By Sharon Swainson
LOS ANGELES — The 19th Arpa International Film Festival (AIFF) concluded with its awards ceremony on November 6, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
The night opened with a screening of Emmanuelle Osei-Kuffour’s thought-provoking short film, “Born With It.” The master of ceremonies and actress-producer, Heather McComb, was vibrant and engaging throughout the entire ceremony. Comedians Mary Basmadjian and Arman Oganesyan had the audience laughing with their creative quips and storytelling. International singer and actress Maria Elena Infantino raised the roof with a riveting rendition of Edith Piaf’s song, No, I Have no Regrets.
Throughout the night, 10 presenters graced the stage and announced the six film award winners and four special award honorees: Danny Buday (writer-director), Dr. Eric Esrailian (co-manager and lead producer for Survival Pictures), Karen Kondazian (actress and award-winning novelist), Victor Loyola (director of development at University of Guadalajara), Jelena Mrdja (Serbian actress), Mariana Novak (actress and voice-over talent), John Stahl (screenwriter and chair of CSUN’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts), Angus Sutherland (Vice President of Production and Development at Lotus Entertainment), Katherine Vallin (film generalist), and Basil Wallace (actor-director-writer).
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to renowned French film and television actor Dominique Pinon, by vice president of Lotus Entertainment, Angus Sutherland.
The Career Achievement Award was presented to composer, activist, and lead singer of System of the Down Serj Tankian, by Dr. Eric Esrailian, the co-manager and lead producer for Survival Pictures, and the producer of “The Promise.”