There’s so much cultural value to film festivals and the unique pride of the filmmakers. The disappointing thing is that you can’t see all the films that you’d like to see. As an audience member I wanted to see all their works and let them know how much I appreciated them.
I was lucky to attend 3 of the 5 days and survey several entries. My evening began with the opening night viewing of the silent film “ Namus”, a film of young lovers denied their union because of their parent’s over-bearing and narrow-minded intrusions. This restored classic was humorous, charming, with somewhat of a Romeo and Juliet theme played out Armenian style. You’ll want to track down a copy for nostalgic film movie night. “Father and Guns” ( De Pere En Flic), a French Canadian comedy and recipient of the 2010 Genie awards, was another picture that I enjoyed.
Nominated and Distinguished Films offered for 2010 by category
Best Short Film
“Anhtamar” (Armenia, United Kingdom), “Eye-Light” (South Korea), “The Fifth Column” (Hinkerort Zorasune (Lebanon, USA), “The Gift of the Magi” (Japan), “Nuit Blanche” (Canada).
Best Documentary Film
“Charents: In Search of My Armenian Poet” (Armenia), “Down Here” (Belgium, France, Armenia), “From Ararat to Zion” (Armenia, Egypt, Israel, Turkey), “Little Alien” (Austria, Greece, Morocco, Slovakian, Spain), “A woman From Kyrannis” (Tunisia).
Best Feature Film
"LES OUBLIES DE L'HISTOIRE: (Morocco,Belgium)
Ralph Kinnard "A ME MI GUSTA" (Venezuela)
The five-day film festival offered a variety of films from offerings from around the globe. The distinguished Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award (named after German author and human rights activist Armin Theophil Wegner), went to ERIC FRIEDLER for his film “Aghet”, a documentary aimed at keeping alive Armenia’s quest to have formal recognition of the genocide and repatriation of the Armenian people by Turkey. The film outlines the brutal and systematic deportation of the Armenian people. It seems that this type of brutal repatriation has long been ignored on the world scene; overshadowed by the soon to happen Nazi genocide of the Jewish people. It was surprising to learn that this happened some twenty years prior and continues to be a smoldering issue for the Armenian people today.
An exuberant Serge Avedikian proudly accepted the ARPA Career Achievement Award Career Achievement Award at Thursday (9/23) evening's Francophone Fest celebration. Delivering his acceptance speech in French.
The week long event recognized many notable film making achievements, the award for best short film: " Nuit Blanche" (Canada). Honors for Best Documentary " From Ararat to Zion" (Armenia,Egypt,Israel,Turkey) narrated by Aidan Quinn.
The Arpa/At&t Award for Environmental Conservation and Stewardship went to the German film "Scientists Under Attack: Genetic Engineering in the Magnetic Field of Money".
Grigor Hovhannissian, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia and AFFMA's (Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art), founder Sylvia Minassian presented the Arpa Foundation Award to Armenian Missionary Association of America's Orphan/Child Care Program (AMAA).
Rounding out the distinguished week were awards for Best Director honours to Ralph Kinnard "A Me Mi Gusta" (Venezuela), and actor Vik Sahay concluded the evening presenting the Best Film award to "Les Oublies De L'Histoire" and the film's producer Hassan Benjelloun, who also directed and co-wrote the script with Toufik Taha.
The ARPA International Film Festival is just another notable example that through art and music we are one. A great and crowning week of achievements. Congratulations to all the winners and a heartfelt thanks to all that participated in bringing art to life.