Arpa International Film Festival Celebrates 15th Anniversary With Landmark Films

AFFMA

LOS ANGELES—This year marks the 15th anniversary of Arpa International Film Festival, the signature event of Arpa Foundation for Film, Music, and Art (AFFMA), which will be held November 29-December 2. The Foundation and the Festival derive their name from Arpa, a river that flows through Armenia . As water provides a source of life and energy, so does art to the human soul. This year’s tentpole films epitomize Arpa’s mission statement with the inclusion of the rich comedy  LOST AND FOUND IN ARMENIA and Armenia’s Official Submission for Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards®, IF ONLY EVERYONE.

The Foundation
AFFMA, a non-profit organization, was founded for the purpose of enhancing Los Angeles’s creative environment and supporting those artists who bridge the cultural divide. Each year, AFFMA stages networking events, concerts, art exhibits, fashion shows, book signings, and various benefits to promote emerging talents. Most significantly, AFFMA produces Arpa International Film Festival to unify diverse people and cultures through film. Since 1997, the Festival has honored over 100 artists and filmmakers with grants and awards.

The Festival

The 15th Arpa International Film Festival begins Thursday, November 29 at the historic Egyptian Theatre and culminates with the Arpa Awards Gala at the Sheraton Universal on Sunday, December 2, 2012. The Festival will present over 40 films, star-studded receptions, red carpet opening and closing night premieres. Feature narratives, short films, documentaries, music videos and animated films will be showcased from over 25 nations.
“Our committee of board members and devoted volunteers are working hard to stage yet another dazzling festival, says Sylvia Minassian, AFFMA’s Founder. “Our goal is to launch the careers of emerging filmmakers and celebrate the independent film work of our festival’s most gifted filmmakers.

The Festival kicks off with the North American premiere of LOST AND FOUND IN ARMENIA, starring Jamie Kennedy (Bending the Rules) and Angela Sarafyan (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part II). Directed by Gor Kirakosian (2007 Arpa Best Screenplay Award recipient) the film is the first American comedy filmed on location in Armenia.

Closing night will feature the North American premiere of Natalya Belyauskene’s IF ONLY EVERYONE starring acclaimed actor and filmmaker, Michael Poghosian (Symphony of Silence). IF ONLY EVERYONE is Armenia’s Official Submission for Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards®.

The Festival will also present a special panel event to promote social understanding among
media and entertainment professionals. GEMAI (Global Event and Media Accessibility Initiative) partners with Arpa this year to stage a panel discussion focusing on GEMAI’s mission to develop initiatives that will enhance the experience of the 30 million deaf or hard of hearing and the 3.4 million blind movie-going audience in America. Together, the GEMAI partnership with Arpa aims to provide a forum which addresses the last social component to media landscape – using artistic and technological advancements of the film industry to build a seamless and organic road map of inclusion.

Marc Bovee, GEMAI Founder, says about GEMAI’s participation at Arpa, “It is exciting to be enabled by vision and technology to finally bring everyone to the ‘table of media’.” “It is an honor and a privilege to have been invited to be a part of this amazing forum of talent.”

The Festival concludes this year with the Arpa Awards Gala. The evening will include a dinner reception and awards program at the Sheraton Universal. Past celebrity attendees and award recipients include Shohreh Aghdashloo, David Alpay, Ken Davitian, Atom Egoyan, Frances Fisher, Vivica A. Fox, Alanis Morissette, Tippi Hedren, Missi Pyle, Alison Janney, Arsine Khanjian, Marilu Henner, Tony Shaloub, Cheech Marin, Robert Papazian, Alfonso Herrera, James Hirsch, Mary Apick, Anne Bedian, Hrach Titizian, Anoush NeVart, Patricia Kara, Hank Moonjean, Arthur Sarkissian, Dean Cain, and Ann Magnuson. The Festival will also present its prestigious Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award, named after German author and human rights activist Armin Theophil Wegner (October 16, 1886 – May 17, 1978), which it has been awarding since 2002. Arpa Career and Lifetime Achievement Award recipients will also be recognized.

