2011 ARPA International Film Festival, Sep 22-24


The Arpa International Film Festival (ARPA) returns to the Egyptian Theatre, Sept 22-24. Produced by produced by AFFMA and founded by Sylvia Minassian in 1997, the festival’s mission is to ” cultivate cultural understanding and global empathy, creating a dynamic forum for international cinema with a special focus on the work of filmmakers who explore the issues of Diaspora, exile and multi-multiculturalism. A strong emphasis is placed on ideals of independent thought, artistic vision, cultural diversity and social understanding.”

“Arpa is the name of a river that flows through Armenia. As water provides a source of life and energy, so does art to the human soul. ” – Sylvia Minassian, Founder.

Turkish born polyglot Sylvia MInassian (English, Armenian, French, Spanish) is a charming self-appointed cultural envoy for Armenia and for international cultural exchange. In 1995 she founded the Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) and in 1997, the Arpa International Film Festival. Alex Kalognomos, ARPA’s director, is an award winning theatre and film actor. He also serves as Executive Producer of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival.  He co-produced/ co-starred in the award-winning short, “Spaceman on Earth” which premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Kalognomos also appeared in the “The Witch of Portobello” chosen by author Paulo Coelho (“The Alchemist”) to premiere in the 2009 Rome International Film Festival. Armen Toumajan is ARPA’s Senior Programmer.

“HERE” / Opening Night Arpa Int’l Film Fest
Thursday, September 22, 2011 • 7:30 PM
Feature   126m  USA, ARMENIA  (Los Angeles Premiere)
Director: Braden King
Producers: Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy, Braden King
Writers: Braden King, Dani Valent
Will Shepard (Ben Foster) is an American satellite-mapping engineer contracted to create a new, more accurate survey of the country of Armenia. Will meets Gadarine Najarian (Lubna Azabal) at a rural hotel. Tough and intriguing, she is an expatriate Armenian art photographer on her first trip back in ages, passionately trying to figure out what kind of relationship – if any – she still has with her home country and culture. There is an almost instant, unconscious bond between these two lone travelers; they impulsively decide to continue together. HERE tells the story of their unique journey and the dramatic personal transformations it leads each of them through.  English, Armenian with English Subtitles*
Followed by Q & A and Wine & Cheese Reception – $25

Thursday, September 22 • 10:15 PM
“Fred & Vinnie”  (Best Feature/ Best Screenplay/ Best Director Nominee)
Feature    89m       USA
Director: Steve Skrovan
Producer: Jerry P. Magana
Writer: Fred Stoller
Fred Stoller works as an actor in Hollywood, playing an assortment of deliverymen, clerks, and other oddball schnooks. The rest of the time he wanders the streets researching his pet book project, Restaurants You Do Not Feel Self-Conscious Eating Alone At. He has a long distance bond with his old friend from back East, Vinnie D’Angelo (Angelo Tsarouchas), who, these days rarely leaves his rent-free basement apartment. Fred calls Vinnie whenever he has an odd anecdote to relate. For Vinnie, these mundane stories are great adventures. It is a quirky, symbiotic relationship where Fred provides Vinnie with a window to the outside world, while Vinnie is the adoring parent Fred never had.  That relationship is put to the test when Vinnie ventures cross country to stay with Fred to give show business a try.

7:00 PM
“The Crocodile’s Wife”
Animation 7m AUSTRALIA
Director: Jody Cleaver
Producer: Robert Stephenson
Writer: Jody Cleaver
The crocodile’s wife grows resentful of an ever-cheerful monkey; a newcomer to the riverbank. Her husband arranges a meeting between them, confident she will see the error of her judgment- but will she like him? 
7:30 PM
“Occupation Has No Future”  (Best Documentary Nominee)
Documentary   84m USA
Director: David Zlutnick
Producer: David Zlutnick
Writer: David Zlutnick
Occupation Has No Future studies Israeli militarism, examines the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, and explores the work of Israelis and Palestinians working against militarism and occupation.  Featuring interviews with former IDF soldiers, Israeli conscientious objectors, and Palestinian grassroots organizers. English, Hebrew, Arabic (with subtitles)

