Eric Roberts, Sylvia Minassian, Aleen Khachatourian, Eliza Roberts

22nd ARPA International Film Festival Wraps Up


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.

From left, Yuona Hagopjanian, Aleen Khachatourian, Anna Harutyunyan, Michael Poghosyan, Vahik Pirhamzei

“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.

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Celebrity guests throughout the weekend included with celebrities such Fern Champion, Sonya Eddy, Kev Orkian, Paul Fisher, Esai Morales, Michelle Alexandria, Jack Betts, Alex Kalognomos, Armen Ra, Leonardo Foti, Chuck Harter, Sofia Shinas, Ken Davitian, Maria Elena Infantino, Ara Keshishian, Kamal Moumad, Micky Levy, Paul Fisher, Michael Poghosyan, Sofia Milos, to name a few, also with our amazing special  honorees Eric Roberts, actor; Sally Kirkland, actress; Albert S. Ruddy, producer of “The Godfather,” “Million Dollar Baby” and many others including filmmakers, directors, producers from all over the world.

The 2019 Arpa International Film Festival’s award winners are:

Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking: “Sand and Fire (The Impossible Dream),” directed by Souheil Ben Barka

Best Short Film: “The Sea,” directed by Cameron Richards

Best Music Video: “South Central State of Mind,” directed by Timur Bootzin

Best Animated Short Film: “Anacronte,” directed by Raúl Koler and Emiliano Sette

Best Documentary Film (a tie):

“The Dead Soldier,” directed by Jesper Ærø

“Reinventing Rosalee,” directed by Lillian Glass

Best Screenplay: LORIK, directed by Alexey Zlobin

Best Director: “Coming Home,”  directed by Daria Shumakova

Best Feature Film: “Coming Home,” produced by Makar Zaporozhskiy and Anna Gasparyan

Special Honorees 2019 Arpa International Film Festival

Lifetime Achievement Award in Producing: Albert S. Ruddy

Career Achievement Award in Directing: Joe Berlinger

Lifetime Achievement Award: Eric Roberts

Icon Award: Sally Kirkland


The 2019 Arpa International Film Festival Jury were: Kimberly Fox-  Partner at Mad River Productions; Michael Mandaville-  Producer; Fern Champion- Casting director; Darren Boghosian- Agent, UTA; Sonya Eddy- Actress; JD Larson- Founder, Larson and Associate music Management; Sofia Shinas- Writer, Director; Karen Ryan- Commercial Casting Director; Chuck Harter- Producer and Robert Giardina- Actor.

To date, AFFMA has awarded more than 150 individuals with grants in support of their creative endeavors. Through its Arpa International Film Festival, AFFMA has recognized industry legends, with Lifetime Achievement, Career Achievement, Humanitarian, Icon and Breakthrough Artist Awards. Arpa International Film Festival takes great pride in working toward recognizing the diverse tapestry of international talent and presenting it to an appreciative audience. We place a strong emphasis on filmmakers’ unique artistic vision, cultural diversity and social understanding.



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