The 23rd Annual Arpa International Film Festival (Arpa IFF) announced its full lineup of selected films for this year.
The Arpa IFF, which in the past has originally taken place at historic theaters around Hollywood, will take place online this year. The Festival will run for an 11-day span in order to accommodate all of its planned screenings as a streaming virtual event from November 12 to 22,. This year’s Arpa IFF will once again highlight a diverse range of world cinema, 65 films from 19 countries that explore many contemporary issues.
For the last 23 years, this festival has brought film lovers and community members together to celebrate the art of film. During the selection process, the diligent team of festival programmers set aside time to meticulously select the finalists for this year’s official selection from a large pool of films received this year.
Official Selection 2020 Film Lineup at the Arpa International Film Festival
Feature Narrative Films
ALEKSI (*) Feature, Drama, Comedy, Coming of Age 2019 directed by Barbara Vekaric, Croatia
LONE WOLVES Feature, Thriller, Crime, Drama 2019 directed by Sergi Arnau, Spain
MIN ALESH? Feature, Drama 2019 directed by Amleset Muchie, Ethiopia
OMAR AND US (*) Feature, Drama, Human Rights 2019 directed by Maryna Er Gorbach & Mehmet Bahadir Er, Turkey
ONCE UPON A JUDGMENT DAY Feature, Drama, Western 2020 directed by Mehmet Tanrisever, Turkey
RESPITE Feature, Action, Crime, Drama 2019 directed by Saro Varjabedian, USA
SCENT OF MY DAUGHTER Feature, Drama 2019 directed by Olgun Özdemir, Turkey, USA, France
SUBMISSION (*) Feature, Drama 2020 directed by Leonardo Antonio, Portugal
UNTIMELY (*) Feature, Drama 2020 directed by Pouya Eshtehardi, Iran
Feature-length Documentary Films
AN ARMENIAN TRILOGY (*) Feature Doc, Armenian History, Music 2019 by Dan Yessian, USA
BLOODLESS: THE PATH TO DEMOCRACY (*) Feature Doc, History, Politics, Human Rights 2020 by Bared Maronian & Silva Basmajian, USA
BORN JUST NOW (*) Feature Doc, Performance Art, Women 2018 by Robert Adanto, USA
MIRACLE IN THE DESERT: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SALTON SEA Feature Doc, Environmentalism 2019 by Greg Bassenian, USA
QUO VADIS 2020 (*) Feature Doc 2019 by Gabriele Fabbro, USA
WHAT WILL BECOME OF US (*) Feature Doc, Armenian History, Diaspora 2020 by Stephanie Ayanian & Joseph Myers, USA
Short Documentary Films
CONFESSIONS OF A RUNNER (*) Short Doc, Sports, Addiction, Recovery 2020 by Bachar Khattar, Lebanon
FINISH LINE (*) Short Doc, Sport, Human Rights 2019 by Saeed Mayahy, Iran
FROM KURILS WITH LOVE (*) Short Doc, Adventure, Wildlife 2020 by Taylor Reese., USA
IN THE SAME DIRECTION: JEFF PIFHER & SOCRATES’ TRIAL Short Music Doc, Jazz 2020 by Alexander Craven, USA
JO & KESSY ARTISTS WITH DISABILITIES Short Doc, Artists, Disability 2019 by Nwaye Zar Che Soe, France
Short Narrative Films
38 MINUTES Short, Action, Drama 2020 directed by Paul Lacovara, USA
ALINA (*) Short, Drama, Thriller, Holocaust 2019 directed by Rami Kodeih, USA
ANEMONE Short, Drama, Sci-Fi, Action 2019 directed by Alessandro Marcon, Italy
BABU (*) Short, Drama, Family 2019 directed by Eelum Dixit, Nepal
BLACK HEART, RED HANDS (*) Short, Crime, Thriller, Drama 2019 directed by Russell Southam, Australia
DABUR Short, Drama 2019 directed by Saeid Nejati, Iran
DANDELION Short, Romance, Drama 2020 directed by Jörg Viktor Steins-Lauss, USA
DARK SENSES Short, Romance, Thriller, Mystery 2019 directed by Vaz Andreas, USA
EMME Short, Drama, Thriller, Neo Noir 2019 directed by Toshiki Yashiro, USA
