HOLLYWOOD — The 22nd Arpa International Film Festival (Arpa IFF), one of Hollywood’s longest running film festivals, showcased features, documentaries, shorts, animated films and music videos from 15 different countries at Hollywood’s historic American Legion Post 43 theatre from November 8-10. This year’s festival once more highlighted a diverse range of films that explored themes such as genocide, war, environmentalism, music, art, and variety of issues.
Opening night on Friday, November 8 kicked off with a special reception and the screening of “Sand and Fire.” The film’s background music, Dle Yaman, was performed live before the film’s screening by none other than the amazing Alene Aroustamian who thrilled the audience with her magical performance.
“Sand and Fire” was a film from Morocco, directed by Souheil Ben Barka, a noted Moroccan director who has studied the craft in Italy. The audience found out that his Armenian grandmother raised him singing Dle Yaman to him which was very dear to his heart. The film tells the story of a Spanish army officer who is sent to Morocco as an explorer with a mission to overthrow the Moroccan Sultan.
The festival’s centerpiece program featured two films, “Lorik,” by Alexei Zlobin and Michael Poghosyan, and “Armenia Uncovered” by Andy Simon and Raffi Tanielian, with host Kev Orkian.
The weekend was the home of full house audience with films such as Ani Hovannisian’s “Hidden Map,” Lilit Pilikian and Jared White’s “100 Years from Home,” Jasper Aero’s “Dead Soldier.” The amazing film “Coming Home” by Daria Shumakova, stole everyone’s heart, including the Jury.
The closing night ceremonies were a great success. The Mistress of Ceremonies, Maria Cozette opened the evening with her two songs O Kami Kami and The Light of Day, then proceeded gracefully into mc’ing the evening.