Prof. Sona Tatoyan
Sona Tatoyan is a first generation Syrian-Armenian-American stage and film actor, writer, producer, and director with bases in New York, Los Angeles, and Armenia. Ms. Tatoyan is a graduate of the William Esper Studio where she studied with the legendary Bill Esper himself. Other training includes a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Wake Forest University, Shakespeare and Company’s Summer Training Institute, and, yes, training as a pole dancer (at S Factor, New York and Los Angeles). She speaks English, French, Armenian, and some Spanish and Arabic, received her Yoga Teaching Certification in Goa, India and holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. An accomplished stage actress, Ms. Tatoyan was featured in the world premieres of José Rivera’s Brainpeople at The American Conservatory Theater, Massacre (Sing to your Children) at The Goodman Theater, and Boleros for the Disenchanted, 2008 winner Outstanding Ensemble Connecticut Critics Awards, at Yale Repertory Theater, among others. Ms. Tatoyan’s feature film debut was the lead role in The Journey (2002) – the first American independent film ever shot in Armenia. The Journey won the Audience Award at the Milan International Film Festival in 2002. Currently, Ms. Tatoyan is in pre-production to star in Celestina, a feature film co-starring famed actor Bill Pullman, Oscar Nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno and up and coming star Raul Castillo (HBO’s Looking) which she is producing through her production company Door/Key Productions alongside Academy Award winning producer Barrie M. Osborne (The Lord of the Rings) and executive producer Walter Salles. Also, as both a producer and actress, Ms. Tatoyan is in pre-production with the feature film Three Apples Fell From Heaven, a historical epic on the still denied Armenian Genocide, to be directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth, The Bandit Queen) with a screenplay by Academy Award nominated screenwriter José Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries). As a writer, her first feature film script The First Full Moon — a 2011 Sundance/RAWI participant and 2012 Dubai Film Connection/Festival Project– examines a contemporary American-Armenian family’s complicated connection to its roots in Syria. She is currently penning her second feature script The Summit and the Well, an exploration of the fractured nature of modern Armenian identity as seen through the personal journey of a female protagonist’s healing of sexual trauma. Ms. Tatoyan’s writing/directing debut short film, Toujours, was a selection at the Arpa International Film Festival 2012. As a storyteller, Ms. Tatoyan is inspired by the universal issues of home, identity, love, family, connection, healing through facing truth, and the confronting of pain/trauma as a means to emancipation/illumination. She believes exploring the untold stories of her scattered people is an opportunity to share her rich, ancient, multi-faceted culture with the wider world.