Arpa Festival to Feature 60 Films From 30 Countries

AFFMA 2013 Festival poster

LOS ANGELES—Arpa Foundation for Film, Music, & Art (AFFMA) is pleased to announce the 16th anniversary of its signature event, Arpa International Film Festival, which will be held from September 26 – 29 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. This year’s program of 60 films draws from an all-time high of 30 countries, showcasing a truly global range of artistic vision and thematic concerns. Tickets will be available from September 5th through 29th at and

Arpa International Film Festival is a unique forum for international cinema in Los Angeles. With a mission to cultivate cultural understanding and global empathy, the festival focuses on the work of filmmakers who explore current hot button issues, exile and multi-culturalism.

The 2013 line-up includes a documentary program of 11 feature-length films and six shorts; a narrative program of seven feature films, and 24 shorts; and12 music videos.

According to Alex Kalognomos, Arpa’s director and programmer, “Documentaries always play an important part in opening new vistas for our audience, but this year’s submissions offered such compelling breadth of perspectives we felt this section deserved special emphasis.”

Notable documentaries include “FrackNation” which follows journalist Phelim McAleer’s perilous quest to find the truth about fracking and Rupa Kanade’s “An Eternal Journey” based on Kumbhamela – a festival that started 4000 years ago and portrays the amalgamation of spiritually inclined people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Among the recognizable names at Arpa this year, Academy Award®-nominee Ethan Hawke narrates the documentary “Welcome Nowhere”; actress Camilla Belle (“From Prada to Nada”) stars in the narrative short “Zero Hour”; Grammy®-winner Desmond Child, who has written hit songs for a who’s who of acts from Kiss, Bon Jovi and Aerosmith to Michael Bolton, Kelly Clarkson and Joss Stone, is the subject of “TWO: The Story of Roman and Nyro”; and euthanasia activist Dr. Jack Kevorkian is featured in the documentary “Orphans of the Genocide.”

The Opening Night Film, on Thursday, September 26 will be the North American premiere of “My Name is Viola” (Armenia, 2013). Featuring two luminous female leads, Lusine Alexanian in the title role and Janet Spitzer as her hero/nemesis, the film tells the story of the emotional journey of a young woman longing for freedom. Rich in visual imagery, the film is a unique, often dream-like take on sexuality, relationships and class. “My Name is Viola” is written and directed by Ruben Kochar, a risk-taking artist whose thirty-year career spanning the pre- and post-Soviet eras has brought him renown in his native Armenia and the Russian film industry, along with an impressive list of international awards.

The program includes two Centerpiece Films. On Friday September 27, the feature is “Abstraction,” (USA, 2013) by Los-Angeles indie-director Prince Bagdasarian, an established producer who here makes his feature directorial debut. The intense crime drama stars Korrina Rico (In Time), Ken Davitian (The Artist, Borat), Natalie Victoria (Deadheads), and Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight). On Saturday, September 28 it is the multiple-perspective urban crime drama“ The Power of Few”(USA, 2013) by writer/director Leone Marucci and starring Christopher Walken, Christian Slater, Anthony Anderson, Juvenile and executive produced by Roy Kurtluyan. Sunday’s Closing Night film will be “Masque,” directed by Robert Hatch and starring Lauren Holly and Wilford Brimley.

Arpa head and founder, Sylvia Minassian comments, “We have hosted many notable premiers of films that have gone on to enjoy commercial success. Currently the Jamie Kennedy comedy, “Lost and Found In Armenia,” which had its sold out US Premier at Arpa last year, is enjoying consecutive sold out screenings nationwide. “We are certain there are many success stories within this year’s program as well.”

