The 11th annual Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival will be featuring its first Armenian film, with the support of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. The festival is set to run from October 23 to 27 at Regal L.A. LIVE.
This year’s festival includes foreign films from around the globe, all making their Los Angeles premieres, including the narrative feature “Yeva” by Armenian Iranian director Anahid Abad. “Yeva” is the first film of Armenian content and language to ever be included in the festival, and it’s the first film being presented that’s set in Armenia and has an Armenian director.
“It’s so important to be able to understand that real life exists in conflict zones, and this film does just that,” said Salpi Ghazarian, director of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. “That’s why we’re so pleased that the Armenian participation in the DTLA Film Festival is about people and lives – especially women’s lives. Needless to say the message is universal.”
The film will screen at the festival on October 26 at 6:15 p.m. The screening will be followed by an audience Q&A with director Anahit Abad. Tickets can be purchased online. A screening of “Yeva” will also take place at the Laemmle theatre in Glendale on November 1.
The film is an intimate drama, in which a woman suspected of murder flees from Yerevan to an Armenian village in Nagorno-Karaakh with her young daughter. The heroine, Yeva, returns to a place she briefly worked as a doctor during the Nagorno-Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan, hoping she won’t be recognized. As she integrates into the rhythm of village life, Yeva’s memories of the war come flooding back, as she tries to conceal her identity.
“While the film is set in Armenia, the story has a universal message about the sacrifices and strengths of motherhood and family, which resonated with us,” said Karolyne Sosa, Director of Programming, DTLA Film Festival. ‘Yeva’ has already screened and won several awards at major international film festivals this year. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to present the U.S. West Coast premiere of the film.”
“Yeva” was selected as Armenia’s official submission to the 90th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category for 2017. The film is co-produced by Iran’s Farabi Cinema Foundation and the National Cinema Center of Armenia.
The 94-minute film is set in Armenia and has an all-Armenian cast, including Narina Grigorian, Shant Hovhanisian, Sergay Tovmasian, Vrejh Kasoni, Marjan Avadisyan, Roz Avadisova, Digran Davtian, Nanor Patrosian, Avalian Adamian and Marat Davtian. The film was banned in Turkey due to interference from Azerbaijan’s government.
A total of 36 feature-length movies – 17 narrative and 19 documentary — are slated to screen at the DTLA Film Festival, with the majority making their World Premiere, West Coast Premiere, or Los Angeles premieres.
The DTLA Film Festival was established in 2008 with a mission of reflecting the vibrant and eclectic urbanism that defines Downtown L.A. Through the exhibition of a wide array of independent films by and about groups traditionally underrepresented in the commercial Hollywood film industry – notably women, people of color, and the LGBTQ communities – DTLA Film Festival has established itself as a platform that has continually pushed the creative envelope.
Established in 2005, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies supports multidisciplinary scholarship to re-define, explore and study the complex issues that make up the contemporary Armenian experience—from post-genocide to the developing Republic of Armenia to the evolving diaspora. The institute encourages research, publications and public service, and promotes links among the global academic and Armenian communities. For inquiries, write to Armenian@usc.edu or call 213.821.3943.