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Best Picture -Three Veils

The 14th Arpa International Film Festival wrapped on Saturday with a screening of FIVE MINARETS IN NEW YORK followed by a the awards ceremony. Taking top honors were THREE VEILS, MY UNCLE RAFAEL, THE LAST TIGHTROPE DANCER IN ARMENIA and BOLIS.

The Best Picture honor this year went to Rolla Selbak’s drama, THREE VEILS. BEST DIRECTOR and BEST SCREENPLAY kudos went to director Marc Fusco and writers Scott Yagemann and Vahik Pirhamzei for their comedy MY UNCLE RAFAEL.

Pirhamzei also received the festival’s 2011 Breakthrough Performance Award for his starring role in the film. Arman Yeritsyan and Inna Sahakyan’s THE LAST TIGHTROPE DANCER IN ARMENIA was given the award for Best Documentary with Eric Nazarian’s BOLIS winning BEST SHORT FILM.

List Of Winners:
Best Picture:
Three Veils (L.A. premiere)
USA
Director: Rolla Selbak
Producer: Ahmad Zahra
Writer: Rolla Selbek

Three Veils is a film about three young Middle-Eastern women living in the U.S., each with her own personal story. Leila is engaged to be married, however as the wedding night approaches, she becomes less and less sure of how her life is playing out. Amira is a very devout Muslim, but is dealing with her deep repressions about her intimate
feelings toward women. Nikki is acting out her promiscuity as she battles her own demons after a tragic death in the family. As the film progresses, all three stories unfold and blend into each other as connections are revealed between the three women.

Best Screenplay/Best Director:
My Uncle Rafael (North American premiere)
USA
Director: Marc Fusco
Producers: Michael Garrity, Vahik Pirhamzei
Writers: Scott Yagemann, Vahik Pirhamzei

A desperate TV producer convinces an old Armenian Uncle to star in a new reality show. Cultures collide when Uncle Rafael is thrown into the Schumacher family household where he has one week to save a broken and dysfunctional American family from falling apart. The only rule – everyone must follow his rules. Starring Vahik Pirhamzei, John
Michael Higgins, Missi Pyle, Anthony Clark, Rachel Blanchard, Joe Lo Truglio, Anahid Avanesian, Carly Chaikin, Sage Ryan, Ursula Taherian,
and Lupe Ontiveros.

Best Documentary:
The Last Tightrope Dancer In Armenia
Armenia
Directors: Arman Yeritsyan, Inna Sahakyan
Producer: Vardan Hovhannisyan
Writers: Arman Yeritsyan, Inna Sahakyan

Zhora and Knyaz were once the most celebrated masters of tightrope dancing in Armenia. Today, they are the only surviving performers who can keep this ancient art alive against the current of contemporary society, but all their students grow up and find other interests in life. Why is their art not important anymore?

Best Short Film
Bolis (World Premiere)
USA, Turkey
Director: Eric Nazarian
Writer: Eric Nazarian
Producers: Huseyin Karabey, Sevil Demirci.

Armenak is a successful oud player who is in Istanbul for the first time for an important musical event. His feelings toward the city, which his Armenian grandfather fled at the tip of the sword in 1915, are very complex. Armenak arrives full of prejudice, expecting to hate the place, but instead finds it very familiar. The decision comes naturally to him to search for his grandfather’s old musical instrument shop with only an old photo and a street name. Is it destiny or coincidence that leads him to his destination?

Special Awards
2011 Breakthrough Performance Award
Vahik Pirhamzei for My Uncle Rafael (USA)

AT&T Award for Environmental Conservation and Stewardship Marion Stoddart:

The Work of 1000 (WEST COAST PREMIERE)

Director: Susan Edwards – 2011 AT&T Award for Environmental Conservation and Stewardship Recipient
Producer: Dorie Clark
Writer: Susan Edwards

Marion Stoddart lived next to one of America’s most polluted rivers and transformed herself from a 1960s housewife to a citizen leader and environmental hero honored by the United Nations. The Work of 1000 is the documentary film chronicling her life, achievements, setbacks, and unwavering belief that one person can make a difference in the world.

Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award

Children of War (USA, Uganda)
Director: Bryan Single – 2011 Armin T. Wegner Award Recipient
Producers: Bryan Single, Farzad Karimi, Timothy Beckett
Associate Producers: Anahid Aramouni Keshishian, Shannon McBrien, Grant Inglett

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