Awards & Jury Members

The Arpa IFF brings acclaimed international filmmakers and entertainment professionals, including producers, directors, writers, and agents to select the films that stand above the rest.

2016 Arpa IFF Awards

  • BEST SHORT FILM will receive a film grant for $500, and the Arpa IFF Crystal.
  • BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM will receive the Arpa IFF Crystal.
  • BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM will receive the Arpa IFF Crystal.
  • BEST SCREENPLAY will receive the Arpa IFF Crystal.
  • BEST DIRECTOR will receive the Arpa IFF Crystal.
  • BEST FEATURE NARRATIVE FILM will receive a film grant for $1,000, and the Arpa IFF Crystal.

Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award

Annual Arpa Film Festival Armin Wegner AwardThis special award was created by AFFMA following a proposal by Armin T. Wegner Society of USA.

The award is presented each year to a filmmaker whose film deals with subjugated peoples, ethnic cleansing, forced deportation, massacres and genocides. The motion picture must contribute to the fight for social conscience and human rights, a struggle to which Armin T. Wegner devoted his entire life.


2016 Arpa IFF Jury Members

Delving into creative exchanges, the jurors create an opening where the passionate intensity of these gifted filmmakers flourish. Each year we are fortunate to have jury members who have an increasing awareness and understanding of contemporary international cinema.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member

GREG DE CUIR Jr, Artistic Director at BelDocs

GREG DE CUIR Jr is the artistic director of Beldocs and the selector/curator of Alternative Film/Video (both in Belgrade, Serbia). He works as an independent curator, translator, and writer.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member

ZORAN LISINAC, Film Director & Writer

ZORAN LISINAC, a transplant from Eastern Europe, is an award-winning writer/director of a feature film “Along the Roadside” starring New Media star Alphacat and the Hollywood veteran Michael Madsen. In addition, Zoran has produced a dozen of short form internet videos, some of which have gone Viral. Zoran currently works as a Head of Production at Backlot Digital, a new media studio, and is at the helm of several Film and TV projects.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member Gabriela Revilla Lugo

GABE SAPORTA, The Artist Group

GABE SAPORTA was born in Uruguay and raised in New York City. Saporta was majoring in philosophy and political science at Rutgers University when he was discovered, and decided to pursue a career in music. Touring the world throughout his twenties, he enjoyed multi-platinum success as the singer and creative force behind Cobra Starship. In 2013 Saporta married fashion designer Erin Fetherston, and although he continued his career as an artist (releasing his biggest hit to date, “You Make Me Feel”), his true dream was to start a family. He thus began stepping out of the spotlight and into the business side of the music industry. At the beginning of 2016, Gabe moved to California (with Erin, of course), launched The Artist Group (a management company focused on developing new artists), and welcomed a baby boy (the first of many, he hopes). It’s been a busy year.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member Gabriela Revilla Lugo

SRDJAN STAKIC, Film Producer

SRDJAN STAKIC is an award-winning producer based in Los Angeles. While completing his doctorate in health education at Columbia University, Srdjan was recruited by the United Nations to work on using media for social development. He executive and line-produced programming around the globe that bridged education and entertainment. Upon moving to LA and receiving an MFA degree from the prestigious Peter Stark Producing Program at USC, Srdjan spent time in Film Finance and Creative Development divisions of Universal Pictures. After that, he joined YOMYOMF, a YouTube network spearheaded by Justin Lin [Fast & Furious, Star Track Beyond] as his in house line producer where he trained to produce low budget / high production value projects. Srdjan’s first feature film (executive produced with Lin) Yellow Face, based on a Pulitzer Prize nominated play by Tony Award®-winning playwright David Henry Hwang, won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. His second feature, Newcomer, starring Anthony LaPaglia, executive produced by Brian Kavanaugh-Jones [Insidious, Sinister], premiered as the Opening Night Gala presentation at London’s Raindance Film Festival. In 2015, Srdjan completed principal photography on a feature-length documentary film shot in a refugee camp on the Syrian-Jordanian border. In 2016, he filmed a TV show, Swedish Dicks, starring Peter Stormare and Keanu Reeves, which was purchased by Lioinsgate and will be premiering in the US in 2017. Srdjan partnered with Allison Abbate [producer of Talented Mr. Fox, Frankenweenie, Corps Bride, The Lego Movie] to produce a feature penned by Abbate. Additionally, Srdjan won the Gold American Advertising Award for best commercial campaign. In September 2017, Srdjan produced Darren Bousman’s [Saw II, III, IV], live interactive immersive theatrical performance The Tension Experience: Ascension which garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews. Currently, he is in pre-production Darren Bousman’s next feature film, which will be filmed in Atlanta in December 2016, followed by Darren’s next feature, which will be filmed in Los Angeles in February 2017. He will follow that with Season 2 of Swedish Dicks. Srdjan is simultaneously developing a slate of diverse projects reflecting the wide his scope of interest and experience.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member

