22nd Arpa International Film Festival Wraps Up with Great Success

From l to r: Founder of AFFMA Sylvia Minassian, Actor Eric Roberts, Arpa Board member Maral Kazazian, Casting Director Eliza Roberts, and Arpa Board member Sonia Keshishian. (Photo by Don Hannah Photography)

HOLLYWOOD—The 22nd Arpa International Film Festival, one of Hollywood’s longest running film festivals, showcased Features, Documentaries, Shorts, Animated films and Music Videos from 15 different countries. This year’s festival once more highlighted a diverse range of films that explored themes such as genocide, war, environmentalism, music, art, and variety of issues. The festival was held at Hollywood’s historic American Legion Post 43 theater from November 8 to 10.

Opening night on Friday, November 8 kicked off with a special reception and the screening of “Sand and Fire.” The film’s background music “Dle Yaman” was performed live before the film’s screening by none other than the amazing Alene Aroustamian, who thrilled the audience with her magical performance.

“Sand and Fire” was a film from Morocco, directed by Souheil Ben Barka, Morocco’s famous director who studied the craft in Italy. We were thrilled to find out that, growing up, his Armenian grandmother would sing “Dle Yaman” to him, which was very dear to his heart. The film tells the story of a Spanish army officer who is sent to Morocco as an explorer, with a mission to overthrow the Moroccan Sultan.

The festival’s Centerpiece program featured two films – “Lorik,” by Alexei Zlobin and Michael Poghosyan, and “Armenia Uncovered” by Andy Simon and Raffi Tanielian, with host Kev Orkian.

The weekend was the home of full house audience with films such as Ani Hovannisian’s “Hidden Map,” Lilit Pilikian and Jared White’s “100 Years from Home,” and Jasper Aero’s “Dead Soldier.” The amazing film “Coming Home” by Daria Shumakova, stole everyone’s heart, including the Jury.

The closing night ceremonies were a great success. The Mistress of Ceremonies, Maria Cozette opened the evening with her two songs “O Kami Kami” and “The Light of Day,” then proceeded gracefully into MCing the evening.

Celebrity guests throughout the weekend included with celebrities such Fern Champion, Sonya Eddy, Kev Orkian, Paul Fisher, Esai Morales, Michelle Alexandria, Jack Betts, Alex Kalognomos, Armen Ra, Leonardo Foti, Chuck Harter, Sofia Shinas, Ken Davitian, Maria Elena Infantino, Ara Keshishian, Kamal Moumad, Micky Levy, Paul Fisher, Michael Poghosyan, and Sofia Milos, to name a few. Our amazing special honorees included Eric Roberts, actor; Sally Kirkland, actress; Albert S. Ruddy, producer of “Godfather,” “Million Dollar Baby,” and many others including filmmakers, directors, producers from all over the world.

The 2019 Arpa International Film Festival’s award winners are:

  • Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking: “Sand and Fire (The Impossible Dream)”, directed by Souheil Ben Barka
  • Best Short Film: “The Sea,” directed by Cameron Richards
  • Best Music Video: “South Central State of Mind,” directed by Timur Bootzin
  • Best Animated Short Film: “Anacronte,” directed by Raúl Koler and Emiliano Sette
  • Best Documentary Film (a tie): “The Dead Soldier,” directed by Jesper Ærø, and “Reinventing Rosalee,” directed by Lillian Glass
  • Best Screenplay: “Lorik,” directed by Alexey Zlobin
  • Best Director: “Coming Home,” directed by Daria Shumakova
  • Best Feature Film: “Coming Home,” produced by Makar Zaporozhskiy and Anna Gasparyan
  • Special Honorees 2019 Arpa International Film Festival
  • Lifetime Achievement Award in Producing – Albert S. Ruddy
  • Career Achievement Award in Directing – Joe Berlinger
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Eric Roberts
  • Icon Award – Sally Kirkland

2019 Arpa International Film Festival Jury included:

  • Kimberly Fox – Partner at Mad River Productions
  • Michael Mandaville – Producer
  • Fern Champion – Casting director
  • Darren Boghosian – Agent, UTA
  • Sonya Eddy – Actress
  • JD Larson – Founder, Larson and Associate music Management
  • Sofia Shinas – Writer, Director
  • Karen Ryan – Commercial Casting Director
  • Chuck Harter – Producer
  • Robert Giardina – Actor

To date, Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art has awarded over 150 individuals with grants in support of their creative endeavors. Through its Arpa International Film Festival, AFFMA has recognized industry legends, with Lifetime Achievement, Career Achievement, Humanitarian, Icon and Breakthrough Artist Awards. Arpa International Film Festival takes great pride in working toward recognizing the diverse tapestry of international talent and presenting it to an appreciative audience. We place a strong emphasis on filmmakers’ unique artistic vision, cultural diversity and social understanding. AFFMA is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.