ICA/Boston, Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance Present Armenian Film Festival of Boston

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BOSTON — The Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance (ADAA) and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) partner to present the third Armenian Film Festival in Boston, an array of powerful and visually dazzling narrative, documentary, short and animated films. All screenings take place in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater at the ICA/Boston from October 29-31. Tickets are available at www.icaboston.org.

The festival kicks off on Friday, October 29, with screenings of “The Army of Crime” (L’Armée du Crime, France 2009), Robert Guédiguian’s lush historical drama, and “Barking Island,” winner of the Palm D’Or for Best Short Film at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Opening night screenings will be followed by a dessert reception in the ICA’s lobby, now featuring five perspective-defying paintings by Francesca DiMattio on the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall.

Other highlights in the festival include “From Ararat to Zion” by Edgar Baghdasaryan, “The Fifth Column” by Vatche Boulghourjian, “Heart of Two Nations” by Nouritza Matossian, “Modern Love” by Stéphane Kazandjian and “Mount Athos” by Eddy Vicken.

“We are thrilled to present this eclectic roster of the most exciting and visually dazzling new Armenian films to Boston-area film enthusiasts,” states Armenian Film Festival of Boston Director Paul Boghosian. “As a film producer who has had his films shown at film festivals, I have experienced firsthand the importance of film festivals in providing credibility and promotional impetus to a filmmaker’s career. The ICA’s commitment to outstanding contemporary art in all media makes it a perfect setting for our festival.”

“Most US audiences would not have the chance to experience these amazing films without the Armenian Film Festival of Boston,” said Honorary Chairman of the Armenian Film Festival of Boston, state Rep. Peter Koutoujian. “Thanks to our partnership with the ICA, we are able to celebrate the rich heritage of Armenian art and culture through the riveting stories Armenian filmmakers are producing today.”

“The Armenian Film Festival of Boston fits naturally with the ICA’s mission of presenting the best new international cinema to the Boston community,” said Branka Bogdanov, director of film and video at the ICA. “We are delighted to host this year’s festival and offer our film audience greater exposure to Armenian culture and heritage.”

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Co-founder of ADAA, CEO of www.techfusion.com and longtime financial supporter Alfred Demirjian said, “We had over 1,000 attendees at each of the last two film festivals. In these difficult economic times, we continue to count on the support and attendance from our community in order for these festivals to go forward. This year’s festival has attracted our strongest line-up of films, and I know our community will be pleased and enthusiastic.”

“It is safe to say that in three years of presenting acclaimed Armenian film to Boston audiences, this is strongest line-up we have had so far,” said Bianca Bagatourian, co-founder of the ADAA and curator of the Armenian Film Festival of Boston. “The themes in this year’s features overcome cultural borders to communicate truly compelling human experiences. We look forward to our audience mixing their ideas with the filmmakers who will be present to discuss their work.”

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

Friday, October 29

Opening night screenings will be followed by a dessert reception.

“Barking Island” by Serge Avedikian, (2009, animation, 15 min., French with English subtitles) at 7 p.m.

This animated film illustrates an episode from Constantinople in 1910, when the streets were overrun with stray dogs. The newly established government used European experts to choose a method of eradication before deciding, suddenly and alone, to massively deport the dogs to a deserted island away from the city. “Barking Island” won the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes International Film Festival.

“The Army of Crime” (L’Armee Du Crime) by Robert Guédiguian, (2009, 35 mm, 139 min., French with English subtitles)

In 1944, during the German occupation of Paris, Armenian poet Missak Manouchian led a band of youngsters and immigrants in a dramatic series of guerrilla attacks in a clandestine battle against the Nazi occupation. This artfully told story of a significant event in World War II history features fine performances led by highly-honored French-Armenian actor Simon Abkarian.

Saturday, October 30

“From Ararat to Zion” by Edgar Baghdasaryan, (2009, documentary, 70 min.) at 4 p.m.

Following the paths taken by Armenian Pilgrims over the last 2000 years, this documentary is a tribute to those who have contributed to the preservation of spiritual traditions and a Christian legacy in the Holy Land. Striking scenes of the Church of Holy Sepulcher by night, the colorful spectacles of Easter in Jerusalem, the Ceremony of Holy Light, Mount Sinai in Egypt, the monasteries of the Judean Desert and the summit of Mount Ararat create exquisite visual tapestries.

“The Fifth Column” (Hinkerort Zorasune) by Vatche Boulghourjian (2010, digibeta, 29 min., Armenian with English subtitles)

Weaving together allegorical narratives, this film chronicles the desperation and mourning in the economically and culturally marginalized Armenian quarter of Beirut. As a father searches for his son who has fled home, both discover paths to personal freedom in a city that offers no escape. “The Fifth Column” won the third prize CineFoundation at the 2010 Cannes International Film Festival.

“Mount Athos, The Monk’s Republic” by Eddy Vicken, (2009, documentary, 52 min., Armenian with English subtitles)

Mount Athos is an autonomous theocratic republic with its own distinctive government, police, parliament and customs that has remained strictly separate from the outside world. For the first time since it was founded by a Byzantine Emperor in 963 in northern Greece, this forbidden territory opens up to outsiders- and cameras-to reveal the complexities and beauty of a hidden society.

Sunday, October 31

“Heart of Two Nations” by Nouritza Matossian, 2007, documentary, betasP, 50 min., Armenian with English subtitles) 2 p.m.

This unique film is based on the director’s conversations with journalist Hrant Dink, who talks freely of his weekly paper Agos, the Armenian Genocide, his attempts to reconcile Armenians and Turks, and even his own death. Charged three times with “insulting Turkishness,” Dink ignored death threats and warnings to leave Turkey and was assassinated in 2007. “Heart of Two Nations” was awarded Audience’s First Choice at the Pomegranate Film Festival, Toronto.

“Modern Love” by Stéphane Kazandjian, (2008, 35mm, 100 min., in French with English subtitles) at 3:30 p.m.

The festival closes with this very French, musical romantic comedy. It’s the story of dreams, encounters, break-ups and reconciliations — in short, the kind of wonderful love story that you only find in the movies.

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