WHITNEY SUDLER-SMITH, Filmmaker & Classical Guitarist

WHITNEY SUDLER-SMITH is a filmmaker and a classically trained guitarist. Having spent the last 17 years living and working in Los Angeles, Sudler-Smith has honed his talents towards the dark side composing screenplays and independent film; having directed the small films Going for Baroque and Afternoon Delight, Whitney went on to direct Bubba and Ike, the redneck buddy comedy that premiered at the Austin Film Festival, and the TV pilot Torture TV, starring Danny Huston. Sudler-Smith’s directed the film Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston, about the infamous fashion designer and the decadent ’70s. The film premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and Showtime Network has been distributed theatrically worldwide. He is currently producing and starring in the Bravo show “Southern Charm” and has three other TV shows currently in development.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member

JOE DAVID JOVANOVIC, Documentary Director, Writer & Producer

JOEY DAVID JOVANOVICH has nearly 15 years experience in documentary film and television working on projects ranging in subjects from history to science to travel. She started her career as a production coordinator and associate producer for PBS on such esteemed shows as American Experience and NOVA. She spent four years as the Supervising Producer of the PBS series NOVA science Now in New York City, working closely with the show’s host, well-known astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Over the course of her career, Joey has written and produced projects for the History Channel, National Geographic, CBS and the BBC. In 2014 Joey relocated from New York to Los Angeles and began producing short films for non-profit organizations such as Mobility International, Cedars Sinai, Jewish Federation of Greater LA and the Dodgers Foundation. She is currently in production on a feature documentary due out in 2017. Joey graduated from Smith College in western Massachusetts and received her Master’s degree in Documentary Film Production at Emerson College in Boston. She lives in Los Angeles with her producer husband and their two young children.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member

PETER COLLINS, Filmmaker & Post Production Manager

PETER COLLINS started his career in post production in the US, after studying at UCLA. His work at sound stages and in MCRs across Los Angeles guided his interest towards the more technical aspects of the film-making process and he currently works as a post production manager for The Farm Group in London. His work can be seen on numerous studio features, Netflix original content, and several multinational broadcast dramas. Peter is a current SMPTE Professional and member of the Royal Television Society, the Digital Production Partnership, and the ACM.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member

ARMEN KARAOGHLANIAN, Writer, Producer & Creative Director

ARMEN KARAOGHLANIAN is a graduate of the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts. In his career, he has worked in various capacities relating to film, including criticism, academia, and production. Karaoghlanian has been an Adjunct Faculty with Woodbury University since 2012, where he offers courses in film. He is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the film and architecture publication, Interiors, which has received critical acclaim from the likes of film critic Roger Ebert, as well as MUBI, MovieMaker Magazine, Filmmaker Magazine, and Hypebeast. In 2012, Indiewire labeled Interiors as one of “34 Movie Lovers We Love of 2012 That You Need to Love Too.” Armen Karaoghlanian is writing his first book with Interiors, due for publication in 2017. Armen Karaoghlanian is the producer of the upcoming feature film Small Fish, which stars Mike Starr (Goodfellas, Dumb and Dumber) and was edited by Colleen Halsey (Edward Scissorhands) alongside her husband Richard Halsey (Oscar-winning editor of Rocky). In 2015, Armen and his wife, Mary Karaoghlanian, founded the Armenian Film Society, an organization that highlights the importance of Armenian film and filmmakers with monthly screenings in Glendale’s Abril Books. Armen Karaoghlanian currently serves as Creative Director of Zero Parallel, an online marketing firm.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member

GARY MANTOOSH, Vice President of Talent for B|W|R PR

GARY MANTOOSH serves as a Vice President of Talent for B|W|R Public Relations, having joined the Beverly Hills-based company in 2001. Mantoosh represents talent across both television and film genres, also working with A-list musicians, fashion designers and best-selling authors. His current clients include Zoe Saldana, Nina Dobrev, Glen Powell, Jaime Pressly, Jamie Chung, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Matt Mcgorry, Amandla Stenberg and Maria Menounos, among others. He previously led campaigns for such clients as Jennifer Lopez, Kate Beckinsale, Sarah Michelle Gellar, book launches for Tatum O’Neal as well as Maria Menounos, as well as early branding for designer Rebecca Minkoff , in addition to working with Point Foundation, Trevor Project and GLSEN. Originally from Newport, Rhode Island, Mantoosh graduated phi beta cappa and summa cum laude from Boston College, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with concentrations in Public Relations and Marketing.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member