This year’s online box office is at and The ALL-ACCESS Pass for all 4 days of screenings and special events, valued at over $250, is $95. Individual general screenings are $13 online and $15 at the door. Opening and Closing Night is $45. Centerpiece films are $25. The full schedule and general screening tickets will be available September 5. For ALL ACCESS Pass, on sale now, click

16th Annual Arpa International Film Festival 2013 Official Selection


An Eternal Journey
Documentary Short 2013 Director: Rupa Kanade India
This film is about the journey of the ancient River Ganga that emerges from the Himalayas. Millions of people gather on the banks of this river to purify their sins. The documentary is shot at the confluence of three rivers – Ganga, Yamuna & Saraswati. The film is based on Kumbhamela – a festival that started 4,000 years ago & still continues to attract people from across the world. The film portrays the amalgamation of spiritually inclined people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Figure of Armen (Figure d’armen)
Documentary 2012 Director: Marlene Edoyan Canada, Armenia
The horrific earthquake in 1988. A devastating war with Azerbaijan. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It goes without saying that Armenia has been subjected to countless social, natural and geopolitical upheavals. Major though they may have been, these tragedies have not stopped Armenians from taking pride in their long, rich history, nor from believing, despite occasional doubts, in the possibility of a renaissance in their country. The filmmaker returns to her native land and as she travels through towns and villages, her portraits of individual Armenians become a group portrait woven from stories and poems. It all comes together as a pointed, in-depth exploration of questions of heritage, identity and exodus.

Documentary 2013 Director: Phelim McAleer Poland, USA, United Kingdom
FrackNation follows journalist Phelim McAleer as he faces gun threats, malicious 911 calls and bogus lawsuits when questioning green extremists for the truth about fracking. Fracking is going to make America one of the world’s leading energy producers and has become the target of a concerted campaign by environmentalists who want it banned. In FrackNation McAleer travels across the USA and Europe to uncover the science suppressed by environmental activists and ignored by much of the media. He talks with scientists and ordinary Americans who live in fracking areas and who tell him the truth behind the exaggerations and misrepresentations of anti-fracking activists.

Generation Red Nation
Documentary 2013 Director: Olga Valanos USA
Historically, reckless government policies nearly destroyed American Indians. Get a brutally honest view of Indian reservation life, leaving “the Rez,” and in the city. With unemployment at 89%, two thirds of the population substance abusers, the shortest lifespans in the nation, teen suicide, and substandard education, how can they survive?

Heal America
Documentary 2013 Director: Yervand Kochar USA
Legendary homeless activist Ted Hayes embarks on a journey to heal America. He is accompanied by Alec, a cynical writer, disillusioned with the American dream.

Indelible Lalita
Documentary 2012 Director: Julie Mallozzi USA, Canada,France,India
Indelible Lalita tells the story of a beautiful woman whose resilient spirit survives her body’s transformation by cancer, heart failure, and a dramatic loss of skin pigment. Meditatively flowing between surface and interior, the film follows Lalita as she migrates from Bombay to Paris to Montreal, and becomes completely White along the way. Lalita learns to let go of her body as the sign of her ethnicity and femininity–and ultimately realizes that her body is just a temporary vessel for her spirit.

Lady Urmia
Documentary Short 2012 Director: Mohammad Ehsani Iran
The film is a poetic documentary about Lake Urmia, in the Northwest of Iran, which is drying up completely. The environmental catastrophe will affect also neighboring countries such as Iraq and Turkey. The film is narrated in the voice of the Lake itself, crying for help and trying to gain international attention to its suffering.

Life Changing Moments

Documentary Short 2013 Director: Sherry Thomas USA, Uganda
“Life Changing Moments” follows director and surgeon, Dr. Sherry Thomas, as she travels to Africa to provide free surgery and medical care to dozens of impoverished African women suffering with fistula. This inspiring documentary also contrasts the experience of providing health care in Africa with her medical practice in the USA.WINNER! Best Documentary Short, Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Los Angeles

Orphans of the Genocide
Documentary 2013 Director: Bared Maronian USA, Armenia, Canada, Lebanon
Orphans of the Genocide is an emotional visual journey through never-before-seen or rarely seen archival footage and discovered memoirs of orphans who lived through the last century’s first, fully documented and least recognized Armenian Genocide of 1915. The documentary follows Maurice Missak Kelechian whose research findings unveil the site of an Armenian orphanage located at the present day Antoura College near Beirut, Lebanon where 1,000 Armenian Genocide Orphans had lived and were forcefully converted and ‘Turkified’ during WWI. Additionally the documentary includes interviews with numerous public figures including British journalist Robert Fisk–whose article ‘Living Proof of the Armenian Genocide,’ published in 2010 by the Independent, included many of the archival proofs–as well as Armenian-American Dr. Jack Kevorkian among others.

