Arpa International Film Festival Team
Our 2017 Arpa International Film Festival Team consists of a youthful and experienced group of professionals from wide cross section of the film industry. Their ideas and mutual creative force are what drives the festival’s production and programming, in order to give both the filmmakers and the audience the best festival experience possible.
SYLVIA MINASSIAN, Festival Founder
Sylvia Minassian who always had a deep passion for languages and the arts since her youth, holds a Master’s Degree in French Literature. Her passion for the arts led her to start a foundation to promote the arts. Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) was founded in 1995 to provide a platform for filmmakers, musicians and artists, whose work explores subjects of social and cultural importance. In 1997, Sylvia Minassian started the annual Arpa International Film Festival, with a mission to create a dynamic forum for international and local filmmakers who explore such issues as diaspora, war, genocide, dual-identity, exile and multiculturalism. Minassian believes that a festival is first and foremost a product of its participants. She takes great pride in representing AFFMA, a non-profit art foundation whose sole purpose is to recognize the diverse tapestry of international talent and presenting their creative work to an appreciative audience. Each year, the festival looks forward to screen an exceptional program of films from many different countries, taking great pride in the works of all of the filmmakers who, in their brilliant visions, have created their own distinctive place in the Global Film Community.
MICHAEL ASHJIAN, Festival Director
Michael Ashjian is an entertainment attorney at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME) in Beverly Hills. His practice focuses on entertainment and intellectual property transactions for both production companies and talent. He has worked at companies like Universal Pictures, Starz Entertainment, WME & Ramo Law. He’s also written several articles related to the trends in the entertainment industry. Michael graduated from Southwestern Law School, and holds a history degree from UCLA with a minor in Film, TV, and Digital Studies.
HAIG BOYADJIAN, AFFMA Executive Director, Festival Producer
Haig Boyadjian is dynamic professional specializing in public relations, marketing, communications and development. He led the social impact outreach for the film The Promise and is currently working on publicity campaigns for several films. Haig has served as Senior Director of Communications and Development for the American University of Armenia (AUA), and oversaw marketing and development for the New York-based nonprofit organization – Children of Armenia Fund (COAF). He was head publicist to iconic entertainer Ed McMahon and has also worked for Universal Pictures Home Entertainment while completing the Entertainment Public Relations program at UCLA Extension. He holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from UCSD.
MARAL KAZAZIAN, Festival Marketing
Maral Kazazian is one of the first members of AFFMA. She holds a degree in chemistry, but her passion for films takes her around globally, and along with her husband they have become serious students of cinema. Maral’s deep interest in photography allows her to connect deeper with people and the many avenues they encounter along the way, she reviews films and invites online audience to engage in creative dialogue on international and independent films.
DON HANNAH, Festival Photographer
Don Q. Hannah is Vice President, Creative Services at Film Solutions LLC, and founder/principal artist at Parallusion Media Group. Don is a member of the executive committee for AFFMA since 2004 and serves as the official photographer for Arpa International film festival.
GREGOR ZUPANC, Festival Programming Artistic Director
Gregor Zupanc is a Los Angeles based award winning Film & TV director and producer. He is the creator of several short films, director of numerous episodes of both entertainment and premium educational TV program, documentaries, as well as the two of his original TV Shows picked up for broadcast and digital distribution by the largest TV Network in the entire Balkans, Serbian Public Television (RTS). Currently producing and directing his first north American production of feature length documentary “Jax Cody – Born at the Crib”, Gregor is passionately curating Arpa IFF with the mission statement in his mind to create a vibrant Hollywood melting pot for brave foreign and local filmmakers, innovative voices and socially engaged movies that have visual power to awaken pure and unforgettable theatrical experience.
VANESSA TURCHAN, Festival Filmmaker Liaison
Vanessa Turchan is an LMU graduate with a BA in Communication Studies and a Minor in Business Administration/Marketing. She has been a member of the Arpa Film Festival Executive Committee since 2013. Primarily she is the filmmaker liaison and handles all correspondence for the festival. Her experience at companies like NBC Universal and C Publishing has prepared her for the entertainment business, therefore bringing insight to the Arpa Film Festival.
JACQUELINE DER-MESROPIAN, Festival Community Liaison
Jacqueline Der-Mesropian, an Art History major from the Richmond University in London. Her strong interest in the arts got her involved in the Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) since 2004. As a Member of the Board and a Community Liaison, Jacqueline has been working with AFFMA and its signature event Arpa International Film Festival for the past 10 years.
ARA TAVITIAN, Festival Community Liaison
Ara Tavitian is owner of Retro Gallery in Los Angeles, a top source for vintage accessories and lighting for more than two decades. He is also a passionate collector, always on the search for unique items from European and American sources that will add flair, sophistication, or whimsy to any home. His products have been featured in Architectural Digest, California Home + Design, House Beautiful, and many other publications.
CARMEN LIBARIDIAN, Festival Community Liaison
Carmen Azinian Libaridian was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and came to United States when she was only a few years old. She is very family oriented and adores her four children and her father who just celebrated his 90th birthday. She has been vital in helping spark collaboration between different organization in the Glendale and Los Angeles communities. Her spirit of volunteerism and the effective leadership skills she displays is truly admirable. She serves over 20 different boards including a few that she added last year…. American Armenian museum board, The Ararat charter school board and the American Armenian tournament of roses float. She is now the Community Liaison at Arpa International Film Festival committee.
EDGAR HAYRAPETYAN, Festival Community Liaison
Edgar Hayrapetyan was born in Armenia to a very prominent family of scientists and doctors. He studied in Armenia, in Austria and holds a master’s degree in Constitutional Law. Currently he lives in LA and is building his own “Event Planning” company. He also specializes in public relations, brand marketing and social media. Edgar is very passionate about art. He is a well known community activist and a member of numerous Armenian and non-Armenian charitable organizations.
ADRIANA MARDIROSIAN, Festival Community Liaison
Adriana Mardirosian is a passionate pursuer of expanding one’s horizons. She holds a BS in engineering/computer science from UCLA and an MBA from Pepperdine University. She has extensive experience in project management and volunteering for various community initiatives in Los Angeles. Adriana is looking forward to applying her varied background to make a positive difference to the very worthy cause of enriching our lives with cultural experiences.
SARINEH GARAPETIAN, Festival Production and Outreach
Sarineh Garapetian is a recent graduate from Syracuse University. She studied Acting, but found other passions along the way. During her studies Sarineh became a translator and volunteered for the Golden Apricot International Film Festival and Syracuse International Film Festival. Since moving to Los Angeles, she has been exploring local theaters and cinemas, but has immediately felt at home with AFFMA.
MICHAEL ALOYAN, Festival Programmer
Michael Aloyan was born in Hollywood, CA. Enthralled with films and storytelling, he started making animated films with his father’s Hi-8 camera at the age of eight, eventually shifting to live-action filmmaking. He has written and directed multiple short films, including “Subhuman (Untermensch)”, which won the Best Short Film award at last year’s Arpa Film Festival. Aloyan recently penned “String”, a pilot that Fox Television Studios is developing. He is also currently casting his screenplay, “Forget Me Not”, set to star Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), making his feature film directorial debut.
JAMES ANANIAS, Festival Theater Manager
James Ananias is a mechanic by trade but has worked at other film festivals for seven years. Once starting as a volunteer and working his way to his current position of theater manager. Though not having any direct involvement in the film industry, he has shown great diligence through the years in performing his duties for the festival’s production. Working with staff, volunteers, and patrons so everyone enjoys the festivities.