Nominated and Distinguished Films in 2009

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM

Anjar: Flowers, Goats and Heroes Canada/Lebanon
Autumn of the Magician Armenia
Husher (Memories) Italy/Armenia/Syria
Return to Mexico City Mexico/USA
Whispering Memories with Talking Pictures Turkey

BEST SHORT FILM

Crescendo France
Danzak Peru/USA
Hove (The Wind) USA
One Day After the 10th Day (Yek rooz pas az dahomin rooz) Iran
The Tangent (La Tangente) France
When the Voices Fade USA

BEST FEATURE FILM, SCREENPLAY and DIRECTOR

Autumn (Sonbahar) Turkey
Chasing Tchaikovsky USA
Li Tong China
Venezzia Venezuela

BEST ANIMATION FILM

City of Noise Canada
Dress Story Armenia
Hundo USA

ARMIN T. WEGNER AWARD

Voices from Inside – Israelis Speak

Germany / Israel / USA / United Arab Emirates / Palestinian Territories

ARPA FOUNDATION AWARD

Armenian Educational Foundation, for Because Education Matters

USA/Armenia/Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

AT&T AWARD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AND STEWARDSHIP

Battle for Xingu

Brazil/USA

Distinguished Films 2009

Other 2009 highlights included “Anjar: Flowers, Goats and Heroes”, a film about the history of the people of Musa Dagh by Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Noura Kevorkian; “Autumn of the Magician”, an homage to legendary Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra and Armenia’s official selection in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 2010 Academy Awards; “Komitas Hairig”, which tells the story of the beloved Komitas Vardapet; “Husher”, a film which documents the testimony of Armenian Genocide survivors who settled in Italy; “Whispering Memories”, the story of a community of Armenians in Turkey who stayed behind during the Genocide and silently converted to Islam; the Olympia Dukakis vehicle “Hove”, a film about the powerful, unresolved legacy of the Genocide, directed by Alex Webb; actor-writer-director Shant Hamassian’s “Spaceman on Earth”, which debuted at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; Turkish filmmaker Ozcan Alper’s acclaimed “Sonbahar” (“Autumn”), the first feature length film ever to be shot in Homshetsma; “Chasing Tchaikovsky”, a laugh-out-loud comedy about marriage and moviemaking directed by Greg Lalazarian. Other films feature the work of such acclaimed figures as Sting, Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons (“Power of the Powerless”) and “24” star Kiefer Sutherland (“Return to Mexico City”, which also features interviews with President Barack Obama and Tom Brokaw).

Because Education Matters

The 12th Annual Arpa International Film Festival will present Armenian Educational Foundation (AEF) with its prestigious Arpa Foundation Award for the film, “Because Education Matters”. When AEF’s board commissioned the project, Christina Hacopian (“Gossip Girl,” “Bride Wars,” “Dirty Dancing”) took on the producing job as a passion project. Hacopian, a seasoned DVD and EPK producer credited with over 50 projects for top Hollywood studios, says “AEF is an amazing organization. It brings children access to education and focuses on the most crucial time in a child’s life, a time that comes with many deprivations in countless Armenian villages.” Hacopian continues, “My intent was to bring audiences an awareness of AEF’s history, its successes, and the incredible amount of work that still needs to be done. The goal was to open the public’s eyes and let the Diaspora know that there is a need for new and safe schools, and an overall need for assistance in the education of the youth in Armenia”. With this considerable mission in mind, Hacopian approached director Sevag Vrej whose credits include the award-winning feature film N-4, Serj Tankian’s MVPA-nominated “Feed Us” music video, and several MTV-style concert videos for such artists as Fergie and System of a Down. Together, they set forth to document the 60-year legacy of AEF. A mixture of original footage filmed in Armenia and footage from AEF’s archives were used to cinematically realize AEF’s educational endeavors in Armenia and America. “The most impressive parts of the film show the dilapidated schools – in breathtaking Armenian landscapes – transform into beautiful facilities that fully function and make a significant impact in the education and lives of Armenian children,” adds Hacopian.