Pier Melodies
Documentary Short 2013 Director: Taniel Kilajian USA
Hanging out under the sun at the end of the pier with fishing rods, beers and joints, the pier brotherhood is a community of individuals dedicated to keep the tradition and the lifestyle alive. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, they don’t have any strong attachments to the real world, i.e. jobs, family, money, future. They have the pier, they have each other, they have the sun shining down on them, and beers and joints of course. “Pier Melodies” is a document of these individuals, their relations and the richness of their singular existence out on the pier.

Risky Business: A Look Inside America’s Adult Film Industry
Documentary 2013 Director: David Mech USA
“Risky Business: A Look Inside America’s Adult Film Industry” examines the social, psychological, and economic impacts of performing in adult films. The documentary also examines proposed regulations that would address current industry issues, including workplace health and safety, such as mandatory STD testing and condom use, and job discrimination once performers decide to leave the industry and pursue conventional employment.

Sikh Formaggio
Documentary Short 2012 Director: Devyn Bisson Italy, USA
The centuries-old Parmesan Cheese industry of Northern Italy is one of history, passion, tradition and…. Sikhs?

Documentary 2013 Director: Scott Erlinder USA, Belgium,France,Rwanda,Uganda,United Kingdom
Since the 1994 Genocide, Rwandan refugees from that conflict – and from subsequent events – have created a population of over 150,000 (some say 250,000) living around the world. In July 2013, these people will lose their refugee status and be forced back to Rwanda by the UNHCR and host countries. The refugees fear repatriation to a country they see as dictatorial and oppressive. The film “Stateless” explores why it is NOT a proper time to invoke this return. Stateless has interviews with major figures in refugee studies, Paul Rusesabagina (the REAL ‘Hotel Rwanda’ person), Theogene Rudesingwa (former Ambassador to the US from Rwanda, currently in exile), as well as UN officials, Human Rights activists and refugees themselves. Much of the footage was recorded by refugees.

TWO: The Story of Roman & Nyro
Documentary 2013 Director: Heather Winters USA
Combining over twelve years of footage and narrated by their twin sons, “TWO: The Story of Roman & Nyro,” follows legendary songwriter Desmond Child and his lifelong partner’s loving journey to create their new modern family.

Walking on the Leaves
Documentary 2013 Director: Tom Keith Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mali, USA
“Walking on the Leaves” is a new documentary that celebrates the history, mission, impact and people of the Peace Corps. The film features three stories: two young volunteers going to serve in the Dominican Republic. A volunteer in Mali who is done with his service and returning home. The third segment has us following a former volunteer returning to Colombia to the site of his brother’s plane crash. His brother was the first volunteer to die in Peace Corps service in 1962, when his plane crashed in the jungle. “Walking on the Leaves” gives viewers a first-hand look at the extraordinary nature of the Peace Corps experience.

Welcome Nowhere

Documentary 2012 Director: Kate Ryan Bulgaria, USA
Narrated by Academy Award-nominee Ethan Hawke, “Welcome Nowhere” tells the true story of a community of Roma people (commonly known as Gypsies) who live in old train boxcars in Sofia, Bulgaria. Without bathrooms for more than 200 people, they struggle to survive, waiting for help from the government that never seems to come.

Narrative Feature Films:

Abstraction Feature Film 2013 Director: Prince Bagdasarian USA
An intense action crime drama revolving around the heist of a half-million dollar painting.

