PRESS RELEASE
Arpa Foundation for Film Music and Art (AFFMA)
2919 Maxwell Street, Los Angeles, CA 90027
www.affma.org
Contact: Beve Regas / Kalista PR
(818) 566-9769 / [email protected]

AZAD, THE SUFFERING GRASSES, JUST LIKE HER, TAKE TOP HONORS
AT THE 15TH ARPA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Hollywood, CA - Cinema patrons, industry veterans and emerging filmmakers
came out to the Egyptian Theatre to see the most highly anticipated films
of the year and to celebrate the best of the 15th Arpa International Film
Festival (AFFMA.org) at a star-studded gala Awards Ceremony at the
Sheraton Universal Hotel.

Over 4 rainy days from Thursday, November 29 to Sunday, December 2, 2012,
Arpa International Film Festival showcased over 60 films from around the
globe, Q&A's, receptions as well as a first ever GEMAI industry panel
discussion highlighting new technologies for the Deaf and Blind.

2012 marked a high point for Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art. "Not
only did we celebrate 15 years of staging the film festival in Los
Angeles," said the organization's founder, Sylvia Minassian, "but AFFMA was
itself recognized for its continued efforts to support artists and
filmmakers." In 2012, AFFMA was the recipient of an Armenian Heritage Award
by Los Angeles City Council and the office of Eric Garcetti, and a Roll
Global Grant for its humanitarian efforts. It is the major highlight of a
year of accomplishments for the organization which includes founder
Minassian as a recipient of the Golden Medal of the Ministry of Culture of
the Republic of Armenia, one of the highest Armenian cultural awards.

Arpa International Film Festival director Alex Kalognomos said, "This year
we added even more internationally themed films to the film program. We
also had sold-out screenings throughout the festival, beginning with the
800-person opening night sell-out for LOST & FOUND IN ARMENIA. We continued
to break attendance records as the Los Angeles audiences came out to take
part in the all the festival has to offer."

The festival culminated with a Gala event and awards ceremony at which
filmmakers, sponsors, and honored guests were celebrated for making this
year's festival a milestone event. The evening's mistress of ceremonies,
Marla Maples, invited the filmmakers who were presented their awards after
each of their screenings to join her on stage and take a bow for their
achievements.

BEST PICTURE was awarded to Nicolas Tackian for his French drama AZAD

BEST DIRECTOR kudos was delivered to Caner Alper and Mehmet Binay for the
Turkish film ZENNE DANCER.

BEST SCREENPLAY Award was given to Arshaluys Harutyunyan for the Armenian
drama WANDERING

The BEST DOCUMENTARY Feature Award for THE SUFFERING GRASSES: WHEN
ELEPHANTS FIGHT, IT IS THE GRASS THAT SUFFERS was presented to Yara Lee.

Eddie Deleon Melikyan accepted the award for BEST SHORT FILM for directing
JUST LIKE HER.

Also present were the 2012 special award honorees. Presenters such as
filmmaker Haik Gazarian and actress Valentina Rendon presented Hrach
Titizian with the Breakthrough Actor of the Year Award; actress Heather
McComb presented Michael Poghosian the Artist of the Year Award;
actor/filmmaker Sebastian Siegel awarded Frances Fisher the Career
Achievement Award; AFFMA Founder Sylvia Minassian presented Lusine
Sahakyan, director of "Hamshen at Crossroads of Past and Present"
(Armenia,Turkey) with the prestigious Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award;
Actress Anoush NeVart presented the Arpa Foundation Award to recipient USC
Shoah Foundation, The Institute For Visual History And Education. The award
was accepted by Dr. Stephen D. Smith, MBE, PhD who spoke about the merits
of supporting independent cinema and archiving efforts such as those by the
Shoah Foundation. And Achievement in International Cinema Award was
accepted by "Lost & Found in Armenia" (Armenia, USA) director, Gor
Kirakosian.

The awards were determined by a panel of industry experts which included
Filmmaker Debra Attoinese ("Zoe"), Actor and filmmaker Charles Davis,
consulting Executive Producer Max Howard (SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE
CIMARRON, SAVING SANTA), Inferno Entertainment EVP of Production and
Development Ara Keshishian, entertainment lawyer JD Larson, Motion Picture
Literary Agent at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Stuart Manashil and
Award-winning Executive Producer and Motion Picture Executive Howard
Rosenman (COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT, SPARKLE, FATHER OF THE
BRIDE, THE FAMILY MAN).

