Annual Arpa International Film Festival celebrated the 15th anniversary. Arpa is the name of a river that flows through Armenia. As water provides a source of life and energy, so does art to the human soul.
The first Arpa International Film Festival was produced by AFFMA in 1997 with a mission to cultivate cultural understanding and global empathy, creating a dynamic forum for international cinema with a special focus on the work of filmmakers who explore the issues of Diaspora, exile and multi-culturalism. A strong emphasis is placed on ideals of independent thought, artistic vision, cultural diversity and social understanding.
The festival is organized in full compliance with Hollywood standards. This year it presented the works of young filmmakers from around the world, providing them with an opportunity to establish ties with famous representatives of the sphere.
“An independent film festival is the place where new talents are born, where it is possible to communicate with artists from different countries of the world in the language of art, irrespective of the color of skin, religion and language,” actress Frances Fisher said.
This year the festival featured 60 feature films, documentaries and short films from 17 countries. During the four days of the festival the films were screened at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Founder of the festival Silva Minasyan is pleased to note that more and more Armenians participate in the event every year, making their first steps towards the Hollywood movie market.
Actor Mikhael Poghosyan received the Best Actor Award. Two of his films – “The Lost and Found in Armenia” and “If Only Everyone” were screened within the framework of the festival. The latter is on Oscar’s long-list of foreign language films.
Lusine Sahakyan of Armenia received the Armin Wegner Humanitarian Award for the film telling about Hamshen Armenians.
Another ARPA Award went to the Shoah Foundation of the University of Southern California, which ownsDr. Michael Hagopian’s archive of filmed interviews with survivors of and witnesses to the Armenian Genocide. The archive includes nearly 400 interviews of Genocide survivors and witnesses conducted in 10 countries. Organizers of the festival hope that the Shoah Foundation will digitalize the archive and make it available to everyone on the web.