At a party celebrating the release of a major motion picture, you wouldn’t expect to see a line of guests willingly handing over donations in exchange for their gift bags, but at the release party for Least Among Saints held on October 1st at the W Hotel in Hollywood, the people at this party were happy to give. That’s because the money raised through donations at the event were going to support organizations that help veterans in need, a topic that is at the heart of this film.
Written, directed and starring Martin Papazian, Least Among Saints tells the story of a soldier haunted by war and a young boy who has never known peace. As these two become unlikely friends, they embark on a life-changing journey and help one another along the way. Since it was presented at the GI Film Festival in May, this film has hit home for countless veterans and their families who are often profoundly affected by war and then face the difficulties of re-adjusting to civilian life.
Least Among Saints marks Martin Papazian’s debut as a feature film director. He was inspired by true events to write this story of a man’s quest for redemption through his compassion for an orphaned boy. Before Least Among Saints, Papazian directed the award-winning short film “In The Wind”; the story of a soldier’s return to Katrina ravaged New Orleans only to find his home had been destroyed while he was gone. The film was awarded Best Picture at both the New Orleans and Vail Film Festivals. As an actor, Papazian is best known for his role in Universal Picture’s Jarhead directed by Academy Award Winner Sam Mendes and most recently appeared opposite Charlize Theron in Magnolia Pictures’ The Burning Plain.
The cast also features well-known actors Laura San Giacomo and Charles S. Dutton, as well as relative newcomer Tristan Lake Leabu as Wade, the young boy befriended by Papazian’s Anthony and A.J. Cook as Cheryl. Currently seen on the CBS hit series “Criminal Minds” Cook first gained attention in 1999 with a role the Sofia Coppola film The Virgin Suicides. At the event, Cook said, “From the moment I read this script, I know it was going to be something.”
Before presenting the official trailer for the film, Papazian introduced Orlando Ward from Volunteers of America, an organization that helps veterans in need. Speaking to the crowd about the film, Ward said, “Not only do we have a compassionate film…it’s going to entertain you and it’s going to move you.” Chris Pavlak from Fenix281, stated, “Our organization helps veterans make the tough transition from military service to civilian life as the film depicts so poignantly.” Following the trailer, there were performances by Australian singer-songwriter Bonnie Piesse as well as Charlie Hirsch whose song “Beaten Up and Broken Down” is featured in the film.
Least Among Saints opens in theaters on October 12th including the AMC Loews Broadway 4 in Santa Monica and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.