CENTERPIECE “My Uncle Rafael”  •  Friday September 23  9:00PM
“My Uncle Rafael” (North American Premiere)  Feature    102m   USA
(Best Feature/ Best Screenplay/ Best Director Nominee)
2011 Breakthrough Performance Award  Vahik Pirhamzei for My Uncle Rafael (USA)
Director: Marc Fusco
Producers: Michael Garrity, Vahik Pirhamzei
Writers: Scott Yagemann, Vahik Pirhamzei
A desperate TV producer convinces an old Armenian Uncle to star in a new reality show. Cultures collide when Uncle Rafael is thrown into the Schumacher family household where he has one week to save a broken and dysfunctional American family from falling apart. The only rule – everyone must follow his rules.  Starring Vahik Pirhamzei, John Michael Higgins, Missi Pyle, Anthony Clark, Rachel Blanchard, Joe Lo Truglio, Anahid Avanesian, Carly Chaikin, Sage Ryan, Ursula Taherian, and Lupe Ontiveros.

Followed by Q & A & Reception

FRIDAY SHORTS PROGRAM  • Friday September 23    10:15 PM
Followed by Extended Q & A

“Mish Mush”  (West Coast Premiere)
Short    19m   CANADA, SYRIA
Producer: Amar Chebib
Writer: Amar Chebib
Upon being drafted for military service, Ahmad, a determined young Syrian poet, decides to flee the country. *Arabic with English subtitles

“Folie A Deux”  (Best Short Film Nominee)
Short    19m    USA
Director: Armen Khechoumian
Producer: Jessica Goldenberg
Writer: Armen Khechoumian

AFTERNOON SHORTS PROGRAM   • Saturday, September 24 1:00 PM

“Just Another Thing”
Music Video    3m USA
Director: Jon Reno
Producers: Jon Reno, Shane Bartlett
The all original rock band, The Grayces, traverse through various realities while jamming out to their single ‘Just Another Thing’.

“Demon’s Dilemma”
Short    14m    USA
Director: Hanjin Park
Producers: Aisha Summers, Janet Lee, Shelley Patel
Writer: Ehren Parks
A demon walks amongst us. But demons and angels do not walk in lockstep with their masters. That is a fable told by the old peoples who knew enough to fear them. Celestial beings can act out. But there are consequences for disobedience.  So what happens when a demon defies the natural order and inadvertently commits an act fit for an angel?  Heaven knows.

“The Armenian And The Armenian”
Short    6m    USA
Director: Armen Karaoghlanian
Writer: William Saroyan (adaptation)
The Armenian and the Armenian explores the Armenian identity and culture through experimental filmmaking.

USA 2010 11min
Director: Artur Babayan
Producer: Artur Babayan
Writer: Shakeh Esmaelian
In the midst of countless misfortunes, a family learns the value of sincerity and discovers a return to unity.

“Trans-Siberia Standoff-Visa”
Music Video    4m USA
Director: Tadeh Daschi
Producers: Tadeh Daschi and Armen Aghaeian
Executive Producer: K’noup Tomopoulos
A group of idealistic resistance fighters take refuge inside a bunker, awaiting the unknown outcome of an apocalyptic war.

 “I Am Neda”
Short    21m USA
Director: Nicole Kian-Sadighi
Producer: Nicole Kian-Sadighi
Writer: Nicole Kian-Sadighi
“I Am Neda” is the true story of a woman who fearlessly pursues the cause of freedom in defiance of tyranny and oppression. *Farsi with English subtitles

“Babenagan Guiliguia”
Music Video    4m Armenia
Director: Ashot Arakelyan
Producer: Ashot Arakelyan
“Babenagan Guiliguia” tells the story of a people forced to leave their homeland but still longing for it. They praise the holy land they lost and hope one day to return. This provides strength through generations – the strength to live and hope for their lost homeland.

“Kosu” (L.A. Premiere)
Short    22m    USA, INDIA
Director: Saro Varjabedian
Producers: Christopher Dimitrov, Rob Richert
Writer: Rob Richert
An American, who volunteers with an Indian orphanage, disrupts the status quo, provoking the couple running it to work through their emotional scars. English, Tamil with English Subtitles*

DOCUMENTARY PROGRAM 1 • Saturday, September 24 1:30 PM

Doc    11m USA
Director: David Deranian
Producer: Charles Andrews, David Deranian
Writer: David Deranian
An especially talented Armenian man, Komitas, who was a priest, singer, choir director, composer, musicologist, music ethnologist and music pedagogue, experienced a life filled with the passion of dreams pursued.  Tragically, he also witnessed the devastation of that dream during the calamity of the Armenian Genocide.