FENCED Short, Drama 2019 directed by Rodrigo Zan, USA
FURTHEST FROM (*) Short, Drama, Family, Coming of Age 2019 directed by Kyung Sok Kim, USA
GIFTED Short, Romantic Comedy, Fantasy 2020 directed by Karina Weeks, USA
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Short, Comedy, Drama, Thriller 2018 directed by Mustafa Toby Eck, USA
HEARTBEAT Short, Drama 2020 directed by Chi Wang, USA
LIFELESS Short, Drama 2020 directed by Elvira Sinelnik and Alex Fedosov, USA
MORA & CHENCHI Short, Drama, LGBTQ, Romance 2020 directed by Diego Toussaint, USA
PARADISE PROGRAM Short, Sci-Fi, LGBTQ, Romance 2019 directed by Shanshan Zhang, USA
RETURN (*) Short, Drama 2019 directed by Selman Deniz, Turkey, Armenia
SKITOZ Short, Drama 2020 directed by Alexis & Diego Perrotte, France
THAT STUPID ARMENIAN’S MOTION PICTURE SHOW OR GAREN Short, Comedy 2019 directed by Hrag Meguerditchian, Lebanon
THE ABJURANTS Short, Sci-Fi, Drama 2019 directed by Antonio De Palo, Italy
THE BLUE BED Short, Drama 2020 directed by Alireza Kazemipour, Canada
THE CRITIC (*) Short, Drama, Psychological, Thriller 2018 directed by Stella Velon, USA
THE FAVOR Short, Drama 2019 directed by Henry Bruno, France
THIS LAND (*) Short, Crime, Drama 2019 directed by Michael Aloyan, Armenia
THROWAWAY BOY Short, Drama 2019 directed by Michael A. Pickeney, USA
TWENTY EIGHTY Short, Drama, Fantasy, Human 2020 directed by Eunjoo Na, Korea
WEEKEND Short, Drama 2019 directed by Ario Motevaghe, Iran
Short Animated Films
10000 UGLY INKBLOTS (*) Animation, Short 2020 by Dmitry Geller, China
ECHO Animation, Short, Drama, Environment 2020 by Barzan Rostami, Iran
GON, THE LITTLE FOX (*) Stop-Motion Animation, Drama, Fantasy 2019 by Takeshi Yashiro, Japan
HARVEST (*) Animation, Short 2018 by Sun Lijun, China
(*) MALAKOUT Animation, Fantasy 2019 by Farnoosh Abedi, Iran
THE ABANDONED BLOCK (*) Animation, Drama, Historic, Art 2020 by James Bourne, Canada
THE ROTATION Animation, Student 2020 by Hazhir As’adi, Iran
THE WINTER (*) Animation, Student 2020 Xin Li, by Australia
UNFRAMED Experimental Animation, Multimedia 2018 by Sona Yeghiazaryan, USA
SMASH AGAIN (*) Artist: CATALYST BARS & ALEXI Music Video, Dance, Pop, Rap 2019 directed by Alexi Papalexopoulos, USA
COVID BACH (*) Artist: ELIZABETH LEWIS Music Video, Animation, Classical 2020 directed by Elizabeth Lewis, Canada
A CHILD (*) Artist: HAMO ARZOUMANIAN Music Video, Armenian 2020 directed by Armen Poladian, Canada
ONLY LOVE (*) Artist: MANU HVALA Music Video, Pop 2020 directed by Manu Hvala, written and produced by Eric Bazilian , USA
GETAWAY TO KAOHSIUNG (*) Artist: NAMEWEE Music Video, Pop 2020 directed by Namewee, Taiwan
“It is important to stress that our focus is to support independent cinema which has inspired and sustained our festival globally. Since its inception, our festival’s future has always depended on the selfless acts of our community that continue to be our beacons of light, pushing forward diversity, innovation, creativity and vision to preserve our Festival,” said a press statement from Festival organizers.
“Our warmest gratitude once again to you all. We truly appreciate your love and support in standing with us during this difficult time. Stories are more important now than ever. We will transition and overcome the challenges together, celebrating the diverse array of films by unique voices that we are extremely excited about screening,” added the organizers.
The group also has assembled a group of volunteers to shepherd this year’s virtual events.
