Best Feature Film Award – “Lost Birds” (Turkey) Ela Alyamac, Aren Perdeci
Best Director Award – “Lost Birds” (Turkey) Ela Alyamac, Aren Perdeci
Best Documentary Film Award – “My Life in China” (USA) Director, Kenneth Eng
Best Short Film Award – “The Loyalist”, (South Korea) Director, Minji Kang
Best Screenplay Award – “Three Windows and a Hanging” ( Kosovo ) Zymber Kelmendi
Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award – “Lost Birds” Ela Alyamac and Aren Perdeci (writers-directors-producers)
Asbarez – The 18th Annual Arpa International Film Festival (November 13- 15, 2015) screened 46 films from 22 countries.
The sold out event, opening night’s World Premiere Film “LOST BIRDS” stole everyone’s heart. This heartwarming film from Turkey, in Armenian and Turkish languages was filmed in Capadoccia, Turkey. The story takes place in 1915, from the point of view of two children. It 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.
During the three days of the festival, the filmgoers enjoyed such films as Sabre Dance (USA), I Want to be a King” (Iran), Our Village (Armenia), Straw Dolls (USA), The Loyalist (South Korea), Armenopolis, Armenian Soul (Romania), Daylight after the Century (UK), Shattered, (Canada), Armenia Sings in our Hearts (Brazil), Family Dance (USA), While they were Flying to the Moon (Serbia), Three Windows and a Hanging (Kosovo), Paul The Birdman (USA), Get Up (Australia) and many more.
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was award winning producer, director, chair of AFFMA Advisory Board Charles Davis. Seven presenters, Michael Arabian, Anne Bedian, Bertila Damas, Rick Rosenthal, Janet Roth, Hrach Titizian, and Karina Weeks graced the stage and introduced the award winners. Half-way through the ceremony, soulful singer, Shaherah White warmed the room singing, My Funny Valentine.
The closing night festivities started with a short film by Levon Minasian of Paris, France titled “The Sandwich Island Man” which entertained the audience.
“I love Arpa International Film Festival with all my heart. I love the organizer, Sylvia Minassian who has managed this challenging work with inexhaustible energy for over 17 years. I am grateful that all of my films have been a part of the festival over the years. I have never been able to attend in person, but I hope to personally show my film to the faithful festival public,” was the comment made by the filmmaker Levon Minasian in an interview with Sharon Swainson, a freelance writer.
The Awards ceremony started with the announcements of the winning films followed by honoring actor David Dastmalchian with the Rising Star Award, who touched the audience with a moving acceptance speech that focused on giving back and supporting creative expression. He thanked the Festival for “helping young actors and struggling filmmakers all over the world to continue to express themselves and tell their story;” and he assured everyone that “no matter how little our stories are, they are worth telling.”
The final award of the night, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Esai Morales, an outstanding actor and activist, or “Actorvist”, who captivated the audience, by ending his powerful speech with the following statement:
“Take on your fears. Don’t let your fears shut your greatness down. You have a reason for being on this planet. Find it. And fight your challenges and let them (your challenges) make you a better person.”
Morales received a well-deserved standing ovation.
Founded in 1995, Arpa Foundation for Film, Music, and Art is a non-profit organization, formed for the purpose of promoting the arts and enhancing the cultural environment of our community by supporting artists who bridge the cultural divide, unifying diverse people and cultures through the arts.
Since its inception, AFFMA has supported a spectrum of artists including writers, photographers, filmmakers, dancers, designers, actors and musicians, by staging networking events, concerts, art exhibits, book signings, fashion shows, talent shows, musical performances, lectures, forums, comedy nights, special screenings, private premiers, and most significantly staging its signature event, the Arpa International Film Festival since 1997.
For over 18 years, Arpa international film festival continues to promote independent filmmakers, cultivating cultural understanding and global empathy in the heart of Hollywood. Through the generous support of our donors and sponsors, our yearly film festival event inspires people of all backgrounds and creates opportunities for creative expression. Arpa’s dedicated production team is committed to make a difference in fueling the global arena of independent cinema.
The committee has already begun working on the 2016 Arpa International Film festival.