VUK PEROVIC, Film Editor & Artistic Director at UnderillFest

VUK PEROVIC, editor of film and series program on Public service Radio Television of Montenegro and art director of UnderillFest, festival of full-lenght documentaries. Film critic, secretary the Montenegrin section of FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics), and was a member of the FIPRESCI Jury at the International Film Festival in Bratislava 2005. and at the festival in Herceg Novi in 2007. Was member of Jury for Nebojša Đukellić award on belgrade FEST (2015) and of FEDEORA *Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean) jury on Montenegro film festival in Hereceg Novi 2016. Former editor of film and series program and autor of show about culture on TV Atlas. Former deputy of editor in chief and editor of culture section in in the daily newspaper “Dnevne novine” from Podgorica. Wrote about culture in Southeastern Europe for the SoutheastEurope: People and Culture Internet portal. He wrote for the dailies such as “Pobjeda” from Podgorica and “Građanski list” from Novi Sad, as well as for the weeklies “Reporter” from Belgrade, “Boulevard” from Novi Sad, and others.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member

MUSHEGH ADAMYAN, Producer & Production Manager

MUSHEGH ADAMYAN is a Producer and Production Manager. Adamyan was the CEO of HK Productions, one of the biggest filmmaking companies in Armenia founded by director/producer Hrach Keshishyan. He is a managing partner of Brand Time Production and co-founder of “Colors of Armenia” magazine. He works with film production companies in France, Belgium, Russia and Georgia and has produced, co-produced and executive produced 7 feature films including one of the most popular biographical feature films in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora, “Garegin Nzhdeh”. Noteworthy films among them are “Thank you, Dad” – Window to Europe Film Festival 2014 award winner for Best Film; “House in the HearT” – a romantic comedy very popular in Russia and CIS countries; “Bravo, Virtuoso!” – co- produced with acclaimed French actor, director and producer Robert Guédiguian and his company Agat Films, and to be presented at Cannes Film Festival in 2017. Adamyan has also produced several short documentary films for international organizations, music videos, social videos, TV commercials and other media including animation films.

Arpa Film Festival Jury member


JOHN GOSCHIN joined BWR Public Relations in 2010, where he has helped shape and coordinate public relations campaigns for a diverse clientele that spans music, film, television, sports, fashion and technology. As one of the youngest publicists promoted in 25 years at BWR, Goschin has been instrumental in working with some of the industry’s most exciting clients including Ken Jeong, Patton Oswalt, Terrence Howard and Wagner Moura. Goschin has also helped shape PR and Marketing strategy for brands such as TOMS, as well as consulted on major events such as the MTV Movie Awards and Montreal Comedy Festival. Prior to his career in public relations, Goschin worked at Athletes First and Intellectual Property Group (IPG).

Arpa Film Festival Jury member Gabriela Revilla Lugo


BORISA SIMOVIC graduated from the Academy of Arts in Belgrade, department of film directing at world-renowned professor Zivojin Pavlovic, Slobodan Sijan and Milos Radivojevic. After studies, he produced one feature film and directed several short films that have visited a large number of world festivals and won numerous international awards. Currently, he is directing a medieval spectacle TV series, the most ambitious project of Serbian national television.

Arpa Film Festival Jury

VLADIMIR SLAVICA, Film Director & Writer

VLADIMIR SLAVICA is an award-winning writer/director who graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, Serbia and who now lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He has written, directed and produced numerous films – feature, shorts, animated and documentaries, TV shows, music videos and commercials. His favorite directors are John Ford, Jean Luc Godard and Buster Keaton.

Past Arpa Film Festival Judges

Our past international film festival judges include: Charles Agron, James Duke Mason, Felix Pire, Sev Ohanian, Sebastian Siegel, Howard Rosenman, Deborah Attoinese, Charles Gideon Davis, Max Howard, JD Larson, Stuart Manashil, Debra Balamos, Rob Bowman, Alan Cassidy, Alan Cummings, Kirby Dick, Heather Jack, Corey Kaplan, Jeffrey Meadows, Carol Mechanic, Nina Menkes, Susan Kay Moses, Paul Peterson, David Rosenbloom, Hamlet Sarkissian, Steven Small, Geoff Stier, Katherine Tomlinson, Ara Keshishian, Jeff Speich, Owen Ward, Ken Sherman, Randi Wilens, Milton B. Suchin, Essy Niknejad, Stacey Margetts, Ray Rhodes, Scott Davis, Frank Guttler, Geoff Yim, Valerie McCaffrey, Stuart Sender, Vatche Mangassarian, Stuart Manashil, and Ken Davitian.