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18th annual ARPA International Film Festival to open with ‘Lost Birds’

Asbarez – The Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art ( announces its 18th annual Arpa International Film Festival (, to be held on November 13-15, 2015 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.  The Festival will kick off on Monday, November 9 at Cal. State University Northridge (CSUN) campus in partnership with the University’s selected student film shorts along with Festival shorts from 7:30 till10 pm.

This year’s Festival focuses strongly on humanitarian issues internationally such as genocide, holocaust, human freedom, women’s rights, homelessness and many others.  Once again, Arpa is proud to have selected a diverse and a choice program featuring the works of seasoned and up and coming filmmakers from over 23 countries.

“We are thrilled about this year’s festival line-up, which includes works of award winning filmmakers,” said the Festival Director, Michael Ashjian.  “It’s our goal to stay true to our mission in cultivating awareness of important topics that affect our society through the medium of film.”  Each night, the festival will feature premiers with red carpet and after parties. The featured program will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Opening night’s World Premier Film “LOST BIRDS” is a heartwarming film from Turkey in Armenian and Turkish language filmed in Capadoccia, Turkey, by Aren Perdeci and Ela Alyamac.  For these two young co-directors, it took a five year journey to realize their passion project.  They shared directing, producing and writing duties.  Perdeci was also the director of photography of this amazingly beautiful film.  This movie presents a historical tragedy that takes place in 1915, from the point of view of two children.  The story is about Bedo, played by (Heros Agopyan) and Maryam, played by (Dila Uluca), whose beautiful, warm, and happy lives in Anatolia comes to an end when their grandfather played by ( Sarkis Acemoglu) is taken away by soldiers.  Out of extreme fear, their mother, played by (Takuhi Bahar), forbid the children to go outside, but being children, they sneak out to their favorite spot to play, only to come back to an empty home and an empty village. Their fear takes over, and with their bird that they had saved, they embark on a journey toward Aleppo to find their mother, and their fellow villagers.

This beautiful film made by an Armenian and a Turkish filmmaker with passion is a cinematographic beauty to watch.  September issue of “American Cinematographer” magazine has written a nine page article on Lost Birds under the title of “Lost and Found” with photo scenes from the film worth reading.

“Arpa International Film Festival tries to garner the talents of filmmakers, those who are at the forefront of the newest and best filmmaking techniques, in order to present their work to the world,” said AFFMA founder Sylvia Minassian.  “This year’s festival represents a culmination of a year’s work for our committee in selecting what we think is our most varied and interesting program yet.”

The Festival is led by AFFMA Founder Sylvia Minassian, Festival Director Micheal Ashjian, Executive Producer Alex Kalognomos, Marketing Coordinator Maral Kazazian, Jury Liaison Sonia Keshishian, Producer and Technical director Vanja Srdic along with an amazing group of dedicated and talented committee members who put in their passion and diligent work to make the festival a success.

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