15th Anniversary
Since 1997, AFFMA has staged the 4-day Los Angeles festival, growing into larger venues during its 15 years.  The festival’s first screening venue was at Raleigh Studios, then Arclight Cinemas, and finally the historic Egyptian Theatre, a 625-seat movie palace in the heart of Hollywood. For AFFMA, 2012 began with two milestones. First, AFFMA Founder, Sylvia Minassian was recognized with the Golden Medal of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia, one of the highest Armenian cultural awards, for her 15 years of outstanding contribution to promoting Armenian cinematic arts domestically and internationally. And secondly, AFFMA was the recipient of a Roll Global grant, a unique grant program which earmarks money to charities on six continents in 10 currencies benefiting a wide variety of organizations including schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, environmental initiatives, disaster relief organizations and more.

The 15th Arpa International Film Festival celebration will close a year of outstanding events, including AFFMA’s Burlesco soiree; the summer networking mixer at Geisha House; the annual AFFMA comedy show at the World Famous Comedy Store, and the upcoming exclusive exhibition featuring world renowned artist, Zadik Zadikian.

Box Office Is Open
The Arpa Film Fest ALL-ACCESS VIP GOLD PASS, valued at over $270, is currently on sale for $90. The GOLD PASS includes all screenings, receptions, and special events at the Egyptian Theatre during the 4-day Festival.  The Gala Awards and Dinner Reception is $150 will take place at the Sheraton Universal.

“Arpa Film Fest is very much an audience driven film event, says Festival Director, Alex Kalognomos. “Our patrons are dedicated to supporting artists. In turn, we create the most dynamic film festival experience for our audience.”
Tickets to Arpa International Film Festival are available at www.affma.org

ARMIN T. WEGNER HUMANITARIAN AWARD marks its 10th year as one of Arpa International Film Festival’s top honors awarded during the festival.  First presented by Arpa International Film Festival in 2002, this Award is named after German author and human rights activist Armin Theophil Wegner (October 16, 1886 – May 17, 1978).

ARPA FOUNDATION FOR FILM MUSIC AND ART (AFFMA)
For more information or sponsorship and advertising opportunities, please visit www.affma.org, call 323-663-1882 or contact talia@affma.org . To make a tax-deductible donation to AFFMA, visit www.affma.org or mail donations to AFFMA – 2919 Maxwell St., Los Angeles, CA 90027. All donations go towards AFFMA’s grant program which supports filmmakers, musicians, and artists.

GLOBAL EVENT AND MEDIA ACCESSIBILITY INITIATIVE (GEMAI) strives to develop a global accessibility initiative that will enhance the experience of the 30 million deaf or hard of hearing and the 3.4 million blind movie-going audience in America. Contact gemai@me.com for more information.

If Only Everyone (2012)
Addressing the questions of war, why people die, and heroic deeds, IF ONLY EVERYONE traces the efforts of two people on a mission to plant a tree as a symbol of life, not just a token of memory for the departed.
Director: Natalia Belyauskene
Writers: Theresa Varzhapetyan and Michael Poghosian
Producers: Michael Poghosian and Theresa Varzhapetyan
Armenia’s Official Submission for Foreign Language Film at the 85th Oscars®.

Lost And Found In Armenia (2012)
A US Senator’s son (Jaime Kennedy) who attempts to forget the break up of his fiancée, is forced to vacation in Turkey by his best friends. A para-sailing trip mishap lands him in a small village in Armenia, where he is accused of being a spy.  It is there he meets a young woman (Angela Sarafyan) who helps him to escape from misfortune.
Director: Gor Kirakosian
Writers: Krist Manaryan, Narek Ghaplanyan, and Gor Kirakosian
Producers: Valerie McCaffrey, Maral Djerejian
Trailer: http://youtu.be/yA7-si38lGs

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