Always Faithful

Feature Film 2012 Director: Christopher Cardiff USA
An American soldier falls in love with an Arab woman. Their love story represents peace in the world, despite religious and cultural differences.

Kral Yolu (King’s Way)
Feature Film 2013 Director: Serli Seta Nisanyan Turkey
Deniz’s parents are archeologists. He wants to spend the holiday with parents but they have to work on excavating at MERSIN. Deniz gets angry and tells this to his grandfather and then starts all adventure. Deniz and grandfather go to MERSIN, and they make a deal with the parents. Deniz can be with friends during the day but has to be with family at night. Grandfather volunteers to become leader of the kid’s group. The kids plan to use the map Deniz’s father was talking about to find the Queen’s crown. While on their exploratory mission, the sleepy cave comes to life with history and characters They find the crown and bid farewell to meet up with their anxious parents and a happy ending.

Manhattan Romance
Feature Film 2013 Director: Brian Ghost USA, France
Annette is a young French actress. During her stay in New York to promote her latest film, she meets up with Alex, an Armenian photographer and long-time friend. As the week progresses, they become inseparable and spend all of their time with together. They meet different people in New York and draw comparisons and differences with their own views and ideas of love, marriage, friendship and life. They have a special connection, but there is something unspoken between them. They begin to reveal themselves only when Alex photographs Annette throughout New York City. From friends to lovers there is only one step. Their relationship is about to unravel, but is it?

My Big Fat Armenian Family
Feature Film 2008 Director: Sev Ohanian USA
When Robert decides to surprise his kids with a vacation, he thought it would bring his family together. However, everything goes wrong as everyone’s agendas collide: Narbeh’s already estranged relationship with his father is further complicated by the arrival of his cousin Arabo from overseas. Ramela fears Robert will never approve of the boy of her dreams, Orbel. Meanwhile, Rima simply wishes Robert would pay more attention to her, as he once did years ago. Join the family in this laugh-filled and heartfelt story of an Armenian-American family who must learn to love and accept each other–the hard way.
*This is the 5th Anniversary Screening of “My Big Fat Armenian Family.” Sev Ohanian is the Arpa 2013 Breakthrough Filmmaker of the Year Recipient.

My Name is Viola
Feature Film 2013 Director: Ruben Kochar Armenia
This is the story of Haykuhi, a young girl whose world is one of loneliness and humiliation. Her only desire is to break free, but that possibility seems hopeless–even impossible. Her life is lived in silent abuse and hopelessness, until she meets Anna, a beautiful girl, whose life seems perfect. Living in Anna’s world, with many wonderful possibilities in front of her, Haykuhi’s new life appears exciting, almost exhilarating, that is until she discovers that Anna’s world is no different, and may be worse than her own.

The Power of Few
Feature Film 2013 Director: Leone Marucci USA
“The Power of Few is a time-bending dramatic thriller starring Christopher Walken, Christian Slater, Anthony Anderson & an ensemble cast. The film is told from multiple perspectives, mixes urban crime and religious conspiracy, and encourages audiences to look at things from different perspectives to see how the choices of a single person can affect the outcome of things in a world where everything is interconnected.

Music Videos:

Anthony De La Torre Music Video 2013 Cuba
Love, loss, and redemption in Cuba

Ganesh is Fresh
Music Video 2013 Director: Deborah Harse India, USA
Set to the music of hip hop artist MC Yogi, “Ganesh is Fresh” is a four-minute music video portraying the cultural love of elephants in India and the strong bond between elephant drivers (mahouts) and the elephants with whom they share their daily lives. It was shot entirely in Jaipur, India.

Music Video 2012 Director: Uzi Amir France, Israel
The clip is a satire on Israel and Israeli culture. Singer-songwriter Sharon Holzman embodies some of the personas on TV news: main anchor, field reporter, Israeli army officer and weather forecaster.

