24th Arpa International Film Festival wraps up with great success

The 24th Arpa International Film Festival (Arpa IFF), one of Hollywood’s longest running film festivals, streamed 70 films from 21 different countries including featured films, documentaries, shorts, animated films and music videos. This year’s festival, which took place from November 20 to December 5, once more highlighted a diverse range of films that explored themes such as genocide, war, environmentalism, music and art.

The festival’s opening took place at the newly renovated AMC Theater at the Americana with the US premiere screening of The American Good Samaritans by Man Pictures Production.

Jackie Boyajian Minassian

The evening started with the welcoming remarks of Jackie Boyajian Minassian, who introduced founder Sylvia Minassian. Minassian expressed her sincere appreciation to the community for their continued support in helping cultivate the works of many talented independent filmmakers who made a huge dent in our world.

Upon her introduction of The American Good Samaritans, the festival’s jury liaison Sonia Keshishian congratulated festival director Maral Kazazian, the key player in bringing this extraordinary film to Los Angeles.

The American Good Samaritans reveals the untold story of how thousands of fearless and compassionate, ordinary Americans helped refugees and survivors of the Armenian Genocide believe in a better future. The film is dedicated to the memory of American humanitarians who helped make the world a better place. Without their determination and dedication, entire populations could have perished. American writers, genocide scholars and survivors, and other independent researchers reveal the details related to the genocides of Armenian, Assyrian and Greek populations, carried out by the Ottoman Empire (today’s Turkey).

Producer Manvel Saribekyan, composer Artashes Kartalyan and director Ara Mnatsakanyan (The American Good Samaritans)

Worthy of the utmost recognition is Ara Mnatsakanyan, whose focus on every detail was truly remarkable. The gifted director holds the true meaning of his surname, which will remain in the cinematic arena for decades to come. Also commendable is the film’s composer Artashes Kartalyan, whose music was the heartbeat and energy that touched the soul.

The American Good Samaritans director Ara Mnatsakanyan, Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian and Glendale mayor Paula Devine

The evening continued with the screening of Sebastian Siegal’s film Grace and Grit, which was based on the true story of the iconic philosopher Ken Wilber and his wife Treya. Siegal served as a jury member during the 17th Arpa International Film Festival in 2014.  

Arpa International Film Festival, over the course of two decades, continues to bring the finest films from across the globe, remaining the longest-run festival in Los Angeles dear to so many artists and filmgoers.

The festival committee salutes and celebrates the Man Pictures production team, producer Manvel Saribekyan, and Siegel for creating a remarkable evening with their powerful messages. AMAA director and CEO Zaven Khanjian and ZQ Entertainment sponsored the evening.

Sonia Keshishian, Sylvia Minassian, Manvel Saribekyan and Maral Kazazian

Best Feature Narrative Film

The Grand Bolero directed by Gabriele Fabbro (Italy)

Best Feature-Length Documentary Film

The Desire To Live directed by Mariam Avetisian (Armenia)

Best Short Documentary Film Award

Storgetnya directed by Hovig Hagopian (France)

Best Short Film

Nunik directed by Yelena Arshakyan (Armenia)

Best Music Video

How Many Times? directed by Roger Kupelian (United States)

Best Animated Film

The Cat directed by Mary Apick (United States)

Special Recognitions

Nightline directed by Robert Sedlacek (Czech Republic)

Cuba in Africa directed by Negash Abdurahman (United States)

Hippopotamus & Crocodile Hunt directed by Germain Kanda (Romania)


Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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