2017 Pomegranate Film Festival to Celebrate 15th Anniversary of Egoyan’s ‘Ararat’

'Ararat' Screening to Feature Special Introduction by Atom Egoyan and Arsinée Khanjian

TORONTO—Forty films from around the world will be screened at the 12th annual Pomegranate Film Festival (POM), Nov. 15-19. A diverse range of films will touch upon the issues of genocide denial, the current refugee crisis, mounting tension in the Caucasus, civil society in Armenia, and LGBTQ rights.

A still from Egoyan’s “Ararat” (2002) (Photo: Miramax Films)

Prominent guests will include Atom Egoyan, Arsinée Khanjian, Dean Cain, Montel Williams, members of Billy Talent, Moses Znaimer, Jivan Avetisyan from Arstakh, and singer Eileen Khatchadourian from Beirut.

On Nov. 15, a special program will be dedicated to Arstakh. POM guest Jivan Avetisyan will present “The Last Inhabitant,” kicking off the festival at Fairview Mall Cineplex. The film is a powerful historical drama on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, with music by Serj Tankian of System of a Down.

The films on Thursday evening will continue at Fairview Mall Cinema, in a special program called Soirée française. Robert Guédiguian’s “La Villa” will commence the program. Filmed in a picturesque fishing village, the story revolves around the lives of three grown children in a family and grapples with the most pressing issue in Europe right now.

Stéphane Kazandjian’s “Bad Buzz” will take the audience on a wild ride in this light-hearted comedy following two television producers who do all it takes to save their careers within 48 hours.

A series of matinees will follow. The documentary “Children of Vank” touches on the identities of Islamized Armenians. Two brilliant films related to the genocide will be screened later that afternoon, including Australian filmmaker Shahane Bekarian’s “Children of a Genocide” and Naré Mkrtchyan’s “The Other Side of Home,” which was nominated for the Best Short Film at the 2017 Academy Awards.

Dramatic features set in beautiful Armenia will also delight the attendees on Nov. 17. David Safarian’s “Hot Country, Cold Weather” is a historical drama set in Armenia in the 1980s. A special double-feature will also take place with indie director Arshak Amirbekyan’s “Mariam’s Day Off,” a story of a prostitute who discovers the beauty of a newfound friendship, and Martin Matevosyan’s “The Gift Of Diana” about the complex world of relationships.

Friday evening will dazzle at the Regent Theatre with director Joe Berlinger’s “Intent to Destroy,” a candid look at the making of the film “The Promise” starring Christian Bale, while also challenging the denialist campaign of Turkey to suppress recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

A memorable experience will follow with the screening of “Ararat,” which is celebrating its 15th anniversary. A special introduction will be delivered by Atom Egoyan and Arsinée Khanjian on the groundbreaking film that confronts the challenges of trauma, genocide denial, and the representation of truth. Talented singer and songwriter Eileen Khatchadourian, from Beirut, will present her new song composed for the anniversary of the film.

The Saturday matinee program will celebrate a symphony of Canadian films in a segment called Canada 150. An eyeopening program called Human Rights Watch presented by Arsinée Khanjian will follow. It will showcase the World Premiere of Khanjian’s new film, “Way Back Home,” directed by Seda Grigoryan, as well as Gagik Ghazareh’s “Listen To Me,” which deals with LGBTQ rights in Armenia and was produced by PINK Armenia.

Torontonian filmmaker Daniel Sarkissian will present his latest film, “What Is Classic Rock?” featuring the interviews of many of the best rock musicians alive today. The evening will conclude with POM’s unforgettable Gala Soirée, featuring Vahe Yan’s “Roots,” a lighthearted romance set in Armenia.

Super Sunday will begin with “Apricot Groves” by Iranian filmmaker Pouria Heidary Oureh. Sarik Andreasyan’s “Guardians” will follow, taking viewers on a joyride through the world of superheroes with superpowers. The much-anticipated documentary “Architects of Denial” will follow, produced by Montel Williams and Dean Cain, who will attend the special screening.

An international co-production between France and Lebanon, “The Traveller” will be screened as the Festival’s penultimate film, highlighting the impressive cinematography of New York filmmaker Saro Varjabedian.

The evening will conclude with “Yeva,” directed by Anahid Abad from Iran. The film is a touching story of a mother’s quest to protect her daughter by fleeing from Iran to an Armenian village. This beautiful movie was chosen as Armenia’s entry for the 2018 Oscars. The POM award ceremony will close the festival. More info can be found at pomegranatefilmfestival.com and the festival’s Facebook page.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles written and submitted by members of the community, which make up our community bulletin board.


  1. Celebrate? Why? This movie is best buried and forgotten about. It achieved nothing, neither artistically, nor politically, and actually I regret seeing it. In fact for me this movie was an outright embarrassment for its ridiculous content, and desperate attempt at trying to attracting attention and “looking cool” by using soft-core porn in an attempted Genocide awareness film. Let’s face it. This was an opportunity for us and Egoyan and Co. blew it on our behalf using a few celebrities. For “open minded” and “modern” diaspora though, this movie made perfect sense I suppose, as a predecessor to the Kardashian hoopla which would follow, and which continues to smear our culture into the mud.

  2. I agree with you completely. A movie about the Armenian Genocide should be about the history and the brutality of the perpetrators of this crime against their victims and not some movie within a movie that barely and at best indirectly touched upon the main message of the movie which should have been the main focus throughout the movie. In the context of this confusing movie, I also think the rape scene was not necessary, distasteful and disgusting. We Armenians, most of us if not all, know what happened and how it happened. This movie should have been about educating the general public about the genocide and its brutality and I don’t think it achieved either of those goals at all.

    For example, and as an analogy, several movies were made about the life and the crucifixion of Christ but none of them came even close to showing the brutality displayed than the 2004 movie “The Passion of the Christ” by Mel Gibson. He made an indelible impression on his viewers about the reality of the brutality and the suffering displayed. Unlike the other movies, people who saw this particular version of the movie would never forget what they saw. I get really tired of movies on Armenian Genocide in which the main focus is some other event, such as a love story, and the events of 1915 are only mentioned on the sidelines. We must do away with all that unnecessary fluff and show what happened and how it happened in its raw form in order to have a lasting affect!

  3. Whether you approve of the film or not to suggest it has anything in common with the Kardashians is pure idiocy. And how to understand someone who says the rape scene was distasteful and disgusting (as opposed to a tasteful rape scene?) yet complains that he wants the genocide shown in its brutality and rawness?

    • Ridiculous charge, without even comprehending what I said. I am talking about the liberals in our midst, recklessly disseminating what they believe to be “art” without caring or thinking about the consequences. And you also didn’t get Ararat’s post, which clearly stated that the brutality of the Genocide must be shown to the world. And that does not mean that it has to reach pornographic levels to show rape scenes.

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