Music Video 2012 Director:Michael Pescasio U S A
The “IllusionsL video combines two powerfully emotional songs, “Illusions” and “I Don’t Want To Know,” to muse about how the reality of life is sometimes harsh, so we take refuge in our memories of a beautiful past–or we put on the rose-colored glasses that transport us back into a lovely, worry-free fantasy world.

In Everyone’s Eyes (En Todas Las Miradas)
Music Video 2013 Director: Lloyd Frost Cuba, Canada
A lively and subversive musical short film from inside Cuba, where dissent is counter-Revolutionary.

Let’s Face The Music And Dance 2013 Director: Michael Pescasio USA
Sensual Latin rhythms punctuate “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” a song about living life in the moment, casting away all doubts and fears to fully indulge and participate in each fleeting opportunity for happiness and greatness.

Moonbeam – Madness
Music Video 2013 Director: Pavel Khvaleev Russian Federation
This is new deep and mystic music video story from Russian electronic project,”Moonbeam.”

Rytme Pede – Horny
Music Video 2013 Director: Bjarke de Koning Denmark
In this music video Rytme Pede is being accused of being horny by the girl Anne but ends up scoring Anne, by making fun of himself.

Safe and Sound Music Video 2013 Director: Grady Hall USA
A Dark vintage theater lights up with a mysterious electricity, triggering the emergence of all the dancers who have ever performed in the theater. The result is the ultimate dance circle – a cross time mash-up of dance styles and people that honors the celebratory, connection, and expressive natures of dance and music.

Switzerland by The Dewars
Music Video 2013 Director: Brady Bigalke U S A
This is the music video for the song ‘Switzerland’ by The Dewars. ‘Switzerland’ compares the internal battles in one’s self to the historical battles in World War II.

Vassy’s Beautiful
Music Video 2013 USA
Youth empowerment music video by #1 Billboard charting pop and dance artists Vassy

Narrative Short Films:

A Perfect Day
Short Film 2011 Director: Adam Rubin USA
A teenager, on the morning of his “going Columbine,” is confronted by an unlikely stranger– the only person who can stop him. This is a timely and powerful short film about two seemingly ordinary strangers existing in the heart of “perfect” suburbia, fated to meet at a life-changing moment, both confronting the demons we all share. The film is a tale of angst, of irony, and ultimately of hope. It is an edgy and fast-paced thriller, beautifully shot and told, with large implications and strong social value.

Big In L.A.
Short Film 2012 Director: Norman Richard, Jochen Cambridge USA, United Kingdom
A young British schoolgirl suffering from extreme alopecia escapes her inevitable bullying in dreary London for sunny LA, daring to live out her wildest dreams, or are they already reality. A girl has a certain cause and remembered the feeling referred to as liking to become a singer.

Coming to Terms
Short Film 2013 Director: David Hovan Canada
A journey of self discovery.

Every Door. Every Floor
Short Film 2013 Director: Stash Capar Canada
Frustrated with his failure to make a single sale in six months, Vincent, a desperate cleaning product salesman, decides to take drastic action.

Getting It Right

Short Film 2013 Director: David Hovan Canada
Hilarious difficulties hinder two elderly Armenians who want to act in a film. Obstacles continue to get in their way take after take, foiling all their efforts for a perfect take.

Half Good Killer

Short Film 2012 Director: Brent Ryan Green South Africa
A jaded child soldier fighting for an African rebel force struggles to survive the war he was thrust into as he reawakens to the life he was destined to lead.

He Who Has Invented All

Short Film 2013 Director: Yuri Chirkovskiy Georgia
An auto-biographical journey through the memories of a boy and the personalities that defined his creative and artistic childhood.

Her Ruling
Short Film 2013 Director: Howie Askins USA
Jessica, a self employed attorney who has been married for the past four years, discovers that her happy marriage is a sham. Her husband has been cheating and stealing money from the LAPD. Jessica refuses to become one of the victims. She’s out for revenge and regains her power the best way she knows how.

Short Film 2013 Director: Emil Mkrttchian Sweden
There is a struggle inside Ida, between darkness and life. Can she fool death? Does she see the light?

