Edward James Olmos, Ed Asner, Natalie Qasabian, Sveva Alviti Among This Year’s Honorees
HOLLYWOOD—The 21st Annual Arpa International Film Festival (Arpa IFF), being held at Hollywood’s historic Egyptian Theatre from November 2 to 4, has announced the lineup of 46 films from 17 countries being screened this year. Arpa IFF will once again highlight a diverse range of films that explore themes such as genocide, war, feminism, family dynamics, environmentalism, music, art, adoption, intersectional identities, and LGBTQ issues.
Honorees this year include:
Edward James Olmos – Lifetime Achievement Award
Academy Award-nominated actor/producer (Stand and Deliver, American Me, Selena, Miami Vice, The Burning Season, Battlestar Galactica, Mayans MC)
*Opening Night – Friday 11/2
Ed Asner – Icon Award
Television legend with 7 Emmy Awards (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant, Roots)
*Awards Ceremony on Sunday 11/4
Natalie Qasabian – Rising Star Award
Producer (Searching, All About Nina, Rainbow Time, Take Me, Duck Butter, Join the Club)
*Awards Ceremony on Sunday 11/4
Sveva Alviti – Career Achievement Award
Italian actress (Dalida, Dangerous Lies Vol. 1, The Bouncer)
*Awards Ceremony on Sunday 11/4
Opening night on Friday, November 2 will kick off with a special reception and screening of MONDAY NIGHTS AT SEVEN, a love story about a single father who is struggling unsuccessfully to let go of his past. The film stars Edward James Olmos, Marty Sader, past Arpa IFF award recipient Mary Apick and mixed martial arts legend Anderson Silva. A special ceremony honoring Edward James Olmos with a Lifetime Achievement Award will follow the screening of the film. Olmos, currently starring in the television series Mayans M.C., has played iconic roles both in film and television, receiving Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for “Stand and Deliver” (1988).
Saturday evening’s centerpiece program and reception will showcase two amazing films – YEVA, Armenia’s foreign language film Oscar submission last year, as well as DIVERTED EDEN written and directed by Prince Baghdasarian. YEVA, an Armenian-Iranian co-production, is set against the backdrop of the long-running conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). Director Anahid Abad tells the story of a young woman named Yeva who escapes her influential in-laws with her daughter, after her husband’s tragic death and takes refuge in one of the villages of Karabakh. Yeva, accused of murdering her husband, is a complete stranger in this village and is obliged to live her daily life in disguise.
DIVERTED EDEN, winner of the Audience Award at this year’s Sedona International Film Festival, is the story of a war hero who takes matters into his own hands after his young daughter is kidnapped, as detectives unravel the mystery surrounding the unusual crime. Director Prince Bagdasarian’s debut feature “Abstraction” (2013) starring Ken Davitian and Korrina Rico won the Audience Award at Arpa IFF that same year.
A Glimpse into Some of Saturday’s Film Screenings:
THE SONG OF SWAY LAKE (feature) (USA) – an intriguing family drama about a young record collector and his friend who go to his family’s lake house to claim a valuable jazz recording, upon his father’s suicide. While he is there, encounters with his estranged grandmother and a neighbor dredge up years of family suffering.
RIVER OF GOLD (documentary) (USA) – a disturbing account of the apocalyptic destruction of Peru’s Amazon rainforest in the pursuit of illegally mined gold. The acclaimed documentary is narrated by Academy Award winners Sissy Spacek and Herbie Hancock.
SIX MUSICIANS AND THE CITY (documentary)(Russia) – Filmmaker Tatiana Daniliyants showcases 6 amazing musicians based in Yerevan, each with their own unique story and musical genre. Between East and West, between strong traditions and today’s innovations, between the nostalgic melodies of duduk and the beat of modern jazz, is the city of Yerevan. Among the six participants of this film are Arto Tuncboyaciyan and Jivan Gasparyan.
THE GIRL IN THE SHOW (documentary) (USA) – a poignant retrospective of comediennes, exploring the ways in which women’s comedy and women’s liberation have evolved together. The Girl in the Show brilliantly explores how comedy and feminism have grown hand in hand to give women a stronger voice in the ongoing fight for equality.
NOWHERE (feature) (Canada) – Serbian filmmaker Predrag Velinovic tells the story of three inseparable friends who graduate together and develop a relationship balancing on a thin line between friendship and love.
MODERN AMERICAN ARTISTS (documentary) (USA) – Rockstar/Guitarist Peter DiStefano of the band Porno for Pyros explores his local city of Los Angeles in search of local artists to collaborate with. Peter’s journey takes you on a day in the life of a modern American artist as he interacts with painter Michael Gorman and child prodigy Alice Asmar with whom he creates original works.
BETTY: THEY SAY I’M DIFFERENT (documentary) (USA) – creatively blending documentary, animation and nonfiction techniques, this movie traces the life of Funk Queen Betty Davis who arrived on the 70’s scene to break boundaries for women with her daring personality, iconic fashion and outrageous funk music. The wife of jazz legend Miles Davis, Betty was a feminist pioneer, inspiring and intimidating in a manner like no woman before. After years of trying, the elusive Betty who vanished overnight, finally allowed the filmmakers to creatively tell her story based on their conversations.
