Los Angeles -- Today is the last day of the ARPA International Film Festival. I usually cover this lovely ethnic festival in the heart of Hollywood but this year has been a year of many deadlines and a few moments to plan. However I felt it would be a good idea to share my personal thoughts on this charming slice of Armenian life here in the South Land.
Arpa, for those who are curious as to why an Armenian film festival is titled with such an exotic name, according to Wikipedia, is a river that runs through Armenia and Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan exclave. It originates in the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia and is as a left tributary of the Aras.
Armenia is truly a crucible of multi civilizations at the foothills of Europe and the Middle East. Her people were persecuted and dispersed throughout the region and many parts of the world in later years. The first genocide of the 20th Century perpetrated at the dawn of the First World War was the Armenian Genocide, which 30 years later became the template of the Nazi Genocide of European Jewry as well as other people deemed inferior and threatening.
Yet this festival has never spewed the rancor and heated clarion calls of revenge like many other people who have sought to rectify the wrongs and crimes committed against them. Instead it has sought healing, forgiveness, self awareness, inclusion and celebration of the human spirit from the harmony of its heart to the prowess of its intellect. Justice served between the anvil of mercy and the gavel of judgement.
In view of the Beirut and Paris bombings by the terror group ISIS or ISIL what better way to spend a weekend refuting the religious intolerance and racial hatred that was fed by a blind religious ideology to the beauty of life and the wanton political idolatry to the theology of faith.
If you do anything today visit Arpa at the Egyptian Theater and if you are unable to do so visit their website at http://www.arpafilmfestival.com. And maybe you too will find that river of life that flows in the heart of all of us touching our lives in ways we dare to imagine and in ways never imagined before until now.
Maybe then we will "He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." Isaiah 2:4
AFI FEST 2015 PRESENTED BY AUDI
ANNOUNCES JURY AND AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS
ENCORE SCREENINGS OF SELECT AWARD-WINNING FILMS
AT THE TCL CHINESE 6 THEATRES TODAY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, November 12, 2015 — AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi announces today the feature and short films receiving this year’s Jury and Audience Awards. The New Auteurs Grand Jury Award was presented to LAND AND SHADE, while DISORDER received a Special Jury Mention for Direction, and DESDE ALLÁ received a Special Jury Mention for Screenplay. BOYS received the Grand Jury Award for Live Action Short, and WORLD OF TOMORROW received the Grand Jury Award for Animated Short. This year’s Audience Award recipients in the New Auteurs, World Cinema and Breakthrough sections included MUSTANG, JAMES WHITE and MA. The full list of winners is below.
The Jury Awards honored works from the New Auteurs section, which highlighted 11 films from first and second-time feature film directors, and the Shorts section, which included 53 films representing diverse international perspectives. The Audience Award winners were selected from among 54 films in these festival sections: American Independents, Breakthrough, New Auteurs and World Cinema.
Select award-winning films will screen again today at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. Admission is available to AFI FEST 2015 passholders and the general public via rush line, which begins forming one hour before each film’s scheduled screening start time. For screening times visit AFI.com/AFIFEST.
NEW AUTEURS AWARDS
This year’s New Auteurs jury was comprised of Inkoo Kang (TheWrap), Sheri Linden (The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times) and Nigel M. Smith (The Guardian).
New Auteurs Grand Jury Award: LAND AND SHADE (DIR César Augusto Acevedo)
Jury Statement: “For its visual eloquence, formal rigor and emotional power, the New Auteurs Grand Jury Award goes to LAND AND SHADE. Its observations of economic exploitation and environmental degradation are as incisive as its characters are fully realized. Writer/director César Augusto Acevedo’s debut feature is an indelible portrait of a family in rural Colombia, told with unwavering compassion and Bressonian grace.”
Special Jury Mention for Direction: DISORDER (DIR Alice Winocour)
Jury Statement: “For the taut and muscular direction of her viscerally entertaining thriller DISORDER, the jury recognizes writer/director Alice Winocour with a Special Jury Mention. Through precise execution of her material, Winocour subverts expectations commonly associated with genre films to deliver a bracing experience that stuns and surprises.”
Special Jury Mention for Screenplay: DESDE ALLÁ (DIR/SCR Lorenzo Vigas)
Jury Statement: “A tense, sensitive and unpredictable exploration of an improbable but emotionally believable relationship, the screenplay for DESDE ALLÁ merits a Special Jury Mention for its heartbreaking characters and its keen insights into the prejudices, alienation, social divides and desperate need for control that allow love to both bloom and wither.”
GRAND JURY AWARDS, LIVE ACTION AND ANIMATED SHORT
Grand Jury winners in the Shorts categories are eligible for Academy Award® consideration. This year’s Shorts Jury featured filmmaker Janicza Bravo, producer Keith Calder and the British Film Commission’s Tara Halloran.
Grand Jury Award for Live Action Short: BOYS (DIR Isabella Carbonell)
Jury Statement: “This film tackles the abominable with courage, confidence and dignity. It shows us humanity in the places where we would least expect to find it.”
Grand Jury Award for Animated Short: WORLD OF TOMORROW (DIR Don Hertzfeldt)
Jury Statement: “Funny. Scary. Heartbreaking. Original. And beautiful. This film hit us all hard.”
Live Action Short Special Mention for Innovative Storytelling: RATE ME (DIR Fyzal Boulifa)
Jury Statement: “This film pushes the boundaries not only of filmmaking technique but also social convention.”