Programmer & Community Liaison
Silva Karageozian has lived in Southern California for most of her life. She is an alumna of UC Irvine and earned a Political Science degree. She worked in the environmental field in public relations. Later she earned a multiple subject credential and taught school in LA and Orange Counties. She left the classroom and joined Digital Networks where her work focused on the integration of technology in education. As a full time parent she became an active volunteer in her local community. This spirit of volunteerism led her back to her alma mater, where she aligned with the UCI Armenian Studies Program. She has worked to promote awareness and raise funds for Western Armenian language instruction and is co-chair of the Director’s Circle for Armenian Studies at UCI. She also chartered the UCI Armenian American Alumni Chapter. She loves classic movies and documentaries. Being part of the AFFMA and the Arpa International Film Festival is an exciting way to explore and examine intriguing and relevant topics through the medium of film. She is so honored to be part of the festival Programming Team this year!
Festival Advisor (Armenia Liaison)
Manvel Saribekyan, film producer Republic of Armenia. Founding Director of “Man Pictures” Studio. He is the author and producer of “The Map of Gratitude” and several other film projects produced by Man Pictures Studio. Author of the film idea and Producer of “The Fate and the Art”, “The Map of Salvation” produced by Man Pictures Studio.
Social Media Manager
As an Armenian-Venezuelan born and raised in Los Angeles, Lori Sinanian wears many hats that derive from her interest in the intersection of different modes of communicating. Sinanian holds a degree in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine.
Throughout her undergraduate career, she explored the various ways to use language to effectively communicate, such as through the Newport Beach Film Festival, Anteater Television, and Insight Magazine. Through her degree, she has obtained the power of the impact of words, but always with an eye for advocacy, storytelling, and social justice.
Graphic Design & Video Production Coordinator
Nick Talarico is a Cinema and Television Arts Student at California State University Northridge, focusing on Cinematography and Editing.
He is passionate about every aspect of the industry and loves working with others that share his love for filmmaking.
This passion was ultimately sparked when he first viewed the film “Back to the Future” as a child. Nick has since set his sights on being a part of the creative processes of filmmaking.
Video Production Coordinator
Hrag Meguerditchian is a Lebanese-Armenian born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. Born into a Theatrical background, Hrag found his love for the performing arts since he was a child, watching plays and growing up in the backstage of theaters across Lebanon.
Indulged in Music at first, then finding himself in Cinema and achieving a degree in Film from the Lebanese University – Faculty Of Fine Arts and Architecture.
Hrag searches to find inspiration from Human Interaction and the intricacies of Human emotion. Focusing on becoming a Writer/Director, he wishes to make films till the end of his days.
Maria Elena Infantino is an International Singer and Actress. She graduated in acting in London at ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) in 2010. Her debut was at the Royal Albert hall, singing for the 50th Beatles Anniversary, starring Dame Shirley Bassey. .That same year she was nominated for the 21st annual L.A. Music Awards as best International artist. Subsequently she created her one woman show on legendary Edith Piaf, which premiered in Los Angeles at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre, at the Lee Strasberg Institute, and subsequently at the Grammy Museum. Among the many successes that this show generated for Ms Infantino, was the inauguration on June 12th of the Piaf and Miles Davis USPS forever stamp, at the Rubin Museum in New York. She has been associate producer and actress in various independent films such as “The Admired” starring Jacqueline Murphy, and “Job’s daughter” with Corey Feldman, Eric Roberts and Doris Roberts, “The secret of joy,” ITV Yorkshire UKseries “Emmerdale” and more. Maria Elena is also on the board of charitable causes such as Caterina’s club founded by CNN hero chef Bruno Serato which feeds 5,000 unprivileged kids a day and Ranch hands rescue in Texas, which provides therapy for abused children and animals.
Marija Srdic is a Los Angeles based producer, artist, and brand ambassador. She has recently graduated from Bowling Green State University, where she obtained her degree in Musical Arts and Music Industry Business. Upon graduating, she has worked on Cleveland’s music and art scene as a part of ALOOF Recs. As a creative and event producer, talent and social media manager, Marija has also participated in developing art projects and concerts that promoted diversity and raised awareness of different social, mental, and environmental issues. Marija is pursuing her passion for the Music and Film production, while also sharing her piano knowledge of 18 years, and working closely with different brands.