Magazine Sep/Oct 2012 A Day in the Life of...

01 September 2012, 12:05
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A Day in the Life of...

Peter Musurlian is a station manager and senior producer at Burbank TV 6, a government access channel run out of Burbank City Hall in California. Musurlian is a hard-hitting multimedia journalist who shoots and narrates his own material. On his free time, he focuses on his other passion as a documentarian. So, what does an average day look like for a 20-year professional with a decorated career? Peter Musurlian takes Yerevan Magazine on a full-day ride to let us, and you, know.

First things first: Peter seven in the morning until Musurlian works three days a week. I guess you can negotiate such terms once you have the résumé and pedigree that he does. He has four degrees, three of them masters. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he works a 12-hour shift from seven at night. Tuesdays and Thursdays he works from home, usually editing the countless hours of film he has recorded over the years as documentarian for Globalist Films, the independent documentary production company he founded in 2003.

For his soon-to-be-released documentary Turkey’s Tools in the Heartland, Musurlian sheds light on several political cases in the United States that seem to have Turkish lobbyist fingerprints all over them. In 2008, Musurlian confronted Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen for actively fighting against the House Resolution for recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Musurlian offered straight- up questions such as, “Are the Turks paying you off?” Cohen had agreed to speak, but then lashed out and pushed Musurlian and his camera away while slamming the door on his face. Then, Musurlian documented Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt’s baseless accusations against David Krikorian after discovering that the congresswoman was the recipient of more Turkish- American money than anybody in the country. “No one ever challenged these guys. I saw this unfolding in front of me, and as an Armenian American, I had a great interest in it. I knew, no one was going to ask the hard questions, so I wanted to do that and expose them,” Musurlian says.

Not all of Musurlian’s work is hard-hitting. The Long Journey from the NFL to Armenia documented former college football standout and Tennessee Titans defensive end Rien Long’s journey to Armenia – 100 years after his great-grandparents had Musurlian set out to break fled to America during the Armenian massacres. Before he begins on a documentary, the key is to visualize the project, he says, which is why he assigned himself a project for the fun of it. In Coast- to-Coast Solo Speed Record, Musurlian set out to break the world record for driving a car from the Atlantic Ocean (departing from Jacksonville) to the Pacific Ocean (arriving in San Diego). While working on BTV6’s upcoming production schedule, Musurlian recalls his 37 hour and 14 minute marathon with the exhilaration of a schoolboy. “I have had marathon drives across the country before. In 2004, I read an obituary about Doug Turner, the record holder for the cross-country trip, and I wanted to break it and document the entire process. It was as simple as that.” Only if his wife and then two-month-old baby girl June Petra, who joined him for the ride, would agree, of course.

Since he is always shooting, Musurlian prefers walking around with a camera to walking around with a rifle. But his comparison carries actual clout because it comes from a man who was an Army Reservist for six years and walked around with a rifle throughout Hungary, Croatia and Bosnia during an eight- month stretch in 1997-98 while serving as an Army television journalist. His reports – aired worldwide on the American Forces Network – earned him a NATO Medal and an Army Commendation Medal. His life-changing time there also earned him the opportunity of meeting Szilvia Eva Gadanyi, his wife of 14 years. “I wanted to go there and feature our soldiers who were serving our country. I got a better understanding of the people there, and the great people who make up our country. I ended up with so much respect for them. It was a two-thirds cut in my paycheck at the time, but I gladly got to serve my country as well,” he says.

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