Live Action Short Special Mention for Nonfiction Filmmaking: The Reagan Shorts — RONALD REAGAN LIGHTS THE LIGHTS, RONALD REAGAN PARDONS A TURKEY, MARYLAND PUBLIC TELEVISION INTERVIEWS THE REAGANS (DIR Pacho Velez)
Jury Statement: “By selecting and editing these gems from years worth of archival footage, these shorts shine a light on the marriage of politics and performance.”
Animated Short Special Jury Mention for Screenwriting: TEETH (DIRS Tom Brown, Daniel Gray)
Jury Statement: “This film has many merits, but we were struck most by its sharp wit, character and spirit.”
Animated Short Special Jury Mention for Creative Vision: MANOMAN (DIR Simon Cartwright)
Jury Statement: “This film creates a world unlike any we've seen before. It was a privilege to have been invited in.”
World Cinema Audience Award: LANDFILL HARMONIC (DIRS Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley, Juliana Penaranda-Loftus)
New Auteurs Audience Award: MUSTANG (DIR Deniz Gamze Ergüven)
American Independents Audience Award: JAMES WHITE (DIR Josh Mond)
Breakthrough Audience Award: MA (DIR Celia Rowlson-Hall)
The AFI FEST program featured 130 films (77 features, 53 shorts), representing 45 countries. The breakdown by section is: Galas/Tributes (5), Special Screenings (8), American Independents (9), New Auteurs (11), World Cinema (29), Midnight (3), Breakthrough (5), Cinema's Legacy (5), Presentations (2) and Shorts (53), and included 38 films directed/co-directed by women, 17 documentaries, 10 official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® submissions and 10 animated short films.
The many highlights of the festival included the world premieres of Opening Night film BY THE SEA (DIR Angelina Jolie Pitt), Centerpiece Gala film CONCUSSION (DIR Peter Landesman) and Closing Night Gala film THE BIG SHORT (DIR Adam McKay); a Tribute to 45 YEARS stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay; Conversations with director Ridley Scott (THE MARTIAN), actor Benicio Del Toro (SICARIO), director Sarah Gavron and writer Abi Morgan (SUFFRAGETTE), actor Michael Caine and director Paolo Sorrentino (YOUTH) and director Scott Cooper and star Johnny Depp (BLACK MASS); and the Indie Contenders Roundtable, which included writer/director Ramin Bahrani (99 HOMES), actress Blythe Danner (I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS), actress Saoirse Ronan (BROOKLYN), actor Jason Segel (THE END OF THE TOUR), actress Sarah Silverman (I SMILE BACK), actress Lily Tomlin (GRANDMA) and actress Olivia Wilde (MEADOWLAND).
Many international film artists attended the festival this year, including CHEVALIER director Athina Rachel Tsangari; CHRONIC director Michel Franco and star Tim Roth; DHEEPAN director Jacques Audiard; OUR LITTLE SISTER director Hirokazu Kore-eda and actress Kiki Kirin; QUEEN OF THE DESERT director Werner Herzog; as well as many artists representing Oscar® entries, including director Pablo Trapero, producer Matias Mosteirin with actors Guillermo Francella and Peter Lanzani (THE CLAN, Argentina); actor Alejandro Goic (THE CLUB, Chile); director Jayro Bustamante with producers Pilar Peredo and Edgard Tenenbaum (IXCANUL, Guatemala); director Deniz Gamze Ergüven, producer Charles Gillibert, screenwriter Alice Winocour with cast members Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Elit Iscan, Tugba Sunguroglu and Ilayda Akdogan (MUSTANG, France); director Grímur Hákonarson (RAMS, Iceland); director László Nemes, cinematographer Mátyás Erdély and star Géza Röhrig (SON OF SAUL, Hungary); and director Tobias Lindholm, producer Rene Ezra and star Pilou Asbæk (A WAR, Denmark).
Sponsored by Google, Dolby Laboratories and VIZIO, this year's State of the Art — Innovation, Storytelling and Technology showcase, dedicated to immersive storytelling and virtual reality (VR), was a huge success. Keynote speaker Glen Keane kicked off the two-day event, a weekend program that included panel discussions with leading artists, interactive installations and VR display stations.
For the seventh consecutive year, AFI FEST offered free tickets to all screenings. Tickets for today’s screenings are available in-person at the AFI FEST AT&T Box Office at the Hollywood & Highland Center.
Film stills are available for press use only and can be downloaded at: http://afifestpress.afi.com
For the 12th consecutive year, AFI FEST is proud to have Audi as the presenting sponsor. Additional top sponsors include AT&T; American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI. The festival's venue sponsors include TCL Chinese Theatres, Dolby Theatre, the Hollywood & Highland Center, The Hollywood Roosevelt and the Egyptian Theatre.
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About the American Film Institute
AFI is America's promise to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Filmsand the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm,facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.
About AFI FEST presented by Audi
A program of the American Film Institute, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a celebration of global cinema and today's Hollywood — a showcase for the best festival films of the year and an opportunity for master filmmakers and emerging artists to come together with audiences in the movie capital of the world. AFI FEST is the only festival of its stature that is free to the public. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for the Live Action and Animated Short Film categories for the annual Academy Awards®. AFI FEST will take place November 5–12, 2015, in the heart of Hollywood. Screenings and Galas will be held at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, Dolby Theatre, the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian, the El Capitan Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST. Connect with AFI FEST at facebook.com/AFIFEST, twitter.com/AFIFEST and youtube.com/AFIFEST.
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