Three Cheers for POM! Weeknight Review at the Hamazkayin Film Fest

By: Dr. Roubina Yeghoyan

Hamazkayin’s Pomegranate Film Festival opened on Wednesday, November 14th with a special tribute night organized for Charles Aznavour. The first screening was the English world premiere of Aznavour: Autobiographie, directed by the legendary singer’s long-time friend Marc Di Domenico. The screening was sponsored by Dr. Karen Kassabian Family and Cosmetic Dentistry and started with introductory remarks by Lorig Garboushian, president of Hamazkayin Klatsor. A live performance by members of the Hamazkayin Kousan Choir sang Aznavour’s touching, “Pour Toi Armenie.”

On Thursday, November 15th, POM screened the historical drama, Price for Freedom, at Fairview Mall. Producer Mary Apick, actors Ken Davitian and Vachik Mangassarian, and casting director Valerie McCaffrey, participated in an eye-opening discussion with reporter Arda Zakarian following the screening.

The highly anticipated feature, Spitak, was screened with exclusive remarks by the film’s screenwriter from Moscow, Marina Gardash.

Friday, November 16th was full of inspiring matinee films. The morning segment, brought by Andre Kutyan from Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., kicked off with Waheed Sohbi’s We are Egyptian Armenians and the historical bio-drama, To My Father by Diana Skaya who attended the screening. Festival attendees enjoyed a traditional foul breakfast, offered by Lara’s Restaurant, following the screening and closing remarks by Sona Minakian from Los Angeles, who was thrilled to be the film’s representative at the film’s Toronto premiere.

Victoria Harwood Butler-Sloss presented her film, A Flock of Birds, based on her book, The Seamstress of Ourfa, as part of the series ‘The Old Country,’ sponsored by Sarkis Yacoubian. A series of short films were later screened as part of the ‘Tales from the Diaspora’ segment, sponsored by Whitephoto Digital Photography. Screenwriter Barbara Erysian introduced her film, Who will Remember.

Armen Karoaghlanian, founder of the Armenian Film Society, introduced the feature, Breathe, the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, presented by Lara’s Restaurant. The evening features screened at the Regent Theatre. The eye-opening documentary, Netizens, sponsored by Yamchops-Plant-based Butcher and Market, was followed by a panel discussion chaired by executive producer and jury Silva Basmajian, community leader Ani Hotoyan-Joly, lawyer Angela Chaisson and activist/artist Kamee Abrahamian.

Devry Smith Frank LLP sponsored Bloody Milk, the award-winning feature by producer Alexis Dulguerian, which was paired with Toronto native Kalen Artinian’s short,

Destruction Makes the World Burn Brighter. Artinian attended his sixth screening at POM.

POM will continue to double the fun with its Saturday (including a gala screening) and Sunday program.