“40 Days of Musa Dagh: 94 Years of Genocide Survival”
Doc    17m TURKEY
Director: Robert Davidian
Producer: Robert Davidian
Writer: Robert Davidian
A journey to Vakifli, the only Armenian village remaining in Turkey, to learn about its storied past.

Doc    59m Armenia, USA
Director: Robert Davidian
Producer: Robert Davidian
Writer: Robert Davidian
What happens when Armenian-Americans pick up and move to Armenia?

Saturday, September 24 • 3:00 PM FREE SCREENINGS!
Two award winning documentary films are presented in this free screening. Award presentation immediately following screenings

“Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000” 
West Coast Premiere
Doc    30m 
Director: Susan Edwards – 2011 AT&T Award for Environmental Conservation and Stewardship Recipient
Producer: Dorie Clark
Writer: Susan Edwards
Marion Stoddart lived next to one of America’s most polluted rivers and transformed herself from a 1960s housewife to a citizen leader and environmental hero honored by the United Nations. The Work of 1000 is the documentary film chronicling her life and her unwavering belief that one person can make a difference in the world.
*Recipient of 2011 AT&T Award for Environmental Conservation and Stewardship 

“Children of War”
Doc    75m USA, UGANDA
Director:  Bryan Single – 2011 Armin T. Wegner Award Recipient
Producers: Bryan Single, Farzad Karimi, Timothy Beckett
Associate Producers: Anahid Aramouni Keshishian, Shannon McBrien, Grant Inglett
Filmed in northern Uganda over a period of three years, ‘Children Of War’ is a unique and incandescent documentary, which follows a group of former child soldiers as they escape the battlefield, enter the sanctuary of a rehabilitation center, and undergo a remarkable process of trauma therapy and emotional healing. Having been abducted from their homes and schools and forced to become fighters by a quasi-religious militia called the Lord’s Resistance Army, the children struggle to confront their years of captivity, extreme religious indoctrination, and participation in war crimes with the help of a heroic team of trauma counselors.  As these fearless allies guide the children forward into new lives, Children Of War illuminates a powerful and cathartic story of forgiveness and hope in the aftermath of war. 

DOCUMENTARY PROGRAM 2 • Saturday, September 24 • 3:30 PM
Dilli” (West Coast Premiere) (Best Documentary Nominee)
Doc     25m USA, India
Directors: Sushmit Ghosh, Rintu Thomas
Executive Producer: Robin Raina
“Dilli” is a moving collection of heartfelt interviews with Delhi slum dwellers. Its lens focuses on a group of dwellers, bringing to life the untold story of the mass exodus of thousands who were bulldozed from their homes and transferred to a makeshift facade – Bawana – without water, shelter or drainage, while the city was being beautified for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. *Hindi with English Subtitles

“Roots’ (North American Premiere)
Doc     48m GREECE
Director: Vahagn Karapetyan
Producer: Vahagn Karapetyan
Writer: Vahagn Karapetyan
The identification of spiritual identity of ever yindividual is directly dependent on the homeland, language, and culture. A sustained effort is required for Armenian Diaspora communities to preserve their culture.  The Armenian community of Greece has allies in this struggle: schools, churches, newspapers, and syndicates.  Through the collective efforts of dedicated compatriots the Armenian soul remains alive.
*Armenian with English subtitles

“The Last Tightrope Dancer In Armenia” (Best Documentary Nominee)
Doc     52m ARMENIA
Directors: Arman Yeritsyan, Inna Sahakyan
Producer: Vardan Hovhannisyan
Writers: Arman Yeritsyan, Inna Sahakyan
Zhora and Knyaz were once the most celebrated masters of tightrope dancing in Armenia.  Today, they are the only surviving performers who can keep this ancient art alive against the current of contemporary society, but all their students grow up and find other interests in life. Why is their art not important anymore?

