Festival Recap & Highlights

10 11 2009

L to R: Director Haik Gazarian, Director Eric Nazarian, AFFMA-founder Sylvia Minassian, CAA-agent Ara Keshishian

The 12th Annual Arpa International Film Festival came to a close on Sunday, October 25 after 3 days of films, receptions, and a star-studded closing night awards ceremony at the renowned Egyptian Theatre.

More than 20 nations including Armenia, Venezuela, Turkey, Brazil, France, Peru, Canada, Mexico, Malawi, Israel, Spain, China, Bhutan, India, and Iran were represented among the feature films, shorts, documentaries, music videos and animations that screened during the festival.

Such filmmakers as Alex Webb (director of “Hove” starring Olympia Dukakis), Lucy Martens and Marjorie Wright (filmmakers of the 2009 Armin T. Wegner Award recipient “Voices from Inside: Israelis Speak”) and Ghazaros Kerjilian (the subject of Mehmet Binay’s “Talking Pictures,” a companion piece to “Whispering Memories”) flew in from around the world to attend this year’s festivities.

Opening Night Premiere – “Venezzia”

venezzia opening night arpa film festival 2009

On Friday, October 23 the festival premiered Haik Gazarian’s highly anticipated directorial debut,  “VENEZZIA,” a Venezuelan production starring two of Latin America’s top film and television stars, Alfonso Herrera and Ruddy Rodriguez. Gazarian, along with star Ruddy Rodriguez and screenwriter Valentina Rendon, were in attendance for the red carpet event attended by over 500 ardent fans and hosted by REELZChannel’s Jill Simonian. Also in attendance were several dozen cheering admirers of Alfonso Hererra who hoped to get a glimpse of the star.

Saturday Sold Out Screenings

chasing tchaikovsky

Saturday’s highlights included two sold old screenings. This year’s recipient of Arpa International Film Festival’s Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award, which is awarded annually to a motion picture that contributes to the fight for social conscience and human rights, was “Voices from Inside: Israelis Speak.” “This feature length documentary film is based on the stories of 16 Jewish Israeli voices of conscience, each representing a different facet of the peace movement inside Israel,” says Zaven Khatchaturian, Arpa International Film Festival Curator, who invited the filmmakers, producer/director Lucy Martens and producer Marjorie Wright, to the festival. The screening attracted a capacity audience and was followed by a discussion with the filmmakers.

Saturday’s day long screenings culminated with the premiere of “Chasing Tchaikovsky,” a laugh out loud comedy about marriage and moviemaking directed by Greg Lalazarian and starring a culturally diverse cast headed by veteran actress Ann Magnuson. Art Aroustamian, Boyd Banks, and Josie Davis also star. The screening was attended by over 500 enthusiastic guests, and included a red carpet pre-reception party for the cast and crew.

Arpa Awards Gala And Reception Hosted By Hollyscoop

hollyscoop hosting

Awards were handed out at a star-studded closing night ceremony on Sunday, October 25.

The illustrious Hollyscoop Girls – Diana Madison, Nora Gasparian and Ani Esmailian served as this year’s Closing Night Awards Gala emcees. Hollyscoop host a new weekly half-hour entertainment and pop-culture television program that airs at midnight on the CW, KTLA 5 in Los Angeles.

The evenings other highlights included a serenade by Venezuelan-born musician Ernesto Ferro, who performed selections from the soundtrack of “VENEZZIA” dedicated to the film’s director, Venezuelan-Armenian Haik Gazarian; and a congratulatory video message to the festival’s guests from socialite Kim Kardashian.

Celebrity attendees included actress Ann Magnuson (“Chasing Tchaikovsky”); CAA agents Ara Keshishian and Stuart Manashil; and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Stuart Sender.  Award presenters included Maria Armoudian (KPFK 90.7 FM on-air host); actor Marco Khan (“Iron Man,” “10,000 B.C.”); award-winning actress and human rights activist Mary Apick; award-winning filmmaker Eric Nazarian (“The Blue Hour”); voice-over actress Eliza Jane Schneider (Comedy Central’s “South Park” and MTV’s “Popzilla”); and screenwriter Peter Briggs (“Hellboy”).

The awards ceremony culminated with an outdoor courtyard reception, where guests celebrated the films and filmmakers of this year’s festival under the stars.



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