And next, the Big Screen? TX

Monday, February 22nd, 2010


It is a beautiful day here, inside out the moments have been smiling at us, the company of our Friends Louise and Sean has been overwhelming, the sharing of this Space with such wonderful Souls. We cooked, meaning “I cooked”, as I love doing so for others, we drank strong coffee, breakfast was what I now call “Mc Oasis”… a couple fresh fried eggs cooked with cheese in a toasted whole wheat Pita bread, a quick ride into Terlingua as they followed me on their little “go everywhere” scooters, we even had Opal pose with Spirit in the sidecar. We watched an incredible sunset without a camera on hand as the images that particular evening where all ours to remember, to share, as also will be remembered our conversations. We did not solve the World’s problems, not even ours, we did instead shed much light lighting up the path we all have been on these past years as also with their magnificent bus “Odyssey” they themselves have been on the road for a while.


Louise and Sean have been a bit of my confidents these past months. A few other close Friends also have been. They know, as many do, why I write. The “why’s” have become a mixture of a personal therapy dealing with the loss of my Son Lance, showing off at the same time the beauty of this country where many can actually go and enjoy it’s Spaces, even if time is short, as truly how many will be able to take that trip to Africa or Malaysia or… It is the “people” we meet on the shoulders off the roads, it is the little towns we go through, and I feel often it is above it all how I personally have tried to shed my past layers worn a bit too heavily and have sight again of who I really am including what Life really is today with the recent past cards dealt, with a simplicity I try to achieve as well as possible. That alone will take more than a Lifetime, but as long as I keep climbing those steps, even if falling backwards at times, with strength and perseverance, the momentum I like to call it “forward”.


There has been a facet throughout these past months I have not been able to write about, the reasons are truly above me, it’s importance is now here, has been as I have thought it very deeply, still think about it, always will as a Legacy and a Dedication to Lance. A little less than two years ago I received this e mail…
Hi Ara, Hope this finds you well. I just wanted to ask if you would be interested in turning your story (so far) into a film? I read your story and have fallen in love with it. I am a film director, and I co-direct with my brother. We are known as The Shammasian Brothers… The date was of May 5th 2008.

The Oasis  

I was not totally stunned because this was already the third time such offer was made. The first two I felt, I heard in the words thrown at me, such undesirable aspects. I was not going to sell my Soul, the mighty Dollar did not have any weight on my decision, and truthfully even as we struggle daily, still does not. But now, two Armenian Brothers with my own origin and an admirable track record? It was worth checking into it, cautiously opening a preface of a path that could change much as only changes of my own doings have been always validated. A reproduction of my chapters laid out here moving on to the big screen? My thoughts? My story? Slices of the slides Mother Nature has always presented us? From Terlingua to Montana and all in between? Yes, there was much to think about as finally on a path as I was on, as I am on, any aberration is not welcomed.

Odyssey's Garage  

I watched over and over Paul’s and Ludwig’s latest Movie, a short Movie not yet available to the Public as it will be soon, and even if the content, the story itself is of a painful and not easy to watch subject, it is a breath taking true Life story reproduced in an amazing fashion, including the photography, the music, all the components never missing a beat. I read their biography as I felt they progressed step by step as myself have tried these past few years. We met in Valley of Fire last year, I really could not write who they were for the same reasons as above. (Truly a coincidence that also photos of the Odyssey are in the same entry). Here in their words…

The Shammasian Brothers are Ludwig & Paul Shammasian – a directing partnership reinforced by a shared creative vision and their bond as true film-making Brothers. Their first commercial won them the prestigious Festival de Cannes Young Director Award. They followed this with the critically acclaimed short film, "The Carriageway". Their next film, "Romans 12:20”, based on a true story, went on to win numerous international awards and subsequently earned them representation at the world famous William Morris Endeavor Entertainment in the USA and United Agents in the UK. The brothers are now working on 3 feature film projects.This includes writing and directing the US road movie based on the true life story of Ara Gureghian and his Dog “Spirit” titled "The Oasis Of My Soul".

Winner Festival de Cannes Young Director Award
Winner of Long Form Category, Rushes Soho Shorts Festival 2009
Winner of Grand Prize Discovery Award , Rhode Island International Film Festival 2008
Winner of Best International Short Film, New York International Film Festival 2008
Winner of Best Shot Film, 11th Annual ARPA International Film Festival, LA, 2008
Winner “Best of Fest” Beverly Hills HI~DEF Film Festival
Winner IVCA Gold, Best Documentary
Honorable Mention Pomegranate Film Festival

Director’s Comments

The overall reason we became attracted to the project is best summarized in the following quote:

"We are all explorers of our own lives, whatever path we take. There is nothing rational about what I have done. Skiing to the Poles, sailing the Oceans and climbing Everest. These are absurd undertakings, which do not contribute to improving the environment or World Peace. However, every summiting of Everest is a positive contribution because it reminds people of the grandeur of nature and is a genuine invitation to everybody to find their own Everest within."
– Erling Kagge – World-Renowned Adventurer.

