Arpa International Film Festival celebrates 15th Anniversary with landmark films

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Arpa International Film Festival, the signature event of Arpa Foundation for Film, Music, and Art (AFFMA), which will be held November 29-December 2. The Foundation and the Festival derive their name from Arpa, a river that flows through Armenia . This year’s tentpole films epitomize Arpa’s mission statement with the inclusion of the rich comedy  LOST AND FOUND IN ARMENIA and Armenia’s Official Submission for Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards®, IF ONLY EVERYONE, Asbarez reports.

The 15th Arpa International Film Festival begins Thursday, November 29 at the historic Egyptian Theatre and culminates with the Arpa Awards Gala at the Sheraton Universal on Sunday, December 2, 2012. The Festival will present over 40 films, star-studded receptions, red carpet opening and closing night premieres. Feature narratives, short films, documentaries, music videos and animated films will be showcased from over 25 nations.

“Our committee of board members and devoted volunteers are working hard to stage yet another dazzling festival, says Sylvia Minassian, AFFMA’s Founder. “Our goal is to launch the careers of emerging filmmakers and celebrate the independent film work of our festival’s most gifted filmmakers.

The Festival kicks off with the North American premiere of LOST AND FOUND IN ARMENIA, starring Jamie Kennedy (Bending the Rules) and Angela Sarafyan (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part II). Directed by Gor Kirakosian (2007 Arpa Best Screenplay Award recipient) the film is the first American comedy filmed on location in Armenia.

Closing night will feature the North American premiere of Natalya Belyauskene’s IF ONLY EVERYONE starring acclaimed actor and filmmaker, Michael Poghosian (Symphony of Silence). IF ONLY EVERYONE is Armenia’s Official Submission for Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards®.

The Festival will also present a special panel event to promote social understanding among
media and entertainment professionals. GEMAI (Global Event and Media Accessibility Initiative) partners with Arpa this year to stage a panel discussion focusing on GEMAI’s mission to develop initiatives that will enhance the experience of the 30 million deaf or hard of hearing and the 3.4 million blind movie-going audience in America. Together, the GEMAI partnership with Arpa aims to provide a forum which addresses the last social component to media landscape – using artistic and technological advancements of the film industry to build a seamless and organic road map of inclusion.

Marc Bovee, GEMAI Founder, says about GEMAI’s participation at Arpa, “It is exciting to be enabled by vision and technology to finally bring everyone to the ‘table of media’.” “It is an honor and a privilege to have been invited to be a part of this amazing forum of talent.”

The Festival concludes this year with the Arpa Awards Gala.  Past celebrity attendees and award recipients include Shohreh Aghdashloo, David Alpay, Ken Davitian, Atom Egoyan, Frances Fisher, Vivica A. Fox, Alanis Morissette, Tippi Hedren, Missi Pyle, Alison Janney, Arsine Khanjian, Marilu Henner, Tony Shaloub, Cheech Marin, Robert Papazian, Alfonso Herrera, James Hirsch, Mary Apick, Anne Bedian, Hrach Titizian, Anoush NeVart, Patricia Kara, Hank Moonjean, Arthur Sarkissian, Dean Cain, and Ann Magnuson. The Festival will also present its prestigious Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award, named after German author and human rights activist Armin Theophil Wegner (October 16, 1886 – May 17, 1978), which it has been awarding since 2002. Arpa Career and Lifetime Achievement Award recipients will also be recognized.


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