DORBEEN (short) (India)– based on the life of two street children in India and their pursuit of happiness in the little things in life that most adults are unaware of or choose to ignore.
ECHO (short) (Serbia) – a young boy spends a day with his father, whom he only occasionally sees, in nature, with the game of calling Echo. After a great emotional charge that the play and the presence of his father create in him, he returns to his mother’s house, where there is no place for such outbursts of “irrational” attitudes towards the world.
GENESIS (short) (Iran) – a fantasy short film with a critical point of view about the situation in Syria.
WHAT WAR? (short) (USA) – a non-Armenian photojournalist’s exclusive footage from the Velvet Revolution that unfolded in Armenia in the spring of this year.
A Look into Some of Sunday’s Film Screenings:
THE PURSUIT (short) (USA) – a first generation Armenian-American single mother still struggling with her cultural identity. She tries to conform with her family’s and culture’s expectations but feels that she is stuck in the middle of the Armenian and American cultures. When she discovers her daughter has similar ambitions to be in the arts as she once had, she is forced to self-reflect. Lucy must decide whether or not she will stand up for her daughter, and vicariously for herself, or will succumb to the ever-present familial pressures.
IN VINO (feature) (USA) – it’s a special night for the Buoitton Family. Charles and Linda, extremely wealthy couple, invite their closest friends and family members to dinner. Before dinner is served Charles raises the glass for a toast to his family and falls face forward on his plate DEAD. Linda confesses that she had poisoned him and she had poisoned everyone in the room to get the money. The guests have one choice: Kill one person among them and take the blame for both murders to get the antidote or… DIE in one hour. What follows is a hysterical exchange between the overstressed members of the group who, in an attempt to establish who should die and who should be the killer, reveal all the skeletons in the closet they have been hiding from each-other for years.
UNDER THE WALNUT TREE (short) (USA) – a young boy has been displaced during the massacre of his people and his family. After wandering alone for days, he is ready to give up but fights to continue to safety. His struggle for survival ends when he finds his mother singing to a lifeless body. Loosely based on the true story of Shahan Natalie, who survived the Hamidian Massacres (also known as the Armenian Massacres) which were the precursor to the Armenian Genocide.
MY NEW YEAR (short) (Armenia) – Based on childhood memories of the devastating 1988 Spitak earthquake in Armenia. A father and his two young children are left homeless, grieving the loss of their mother and wife. After painful quest to find her body and give her a proper burial, by New Year’s Eve, the family is settled in a trailer near the wreckage of their home. The father for the sake of his children struggles to find the strength and heart to live on.
ELVIS WALKS HOME (feature) (Albania) – an illegal Albanian who used to live in London, is a part time Elvis Presley impersonator. He gets a job entertaining British peacekeeping troops in the 1999 Balkans wars. When backstage problems ensue, he flees – straight into the war zone. He meets and is captured by a group of children refugees caught up in the merciless war.
AMERICAN MIRROR- INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY- (documentary) (USA) – Oscar-winning screen icon Susan Sarandon and Armenian painter Tigran Tsitoghdzyan discuss how the apparently in conflict values of beauty and aging are perceived in our modern society dominated by social media, as he limns her portrait during a timeless sitting session. With this film the director sets in motion his theory on poetics of cinematic art, by creating the sense memories of an artist in a non-linear, challenging story-telling scheme.
TANIEL (short) (UK) – Film Noir images, prophetic verse, and narration by Sean Bean tell the story of Taniel Varoujan, one of the most majestic poets of the 20th century. At the age of 31, he was lost under the vast shadow of the murder of a race, in what became known as the Armenian Genocide.
SIDE BY SIDE: OUT OF A KOREAN ORPHANAGE AND INTO THE WORLD (doc) – an international journey through the personal memories and experiences of abandonment, relinquishment, orphanages, aging out, and inter-country adoption from South Korea.
I PROMISED HER LIFE (short) (Canada) – On the day of her daughter’s funeral, a grieving Armenian-American mother defies a centuries-old ritual and tests the limits of tradition as she walks the thin line between death and afterlife.
LITTLE FIEL (short doc) (USA) – Artist Fiel dos Santos grew up during the 16-year-long civil war in his home country of Mozambique. The only one of his family to never have shot a gun, today he makes art out of guns to commemorate the lives lost.
HOMELESS (ANTOUNI) (short) (Armenia) – a nine-year old Syrian-Armenian girl discovers her father’s plans of leaving their beloved homeland.
The 21st Annual Arpa International Film Festival will close with a special Awards Ceremony on Sunday, November 4 at the Egyptian Theatre, with Ed Asner, Natalie Qasabian and Sveva Alviti being honored.
For tickets (Individual Screenings, All-Access Passes, Day Passes) and a full schedule of this year’s film screenings, please visit www.arpafilmfestival.com
Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) is a non-profit 501 (3) (c) organization. To date, AFFMA 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 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.