Short Film 2013 Director: Gabriele Sabatino Nardis Italy
villages surrounding it. It claimed 309 lives, injured 1,600 people and damaged 11,000 buildings. People left homeless now live in temporary settlements. The elderly suffer more from the loss of their homes. Lao is one of them. When the quake broke his life he falls into loneliness and confusion, thinking back to an old beloved object lost under the debris of his house. His story is a universal metaphor for loss and old age.

Short Film 2012 Director: Yerem Tagvoryan USA
Leonardo Da Vinci works feverishly in his Florence workshop designing military weapons to defend the city, which is under attack. He sketches his ideas and then uses his secret invention, the Luminoso box, to test them as living, working holograms. Leonardo’s genius may be his own undoing, though, as his experiments unleash a weapon even deadlier and more sinister than the enemy at Florence’s gates…

Short Film 2012 Director: Robert Hatch USA
Defying a fate of destruction and despair, a scarred and evil prizefighter, henchman, and gambler conscripts the artful skills of a gifted benefactor who proffers the hope of a mythical journey of…

Miguel Alvarez Wears A Wig
Short Film 2012 Director: Araceli Lemos USA, Mexico, Greece
Tijuana’s La Linea is the most crossed border in the world and also one of the deadliest. Miguel Alvarez, a reliable and consistent middle-aged customs officer is faced with the threat of having to cross the biggest border of all. He has cancer. Carlos, Miguel’s coworker, has found another way of crossing over. Carlos invites Miguel to the drag show where he performs.

Mudita: Selfless Joy

Short Film 2013 Director: Melvin Chan Singapore
A personal documentary detailing the journey of a son who tries to reconnect with his mother, who became a Buddhist Nun after a lengthy and emotional divorce.

Otra Vez
Short Film 2013 Director: KS Shanti U S A
Everyone has a bad influence.

Red Cloud: Deliverance

Short Film 2012 Director: Alex Kruz U S A
Jake Red Cloud, a Native American gun for hire with a mysterious past, needs a place to lay low. With a flashy bankroll, he persuades attractive Jeanine Parker to rent him a room. Jake quickly learns that Parker is nothing but a chain smoking, promiscuous drunk that neglects and ignores her daughter Ann. Desperate for attention, Ann befriends Red Cloud and soon the two develop a spiritual bond of friendship, which leads Jake to the revelation that something in his life is missing. Before he can act his past threatens to extinguish his life and the lives of those around him.

Short Film 2013 Director: Harrison Whelan U S A
The story of a boy whose father left him lost and confused,and the journey he takes to find himself.

Rose, Mary and Time
Short Film 2013 Director: Hardeep Giani United Kingdom
Real is Love – Is life governed by Kismet, or can we change our life path?

Small Fish
Short Film 2013 Director: Alesia Glidewell USA
Two teams. Only one prize…bragging rights to being the best amateur dancers in Rancho Cucamonga

Subhuman (Untermensch)
Short Film 2010 Director: Michael Aloyan USA
Set in the fall of 1942, UNTERMENSCH, follows the story of a Russian civilian caught in the midst of a Nazi camp.


Short Film 2013 Director: Rick Glenn USA
Two men trapped in a laboratory desperately fight to delay an explosive chip from going off in their skulls, clinging to the knowledge that someone must be sending help.

The Lion’s Den
Short Film 2011 Director: Adam Koralik USA
Two men must traverse enemy territory to see their loved ones, but even attempting to do so is an offense punishable by death.

The Player
Short Film 2013 Director: Hayk Matevosyan USA
It is only a game until she learns how to play.

Zero Hour
Short Film 2013 Director: Dan Carrillo Levy Mexico,USA
Lovers Paula and Lorenzo are traveling on a long and desolate road when the unexpected happens. They are forced to make a decision, one that could bring them together or tear them apart, forever.The leads are played by Camilla Belle (“From Prada to Nada,” “10,000 B.C.”) and Mexican film and TV star Jaime Camil.


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