"Fifteen years makes Arpa International Film Festival one of the longest
standing film festivals in Los Angeles," said Minassian. "We are very
committed to supporting independent filmmakers and depend on community
support to make events such as the festival possible." This year's key
sponsors were Tacori, Horizon TV, Yerevan Magazine, and Siera Jewelers.
"Without the support of sponsors," said Kalognomos during his opening
remarks at the Gala, "...it would be impossible to stage such an event
where everyone's influence and creativity build unity and success." AFFMA,
a non-profit organization, annually stages entertainment industry
networking mixers, art exhibits, and fashion shows in an effort to
fundraise for its signature event, the film festival.

For the first time in its history, AFFMA awarded the winners of Best
Feature, Best Short, and Best Documentary a cash award. "Such recognitions
help us fulfill our commitment as an art organization to give grants and
support the efforts of such fine filmmakers," added Minassian.

For more photo highlights from the festival, please visit:
www.facebook.com/ArpaFilmFestival

AFFMA, a non-profit organization, was founded for the purpose of
enhancing Los Angeles's creative environment and supporting those artists
who bridge the cultural divide. Each year, AFFMA stages networking events,
concerts, art exhibits, fashion shows, book signings, and various benefits
to promote emerging talents. Most significantly, AFFMA produces Arpa
International Film Festival to unify diverse people and cultures through
film. Since 1997, the Festival has honored over 100 artists and filmmakers
with grants and awards. Visit www.affma.org for more information.

ARMIN T. WEGNER HUMANITARIAN AWARD marks its 10th year as one of Arpa
International Film Festival's top honors awarded during the festival. First
presented by Arpa International Film Festival in 2002, this Award is named
after German author and human rights activist Armin Theophil Wegner
(October 16, 1886 - May 17, 1978).

LUSINE SAHAKYAN, HAMSHEN AT THE CROSSROADS OF PAST AND PRESENT (ARMIN T.
WEGNER HUMANITARIAN AWARD) Dedicated to the current state of the
descendants of the Armenians of Hamshen (Hamshentsis), the film explores a
people who were Islamicized by the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century.
Today, they live primarily in the provinces of Rizeh and Artvin, as well as
in Istanbul and other cities of Turkey. The film presents unique episodes
from the history and culture of the Armenian Principality of Hamshen, and
the practice of Islamization, a form of ethnic cleansing. Based on material
shot on location, the present-day culture of the Hamshentsis is chronicled:
their songs and dances, customs, linguistic situation, as well as their
everyday life and occupations, conceptions of their own identity, and the
demographic picture.

FRANCES FISHER (ARPA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2012 CAREER ACHIEVEMENT
AWARD), whose unforgettable roles in such iconic films as TITANIC,
UNFORGIVEN and HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG, began her illustrious theatrical,
film and television career.

MICHAEL POGHOSIAN (ARTIST OF THE YEAR AWARD) whose films, LOST AND FOUND
IN ARMENIA and IF ONLY EVERYONE, the official entry from Armenia to the
Academy Awards Foreign Language category, mark this year's opening and
closing night films. Poghosian, a celebrated actor in Russia and Armenia,
was recognized for his decades-long career as an actor, producer and
screenwriter.

USC SHOAH FOUNDATION - The Institute for Visual History and Education
(ARPA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOUNDATION AWARD) Inspired by his
experience making SCHINDLER'S LIST, Steven Spielberg established the Shoah
Foundation in 1994 to gather video testimonies from survivors and other
witnesses of the Holocaust. Currently, the Institute's Visual History
Archive (VHA) holds nearly 52,000 video testimonies that were recorded in
56 countries and in 32 languages. The VHA is the largest digital collection
of its kind in the world and is accessible worldwide for research and
education at http://sfi.usc.edu .

HRACH TITIZIAN (ARPA INTERNATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
AWARD) Filmmaker and acting school founder, Hrach Titizian recently
appeared on Broadway in the award- winning Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,
on television in numerous shows including `Homeland', `24' and `Common
Law', and in indie favorites such as FLOAT, featuring Gregory Itzen.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1553955/