After Freedom

A FEATURE FILM BY VAHE BABAIAN

Vitagraph Films has announced that the Los Angeles theatrical release of Vahe Babaian’s After Freedom will be on May 14 in Glendale and Beverly Hills.

After Freedom was selected for the largest and one of the most influential film festivals in the world–the Montreal International Film Festival–as well as the Avignon Film Festival in France–and Los Angeles’ MethodFest–where it won the Audience Award and played to three sell-out crowds.

World-renowned director Atom Egoyan said After Freedom is "always entertaining; a compassionate and moving portrait of a community–its hopes–dreams–disappointmen’s and small triumphs."

One of the first feature-length movies shot in and around the American-Armenian community of Los Angeles–After Freedom stars Mic Tomasi–Sophie Chahinian–Krikor Satamian–and Shant Bejanian. It was produced by Babaian’s long-term friend and associate–Eric Sherman.

"After Freedom is not just my story–but a tale of outsiders trying to fit in…and what it means to ‘miss the boat,’ " says Babaian of his first feature. "This character-driven story is about sacrifice–freedom–and the struggle to gain personal independence in a hostile and challenging environment."

Babaian has created a character-driven tale about the experience of Michael Abcarian–a young Armenian man living in Glendale–California–as he confronts his growing sense of obligation to his father–Leon–who had sacrificed everything to get his family to America. Leon–in his late 50s–has just lost his wife and is forced to face his own survival issues — if he could only drive a car on an LA freeway–he might even be able to get a job–which would reduce his own guilt about being a burden to his son.

In this realistic portrait of a man with a tremendous desire to be responsible for himself and his family–he nonetheless must confront the conflicting moral codes represented by Avo–the blow-hard who defends his honor with force–and Ana–Michael’ s fiancee–who continually goads him into facing the fact that maturity doesn’t always include getting his own way. In Michael’s struggle to "fit in," he faces not only what it means to be on the outside–but at what price to gain entrance into respectability.

Another of Michael’s friends–Mato–is in an even more confused position; he’s desperate to bring his own brother here–and–so resorts to risky and illegal means to achieve that goal. Michael–whom Mato acknowledges loves him like a brother–takes a strong stand against it–but plagued by his youth–Mato doesn’t follow the advice… and has his final confrontation at the Mexican border.

In this web of relationships marked by the need to grow up–Michael strive to achieve independence of spirit–without guilt at leaving behind those to whom he feels he may owe his own strength.

After Freedom appeals to all races–colors–and creeds. "After a screening of my film–an African-American came up to me," relates Babaian–"and he said he hadn’t talked to his father for five years. On seeing the film–he called his father. That told me I had to get this picture out there and shown to everyone."

"There aren’t that many chances for a film like this–let alone any independent film–to be seen in a major city like Los Angeles–and–therefore–we’re proud to have Vitagraph Films release After Freedom to the LA community."

For more information and to contact the makers of After Freedom–go to the website–www.afterfreedom.com.

After Freedom opens May 14 at the Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills and at the Glendale Cinemas

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