut Daily Star, AIM Magazine, 100Lives.com and The Armenian Reporter.
From French to English:
- Philippe Delmas’ The Rosy Future of War (Simon & Schuster, 1999).
- Krikor Beledian's 50 Years of Armenian Literature in France by Krikor Beledian (University of Califonia at Fresno Press)
- Marc Nichanian's Writers of Disaster (forthcoming) and A History of the Armenian Language.
- Denis Donikian’s Trash (Vidures) on Actes Sud and The Concise Encyclopedia of the Armenian Genocide
From Western Armenian to English
- The Bois de Vincennes (Wayne State Press, 2011, winner of the 2013 Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Literary Award and hailed as a “masterpiece” by several reviewers and critics.
Select Poetry and Fiction
- Selected Poems published in journals including Ararat Magazine, APP, Mes Arménies/Armenian Trends and The Poetry Scoring Project
- The Anthology of Armenian Poetry (Yerevan, 2016)
- Mrs. Zildjian’s Muslim Pendant (short Story) Ararat Magazine
- Speaking French (Novel)
Film and Theater
- Elisa (music Video for Melissa Levis, 1999))
- Spinning (music Video for Melissa Levis, 1999)
- For You, My Beloved Grandparents (Short Film, screened at Golden Apricot Yerevan, and the 2004 New York Armenian International Film festival)
- A Lost Child’s Fireflies, Reading directed by Michael Barakiva, 2008 at the Ohio Theater
- Trouble in Paradise (Directed by Elyse Singer, Off-Broadway at the Hudson Guild Theater, winner of 2006 OBIE Award)
- First Annual International Armenian Film Festival of New York and 20 other Armenian cultural events in NYC, starting in 2003
- Lesbian Couples Therapist - Writer and Actor
- Armenian Genocide Documentary Short (upcoming 2016)
- Short Film, Woof! (upcoming, 2016)
- Short Film, Doing Margossian (upcoming, 2016)
- Psychic Data Mining (Dance Film with choreographer Luke Wiley, 2008)
- Two Short Documentaries for the Armenian Assembly of America (2007)
- Mi Lar/Don’t CryItalic text (Dance Film, being re-shot, with Luke Wiley in 2009)
- For You, My Beloved Grandparents (Short Film, screened at Golden Apricot International Film Festival in Yerevan and the New York Armenian International Film Festival, 2004)
- Shad Shakar Mi Ooder, Muhdig uhres?/ Don’t Eat Too Much Sugar, You Hear? (Short Experimental film with Melissa Boyadjian and Nancy Agabian)
- Elisa (A music video for Melissa Levis, 1999)
- Spinning (A music video for Melissa Levis, 1999)
- The Darkroom-USC Film School Short film (Wrote, Directed), 1991
Curator and Event Producer
- Founder and Executive Director of Nor Alik/New Wave: Curator and producer of over twenty events, including the 2004 International Armenian Film Festival of New York with Anahid Kassabian, as well as lectures, film screenings and slide presentations by leading Armenian writers, academics, filmmakers, art historians and intellectuals such as video artist Melissa Boyadjian and produced a concert by Gor Mkhitarian at The Bitter End.
- Live From the Bureau, August 2015 at the New York LGBTQ Center, featuring Christopher Bram, Lousine Shamanian, and Nancy Agabian
- 2015 lecture by Harvard University Professor James Russell for AGLA New York
Grants and Awards
- John Harvard Award for Academic Excellence (1987 and 1988)
- Fulbright Fellowship, ETH (Swiss Federal Polytechnic)-Zurich, Switzerland (1989)
- Bronfman fellowship, Columbia Business School (1994 and 1995)
- The Venice Biennale- Selected Artist, Krossings Diasporan Pavilion(2009)
- AGBU Grant (2010)
- The Kohar and Minas Tölölyan Literary Award (2013)
- PEN Writer’s Grant (2014)
- Gulbenkian Translation Grant (2014)
- Ellis Island NECO Medal of Honor (2015)