Arpa International Film Festival Salutes Actress and Activist Mary Apick

LOS ANGELES–The 11th Annual Arpa International Film Festival of Los Angeles will honor award winning actress and international activist Mary Apick on Sunday, October 26, 2008.

Arpa International Film Festival is produced by Arpa Foundation for Film, Music, and Art (AFFMA), a non-profit organization dedicated to artists exploring identity, multi-culturalism, war, exile, genocide and global empathy. Each year, the festival recognizes individuals in the film industry with achievement and humanitarian awards. Apick will receive the Arpa Foundation Award for her far-reaching humanitarian contributions. Additionally, the festival will be screening a revival of Apick’s controversial 1987 film, “Checkpoint.”

Upon receiving recognition for her work, Apick says, “I am very proud to be the recipient of the Arpa Foundation Award this year – named after the Arpa River of Armenia, a life-giving body of water. Arpa’s high standards support the cultivation of cultural understanding and global empathy. The festival celebrates independent thought, artistic vision and diversity through the art of cinema. In today’s world, we are very well aware of cinema’s power to expand culture towards equality and peace. I share Arpa’s vision.”

Mary Apick began her career as a child performer in Iran. A second generation actress, Apick is the daughter of acclaimed actress, Apick Youssefian. By the age twelve, Mary Apick was performing in political and satirical sketches that helped change and liberalize Iranian society. Apick became one of the most popular stars in Iran, appearing on TV, in feature films and plays. Among the many awards she received was the Moscow Film Festival Best Actress Award for “Dead End” which made her the first actress from the Iranian and Asian motion picture industry to receive such an honor.

Iran’s revolution forced Mary to flee her country and move to America. As a graduate of the BBC School of TV Production, Mary attended the Masters Degree Program in Directing at Cal Arts, and participated in the very first Sundance Institute with Robert Redford. She has starred in such critically acclaimed films as “The Mission” and “Checkpoint”; and in such productions as the NBC miniseries “On Wings of Eagles.” Apick also produced the MGM film “Mind Games.”

While working with partner and prolific filmmaker Bob Yari (producing the Academy Award-winning film “Crash”) Apick continued to stage socially significant theatrical projects. In 2005 she wrote and starred in two politically charged plays which were presented at the Los Angeles Theater Festival. “Beneath the Veil” became a Critic’s Choice and is slated for production in several cities, including Los Angeles in 2009.

Apick has also created numerous children’s videos, such as “A Fairy Tale in the Forest” and “Jewel of the Night,” which give children of Iranian expatriates the opportunity to learn about their parents’ culture and homeland.

Through the 1980s and 1990’s, Mary traveled through the U.S., Europe, and Australia, starring in 400 stage performances of the poetic political play "The Ass" by award winning filmmaker Parviz Sayyad (director of “The Mission” and “Checkpoint”).

Throughout her life, one of Apick’s main passions has been to improve conditions for women and children around the world, especially in the Middle East. Appearing as a spokesperson before the U.S. Congress, Mary’s vigilant voice has inspired generation after generation to continue its pursuit of all freedoms.

Arpa is proud to salute such an exceptional human being as Mary Apick. AFFMA founder, Sylvia Minassian, says, “Mary Apick is an actress and activist who exerts herself to improve conditions of the world for all people. She is most deserving of such an honor. Our vision for global empathy goes hand in hand with the presentation and the revival of her film “Checkpoint.”

Screening Of “Checkpoint” – Saturday, October 25 At 3:15pm

The controversial 1987 movie, “Checkpoint,” is an independent, controversial, thought-provoking film exploring a 24 hour period in the lives of several Iranian and American students from the Michigan State University in 1980. “Their lives change when their visas expire during travels. Due to the Iran hostage crisis during President Carter’s administration, a crucial time in history that changed the world immensely,” notes Apick, “they question their own human rights issues.” Mary admits, “A common goal for me as an actress, director and a creator is to produce films and stage performances for international awareness on the most vital human rights issues.”

“Checkpoint” is screening in a program that includes two new films about contemporary Iranian issues. “Young Roots” and “Listen to Iran’s People: A Call for Peace.” After the screening, Apick will take part in a discussion and Q & A about the film and her career. It will be moderated by Lucy DerTavitian, host and producer of KPFK 90.7 F.M. Pacifica Radio’s South West Asia and North Africa collective.

Arpa’s 2008 Official Selection

50 films from 21 nations will be screened during Arpa’s 3-day festival, from October 24-26. Armenia, Australia, Canada, China, Congo, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tobago, Trinidad, Turkey, UK, and Venezuela are among the countries represented. Arpa’s 2008 Official Selection includes the world premier of J. Michael Hagopian’s “The River Ran Red”; a 90th birthday tribute to Rita Hayworth, featuring “Blood and Sand”;Tadeh Daschi’s “The Witch of Portobello”, based on author Paulo Coelho’s novel; Serge Avedikian’s “We Drank the Same Water”; Mark Mahon’s “Strength and Honour” starring Michael Madsen and Richard Chamberlain; Teressa Tunney’s “This is a Story about Ted and Alice”, starring Melissa Leo; “Familiar Voices” with Mia Farrow; and “The Flyboys”, starring Jesse James and Steven Baldwin.

Arpa’s 2008 award recipients also include Ted Braun who will receive the Armin T. Wegner Award for his film “Darfur Now”; and actor Marco Khan will be named Breakthrough Artist of the Year for his performances in “10,000 B.C”, “Iron Man”, and “Don’t Mess with Zohan.” Apick, Braun and Khan will be recognized at an awards ceremony, hosted by ReelzChannel’s Jill Simonian, on Sunday, October 26 at the Egyptian Theatre ‘s 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028.

Tickets & information for Mary Apick’s “Checkpoint,” Screening Saturday, Oct. 25 at 3:15 pm & Arpa’s awards reception on Sunday, Oct. 26, please call (323) 663-1882 and visit www.affma.org.

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