Arpa International Film Festival Announces 2016 Awards Nominees

The Official 2016 award nominees for the 19th Annual Arpa International Film Festival (AIFF) have been selected. Let the anxious anticipation begin as filmmakers, directors and screenplay writers for nine feature films vie for best film, best director and best screenplay; and eight best documentary films, 14 short films, and four animated shorts will all await the winning award announcement at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

For the filmmaker having their film screened is a major accomplishment in itself, and The joy of discovering that their film is nominated elevates their excitement. Among this years’ 2016 AIFF nominees, one film is a world premiere, 12 films are USA premieres and three additional films are Los Angeles premieres. Michael Ashjian, AIFF Executive Director, conveyed, “Our nominees this year represent some of the best of what independent filmmaking has to offer from around the world. The strength of the festival is often measured by the number of premiere films they have in their program, and we’re proud to be hosting many first time screenings. Every year, the quality of our films increase and the topics they address are always so profound.”

AIFF awards span six categories: Best Feature Film, Best Documentary Film, Best Short Film, Best Animated Short Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.

Opening night, November 3, is the World Premiere of Bravo, Virtuoso! a dramatic film that is up for Best Feature, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Produced by acclaimed French-Armenian director-producer-writer Robert Guédiguian and Armenian director Lévon Minasian, Bravo Virtuoso! takes you in to post-Soviet Armenia where cultural institutions are failing and oligarchs are allied with the mafia which holds the power. Told though the life of a virtuoso clarinetist Alik, who wants to save his orchestra, is thrown into the depths of love and grapples with the twisted fate of being intwined with the mafia.

Friday night’s U.S. premiere of Hot Country, Cold Winter is a triple threat with it Best Feature, Best Director and Best Screenplay nominations. The film warms your heart submerging you into the depths of how people grapple with their arduous lifestyle. Director-producer, David Safarian has his characters “dealing with the absurdity of hard times.” The film, produced by Studio DS (Safarian’s company he founded with two others in 2002), tells a tale of a man and a woman suffering the circumstances of a total energy crisis. Their recollections, short narratives, imagination act as aids in understanding of the story, and in understanding that core human values are shared throughout the world.

Another 2016 AIFF triple nominee is Saturday’s centerpiece feature film and U.S. premiere Somewhere Beautiful, directed by Albert Kodogolian, featuring Argentinian stars Maria Alche (The Holy Girl) and Pablo Cedron (The Aura, Aballay), and renowned French film actor Dominique Pinon (Amelie, Delicatessen). This film puts you in the middle of two emotionally charged love triangles as they collide in scenic California and amid breathtaking views in Patagonia. Inspired by Atom Egoyan’s seminal film Calendar, Somewhere Beautiful explores the space between the twilight of one connection and the dawn of another.

On Sunday at noon, K2 and The Invisible Footmen starts the day. Director-producer Iara Lee shows the lives of indigenous porters of Gilgit/Baltistan in Pakistan, the unacknowledged heroes of mountaineering, who make the ascent of K2 possible. This AIFF Best Documentary Film nominee shows the courage and sacrifices the porters make and how it affects their families.

Sunday night, the final film and a Best Short Film nominee, Born With It, will be the prelude to the much anticipated Awards Ceremony. Director-writer-producer Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. created a beautiful dramatic short with a Japanese-Ghanaian boy, bullied for his skin color, sets out to confront the prejudice at his school.

The 2016 AIFF category awards nominees are:

BEST FEATURE FILMarpaiff_2016_best_feature_film_nominee

Bravo, Virtuoso! (2016) | 92 min. | France, Armenia | Director: Levon Minasian

Good Morning (2016) | 104 min. | Armenia | Director: Anna Arevshatyan

Hot Country, Cold Winter (2016) | 104 min. | Armenia | Director: David Safarian

Lost in Armenia (2016) | 90 min. | France | Director: Serge Avedikian

Somewhere Beautiful (2014) | 84 min.| USA, Argentina | Director: Albert Kodagolian

The Weather Inside (2015) | 100 min. | Germany | Director: Isabelle Stever

Train Driver’s Diary (2016) | 88 min. | Serbia | Director: Milos Radovic

We Will Be the World Champions (2015) | 127 min. | Serbia | Director: Darko Bajic

Welkome Home (2014) | 115 min. | Russia | Director: Angelina Nikonova

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILMarpaiff_2016_best_documentary_film_nominee

Albert’s Way (2015) | Serbia | 59 min. | Director: Predrag Bambic

Crows of The Desert (2016) | USA | 54 min. | Director: Marta Houske

K2 and The Invisible Footmen (2015) | Pakistan, USA, | 54 min. | Director: Lara Lee

Killing Ed (2016) | USA | 94 min. | Director: Mark Hall

Out of Fashion (2015) | Estonia | 58 min. | Director: Lenard Laberenz

Resident Forever (2015) | Armenia, France, South Korea | 91 min. | Director: Lyang Kim

Russia as Phantasma (2016) | Russia | 71 min. | Director: Andrey Silvestrov, Daniil Zinchenko, and many others

The Other Side of Home (2015) | USA | 41 min. | Director: Naré Mkrtchyan

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILMarpaiff_2016_best_animated_short_film_nominee

Anna (2015) | France | Director: Alexia Rubod, and many others

Daewit (Däwit) (2015) | Germany | Director: David Jansen

Junk Girl (2014) | Iran | Director: Mohammad Zare

Lazy Huri (2014) | Armenia | Director: Artur Mikayelyan


3000 (2015) | Australia, Greece | Director: Antonis Tsonis


Balcony (2015) | United Kingdom | Director: Toby Fell-Holden

Bluey (2015) | Australia | Director: Darlene Johnson

Born With It (2015) | Japan | Director: Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour

Cain’s Shadow (2016) | Italy | Director: Antonio De Palo

Caps (2016) | USA | Director: Lola Ridgell

Hard Pack (2016) | USA | Director: Emmanuelle Pickett

Home (2016) | Kosovo, United Kingdom | Director: Daniel Mulloy

Millennium: Eternal Sunrise (2015) | USA | Director: Vlad Aksenov

Touch (2015) | USA | Director: Lulu Wang

Tranquility of Blood (2015) | Finland | Director: Senad Sahmanovic

Two Sisters (2015) | USA, South Korea | Director: Keola Racela

Zaar (2016) | USA | Director: Ibrahim Nada

BEST DIRECTORarpaiff_2016_best_director_nominee

Levon Minasian | Bravo, Virtuoso!

Anna Arevshatyan | Good Morning

David Safarian | Hot Country, Cold Winter

Serge Avedikian |  Lost in Armenia

Albert Kodagolian | Somewhere Beautiful

Isabelle Stever | The Weather Inside

Milos Radovic | Train Driver’s Diary

Darko Bajic | We Will Be the World Champions

Angelina Nikonova | Welkome Home

BEST SCREENPLAYarpaiff_2016_best_screenplay_nominee

Levon Minasian | Bravo, Virtuoso!

Sevada Grigoryan | Good Morning

David Safarian, Yana Druz | Hot Country, Cold Winter

Serge Avedikian, Jean-Francoise Derec |  Lost in Armenia

Matthew Bedard, Jimmy Kelly, Albert Kodagolian | Somewhere Beautiful

Isabelle Stever | The Weather Inside

Milos Radovic | Train Driver’s Diary

Nebojsa Romcevic, Ognjen Svilicic | We Will Be the World Champions

Angelina Nikonova, Olga Dihovichnaya | Welkome Home


Sharon Swainson, Communications Written by Sharon Swainson
Communications &  Development Director
2016 Arpa International Film Festival