“For us, Ara’s story is one that emotionally grips and leaves a feeling of inspiration and beauty. We have always believed in the power of Mother Nature and its ability to affect our heart and give hope when it’s most needed.
Combine this simple premise with the vision of a man riding amidst the wilderness with a Pit Bull fully clad with helmet and goggles, and you have something exquisitely unique and innocently charming.
It’s a project we thoroughly enjoyed writing and are genuinely looking forward to putting it onto the screen.”

Sean and Louise  

The big questions arise… Where do I now stand? How do I deal with all of this? When? How? I have been asked. And truly no question has an answer. That is my comfort. Answers are not needed. It is that simple as the moments present, second by second, they plow the path ahead of us. It is trust in Paul and Ludwig who mutually have had the outmost respect for this Journal and it’s content with a very high level of communication between us, it is more with my Entertainment Attorney Dave, standing out as a pillar since day one, but most important I feel is my own mind set being as I call it “just riding the wave” and in no manner living my present Life as this Movie being the carrot in sight. I will not hide that my emotions do fluster thinking that one day, and that is with a “maybe” always, in this dark big room, on this large giant screen, I will read “Dedicated to Lance Gureghian”. It is really that simple. It is because I trust him, I trust he has put me on the right path as everyone present has been one link after another fitting so well on this Journey. It will be for me the best few seconds of the Movie.

Opal and Spirit  

The “when” is when it will happen. The script is written, in unison we are going over it as it will then be offered. The messages are plentiful. Growth, awareness, the love of a Pit Bull and vice versa, sensibility toward a simple Life made possible by a prosperity of inner thoughts, the beauty of this Country, the incredible people we have met on their own Journeys that have impacted ours, my personal dealings with the grief of a loss as my own and only Child, so much more… The steps forward toward this project has not changed a thing, my anchor will never reach the bottom of the searched level, but always close stirring up the mud at times only for at other times finding myself again in calmer waters. The “Big Screen” can only be a mirror of all those reflections, in a positive way touching many more, but never less. Is Spirit ready for it?

Odyssey Odyssey
Odyssey Odyssey

Till next time, you be well, always, it is our best choice.

Ara & Spirit

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14 Responses to “And next, the Big Screen? TX”

  1. Lorena Says:

    congratulations! that sounds great. I loved their work on the film clip about the Armenian story. it was so moving I sent the link to my Armenian relatives. Having read your work and seen theirs it sounds like a perfect match. Good Luck, give Spirit a high five for me. Those Shammasian brothers sound so interesting!

  2. Ken and Nanette Says:


    In facing opportunities and the associated consequences that this may bring. One simple question exists.

    Will this lead me toward my goals and/or perhaps needs or away from them?

    It looks as if you are viewing this from all angles.

    Whatever happens we wish you the best as always.

    Perhaps you story needs to be told — for you as well as others.

    Ken and Nanette

  3. Chessie Says:

    I’m glad you’re still going on with this. It’s good to be able to tell the world now, isn’t it?
    I’m looking forward to seeing the movie…

  4. Jaime Moreland Says:

    Things seem to be moving right along… Thanks for sharing more beautiful photos and stories with the world.

  5. Denny Gibson Says:

    That’s quite an exciting development. Simultaneously, I imagine, humbling, validating, frightening & encouraging. Surely you’ll have to man the camera now and then during filming to get the images to reflect those posted here. Congratulations & good luck.

  6. James Schipper Says:

    Excellent, Ara. I can’t wait to see those words on the screen someday, too.

    The picture of Opal and Spirit is the best! I’m glad we got a chance to meet up with Louise & Sean finally. We’ll be out there sooner or later. We’re just figuring out the details 😉

  7. Chad Says:

    Your blog is great and so are your stories. I would read your blog no matter what, but if your story is developed into some kind of movie I will go see it and buy the DVD!

  8. Voni Says:

    Go, Ara and Spirit, go!

  9. Doug Smith Says:

    Ara, your words have brought comfort to me recently with the loss of a loved one…..I thank you ….you speak from the heart….you have been an inspiration…. I will keep the faith….DS

  10. Judy Says:

    I am so thankful to Sean for linking me with this blog today. Although I have just arrived, I feel proud for the steps you have taken to get to this point, I can tell they are large ones. We live in a spectacular part of Colorado and are the kids of friends of Sean’s, please feel free to visit us at the Royal Ranch and learn about llamas. We recently were on a trip to Iowa to visit family for Thanksgiving and cam home with a Pit Bull puppy that had been dumped in the corn fields, we too have found the undying love of the breed! Congratulations!

  11. Andre Shoumatoff Says:

    Hi Ara,
    Wonderful post… 🙂

  12. John Says:

    Movie title, The Oasis of my soul.I think its a great story of the life , passion and love of a father in the lose of a son. Many people have lost their sons from diseases, war, car accidents ,suicides,and drug abuse . I think many can relate to aras life story of a fathers love of and lose of their son.Thanks Ara for sharing with us.I think this movie will help many grieving parents .Also those with children, who take their children for granted because of lifes many demands in raising a family. be well and take care, John.

  13. Alan Kessedjian Says:

    Bravo Ara, your story is in all of our hearts whuther it hits the big screen or not, but I sincerely think it should as you reach so many with your words.

    with much love

    Your cousins in England

    Alan Fiona Isabella and Beatrice xx

  14. The Box Canyon Blogger Says:

    Ditto, Ara… Ditto the above.
    mark and bobbie

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