GLENDALE—Friday, April 7 saw the Glendale premiere of Armenian director Jivan Avetisyan’s second feature length film, The Last Inhabitant. Held in the legendary Alex Theatre, over 700 people were in attendance at the screening organized by the Artsakh Arts and Cultural Foundation.
The evening kicked off with a VIP Pre-Show Reception with 450 people in the foyer of the theater, with passed appetizers by Mi Piace and Cafe Santorini and beverages provided by Remedy Liquor. The event also had additional sponsors that are noteworthy to mention: Director’s Package – Massis Kabob/Hagop Baghdassarian and family. Corporate Package Sponsors: EFP Realty, Kevorkian/Madenlian Law Offices, Asbarez, Dr. and Mrs. Viken Hovsepian, Dr. and Mrs. Herach Yadegarain, Mr. and Mrs. Timmy Mardirossian, ARF Dro Gomideh, and Airapetian Law Firm.
The program for the evening’s events began with a voiceover introduction by Adrineh Mirzayan, executive producer of The Last Inhabitant. The film, which was inspired by true events, tells the story of Abgar (played by Alexander Khachatryan), the last Armenian resident of a town in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh bordering Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 1988 his small mountainous village is turned upside down overnight due to this inter-ethnic conflict between Armenians and Azeris as they fight for power and resist mass deportations of Armenians in the region. Despite these rising tensions and bleak horizons, Abgar relies on the friendship of his neighbor Ibrahim (played by Homayoun Ershadi) to help him survive and eventually find his lost daughter (played by Sandra Daikusate-Petrulene). With a moving soundtrack by none other than System of a Down’s Serj Tankian, Avetisyan’s film told a powerful story of the bonds of family and friendship overcoming the hardships of war that is still painfully relevant in the modern era.
“The terror, tragedy and timeliness of Jivan Avetisyan’s stories are unmatched, said Alex Kalognomos, Executive Producer, Los Angeles Greek Festival. “His characters represent the struggle that all Armenians feel as a result of losing their homeland. Avetisyan’s gift as a filmmaker is how he gives resonance to this Armenian story so it can reach all people, touch all souls. He is one of a kind. Anne Bedian is brilliant and Adrineh Mirzayan is one of our best producers ever!”
After the screening, Chairperson of the ARTsakh Arts and Cultural Foundation Garo Madenlian introduced executive producer, Adrineh Mirzayan. Adrineh Mirzayan’s inspiring speech touched on how The Last Inhabitant was one of very few, from 85 submissions, to receive Golden Globe coverage on the Golden Globe Entertainment page www.goldenglobes.com/articles/last-inhabitant-armenia. She then introduced Avetisyan to a standing ovation. Jivan Avetisyan took the stage and thanked everyone for their support.
“This [film] illustrates strongly the message that we need each other regardless of race, culture, and religion in order to survive and preserve our racial identity. The film is about people who have found themselves in a hell after they have lost their paradise, people who are saved by love, virtue and self-sacrifice,” Avetisyan said earlier in a statement about his film. For Avetisyan, who was himself raised in Nagorno-Karabakh and has family fighting in the area, The Last Inhabitant was heavily inspired by his own experiences and history.
The Last Inhabitant is currently being circulated and honored throughout the world in various film festivals, and was an official entry to the 2017 Golden Globe Awards as a “Best Foreign Film” nominee, and was also presented at the 69th Cannes International Film Festival “Marché du Film.”
Avetisyan and his team, are currently in the midst of fundraising and producing his upcoming feature film Gate to Heaven slated for production Spring 2018. With support from the Artsakh Arts and Cultural Foundation members, Arthur Chalekian, Garo Madenlian, Juliette Ghassemian, Marina Takvorian, and Noonik Tarverdian, Avetisyan along with the Foundation hope to spread the artistic contributions of Nagorno-Karabakh’s residents throughout the world, not only to Armenians of the Diaspora but to people from all nations.
His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, members of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, Consulate General of Armenia in Los Angeles – Minister Plenipotentiary Valery Mkrtoumian. Counsellor Razmik Stepanyan and Consul Armella Shakaryan, Actress Anne Bedian, Actor Homayoun Ershadi’s family, Mr. Eric Esrailian, Producer of The Promise, Journalist Homa Sarshar, Journalist Rachel Melikian, Actor Jack Topalian, Actor and Comedian Vahe Berberian, Actor Raffy Khachatourian were all in attendance.