“Three Veils” (Los Angeles Premiere   Saturday, September 24 •  6:00 PM
Feature 117m USA (Best Feature/ Best Screenplay/ Best Director Nominee)
Director: Rolla Selbak
Producer: Ahmad Zahra
Writer: Rolla Selbek
Three Veils is a film about three young Middle-Eastern women living in the U.S., each with her own personal story. Leila is engaged to be married, however as the wedding night approaches, she becomes less and less sure of how her life is playing out. Amira is a very devout Muslim, but is dealing with her deep repressions about her intimate feelings toward women. Nikki is acting out her promiscuity as she battles her own demons after a tragic death in the family.  As the film progresses, all three stories unfold and blend into each other as connections are revealed between the three women.

SATURDAY EVENING SHORTS PROGRAM, Saturday September 24 •  6:00 PM
 [FREE SCREENING] Followed by extended Q & A

“Le Piano” (North American Premiere)  (Best Short Film Nominee)
Short   26m   FRANCE, ARMENIA
Director: Levon Minasian
Producers: Boris Briche, Jennifer Sabbah
Writer: Levon Minasian
Thirteen years after the Armenian city of Leninakan was destroyed in an earthquake, Loussine, a thirteen-year-old orphan, lives with her grandfather in a domik, a prefabricated small house. She is an uneducated but a talented pianist. To prepare for an international competition, the Ministry of Culture lends her a beautiful piano. But when the instrument is delivered, it becomes clear that the domik is too small to hold a piano. Starring Yervand Manaryan and Gerald Papasian.
*Armenian with English Subtitles

“Bolis” (North American Premiere)  (Best Short Film Nominee)
Short   20m USA, Turkey
Director: Eric Nazarian
Writer: Eric Nazarian
Producers: Huseyin Karabey, Sevil Demirci.
Armenak is a successful oud player who is in Istanbul for the first time for an important musical event. His feelings toward the city, which his Armenian grandfather fled at the tip of the sword in 1915, are very complex. Armenak arrives full of prejudice, expecting to hate the place, but instead finds it very familiar. The decision comes naturally to him to search for his grandfather’s old musical instrument shop with only an old photo and a street name. Is it destiny or coincidence that leads him to his destination?
CLOSING NIGHT FILM Saturday, September 24
“Five Minarets In New York” (North American Premiere) •  8:00 PM
Feature 100m TURKEY
Director: Mahsun Kirmizigul
Producer: Murat Tokat
Writer: Mahsun Kirmizigul
Istanbul, Turkey. Undercover cop Firat is actively investigating terrorist breeding grounds among fundamentalists and nationalists in Istanbul. Separately, anti-terrorism cop Acar follows a lead to a terrorist hideout in one of the city. After a bloody shootout, the cops fail to capture a notorious terrorist leader known only by his alias Decal. At the police station, Firat reveals his real identity is Haci Gumus, a man released from prison decades ago after serving a short sentence for murder. Interpol quickly issues an arrest warrant for Hali, currently residing in New York. In Manhattan, an FBI SWAT team led by Agent Becker raids the apartment of Haci Gumus, a seemingly innocent Muslim scholar, and arrests him.

Firat and Acar soon arrive in New York and take custody of Haci. On the way to JFK, their van is ambushed by a group of masked men led by Marcus, close friend of Haci. The men rescue Haci and disappear. In their quest to bring this criminal to justice, the two cops realize that there is more to Haci than meets the eye.  “Five Minarets in New York” asks tough questions about present day Turkey, while holding a spotlight on the rampant paranoia in regards to Islam in the United States and rest of the world. English, Turkish with English Subtitles*

Distinguished jury members, CAA talent representatives Ara Keshishian and Jeff Speich and marketing producer Owen Ward will choose winners for Best Documentary, Best Short Film, and Best Feature Film from the nominated films which were selected from this year’s festival entries.  Nominees in the Best Feature category are also eligible to receive Best Screenplay and Best Director nods.  Winners will be announced prior to their screenings throughout the three-day festivities.

ARPA proudly welcomes back AT&T as a festival sponsor. AT&T Real Yellow Pages and YP.COM presents the festival’s third annual AT&T Award for Environmental Conservation and Stewardship. The award highlights the shared commitment between the Festival and its Presenting Sponsor, AT&T YP.com, to foster green initiatives in cinema. Visit YP.COM, the new YELLOWPAGES.COM website for more information.

Individual Screenings $12 online only. Consider the All-Access Pass for $65 (150 value!)
For more information, to purchase tickets or to view trailers go to http://affma.org/get-your-tickets-now/

AT: Egyptian Theatre 6712 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 USA


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

Leave A Reply