A scene from "Hot Country Cold Winter" by David Sarafian

Armenian Entries Part of Socially Relevant Film Festival


NEW YORK —  SR Socially Relevant Film Festival 2018 (SRFF 2018) brings in its Fifth Season with 70 international and local films, industry workshops and panels, and other events dedicated to social issues and the filmmakers that highlight them. SRFF 2018 will be held from March 16 to 22, 2018 at Cinema Village and neighboring venues.

This year’s lineup of the growing Socially Relevant Film Festival has movies from 35 countries. Among those are two important and interesting Armenian films, a documentary, “Armenians of the World” by the Lebanese actress and filmmaker Carmen Labaki that shows Armenians in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Armenian with some new footage reflecting the recent upheavals, and a narrative feature film, “Hot Country Cold Winter,” by David Sarafian, that deals with the important period of transition from Soviet to Independent Armenia.

These two films will have their New York premieres.

Partner organizations in the film festival for these two films are the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, St. Leon Armenian Church and the Armenian General Benevolent Union Performing arts.

The rapidly-growing Festival, now in its fifth year, is a multi-faceted event that embodies the cultural values of New York and the world. SRFF 2018 showcases films across an array of platforms from emerging, international and local filmmakers. There will be several spotlight programs, industry workshops, and panels on different regions and issues. Previous editions of the festival have included a number of Armenian films. A percentage of the box office from the Armenian films will be donated to SOAR – Society of Orphaned Armenian Relief.

Carmen Labaki, director of “Armenians of the World”

“Armenians of the World” by Carmen Labaki, Lebanon, Armenia, Syria, & Turkey, 2017 | 56 minutes, will be shown on Sunday, March 18, at 6pm.

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It is a documentary that relates the amazing story of a people that endured a lot of injustice and suffering. The pride they take in their identity, their sense of belonging and integration is second to none. Shot in Turkey, Syria, Armenia and Lebanon the film took a whole year of research to be completed. This is a recent edit with updated information. In Turkey: Scenes of desolation, ruins, and silence. In Syria: Tears and testimonies. In Armenia: Resistance, strong will, and a dream. In Lebanon: An entire destiny beginning in ancient times and everlasting through history.

Today, the Turkish government is busy destroying whatever belongs to the Armenians: bridges, houses, churches…If you go to Turkey, you won’t find the same images that were filmed some years ago.

(Trailer: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6e6u4n)

“Hot Country, Cold Winter” by David Safarian, Armenia, The Netherlands, Germany, 2016 | 104 minutes, will be screened on Sunday, March 18, at 7:30 pm.

In Armenian and Russian with English subtitles, it is the tale of a man and a woman suffering near-absurd circumstances during a total energy crisis right after the break down of the Soviet Union. Their narratives, recollections, imagination, and dreams are depicted in this powerful narrative feature film dealing with a period of modern history, not so far away from our times.

It received awards for Best Actress and Best Art Director National Film Academy of Armenia, 2016, Best Narrative Feature Film Director Award 19th ARPA International Film Festival 2016 Los Angeles, US, Best Screenplay Award and Special Mention of Jury 13th Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival, and Effulgent Angel Prize 13th Effulgent Angel International Film Festival, 2016 Moscow, Russia.

Visit = http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6dbdg0 for a trailer.


‘Head Above Water’

Eric Shahinian, director of “Head Above Water”

Another film that will make its New York premier is “Head Above Water” by Eric Shahinian, US, 2017. A devoted husband is forced to confront his doubts about remaining the caretaker of his wife suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It won the Gold Remi Award Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival, Best Actor Award Sulmona Film Festival and Golden Apricot Award for Best Short Film Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival.

The film will be shown on Wednesday, March 21, at 3:30 p.m. in the “Ageing Gracefully” collection of films.

Among the other 67 Officially Selected films to be screened in the heart of Greenwich Village, are a diverse mix of four narrative features, 12 documentaries, 40 shorts, 10 VR/360º films and more. There is also a script-writing contest and readings of excerpts from finalist scripts. The films represent 35 countries. Visit www.ratedsrfilms.org for schedules, film synopses, and filmmaker bios.

The festival closes on the evening of March 22 with a glittering Awards Ceremony and screening of the winning films at Cinema Village, and party for the filmmakers at Doux Supperclub featuring appearances from International and NYC filmmakers, as well as industry guests and veterans.

Festival Founder and Artistic Director Nora Armani says “We are proud to reach our fifth annual edition. Our dedication is first and foremost to the filmmaker whose work will otherwise not be seen on major screens. We advocate those filmmakers who choose to tell socially relevant stories instead of resorting to violence and commercial choices.”

The festival is proud to be supported by the Left Tilt Fund, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Fairways Law Firm – Paris, The Puffin Foundation, in addition to sponsorships from the German Consulate General of New York, The Dutch Consulate General, and Armenian organizations such as NAASR, St. Leon Armenian Church, AGBU Performing Arts, AIWA NJ and Armenian Network of America. Industry partners and sponsors include Cinema Libre Studio, Candy Factory, InkTip, Final Draft, Resolution rentals and more. Award trophies are by Michael Aram and Anet Abnous. Hospitality partners are Villanelle Restaurant, Doux Supperclub, and La Colombe Coffee.

For more information about SRFF 2018 events and sponsors, as well as past festival editions, visit www.ratedsrfilms.org.

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