Pic 1: Director Prince Bagdasarian and actor Ken Davitian during POM gala,at AYC, Toronto, NOV 17, 2018. Award Ceremony. Pic 2: Juror Kumru Bilici, actor Ido Samuel and director Valerie McCaffrey for film Dirty Bomb.
By: Dr. Roubina Yeghoyan
Nearly 180 Saturday school students attended the Pomegranate Film Festival on Saturday morning for a special series of short films titled ‘Armenia Now.’ The afternoon was followed by a segment titled ‘ARMENIANS IN TURKEY: THEN & NOW’, including Garo Berberian’s TANIEL, based on the life of beloved martyr Taniel Varoujan, and ‘A SYMPHONY OF FILM,’ dedicated to short films made by filmmakers of Armenian descent. Berberian, Tatevik Ayvazyan, Mary Apick, Vatchik Mangassarian, Valerie McCaffrey, actor Ido Samuel, Armen Poladian, Silvy Guekguezian, Taniel Kilajian and Daniel Tahmizian all attended their screenings, adding a wonderful interactive exchange between artists and attendees.
The memorable ‘SYMPHONY OF FILM’ also screened the winning student films of Daniel Tcherkezian, in association with Jacob Lin, and Anna Maria Moubayed for POM’s first ever POMyouth film initiative. A group of ARS Lapoyan high school students took part in an exclusive opportunity to learn about the art of filmmaking under the guidance of renowned filmmakers, producers and actors including executive producer Silva Basmajian, director Ara Sagherian and actor Kamee Abrahamian.
The POM Gala Soirée screened the innovative documentary, AMERICAN MIRROR, featuring New York-based artist Tigran Tsitoghdzyan and starring Academy-award winner Susan Sarandon. The talented Tsitoghdzyan attended the screening with Honey Shara from his production team and received the inaugural POM awards for Best Cinematography and Most Innovative Film for AMERICAN MIRROR.
The iconic Mary Apick received the festival’s prestigious Golden POM award for her outstanding contributions to film and humanitarian efforts. Her historical drama, PRICE FOR FREEDOM, was a celebration of courage in the face of oppression. The evening program also included a special presentation by this year’s jury member Bared Maronian and an unforgettable performance by the gifted musician Nuné Melik.
The Sunday program of the festival offered a diverse program starting with Dr. Robert Deranian’s TABU, a tragic love story between a pair of Armenian and Turkish college students. Mimi Malayan presented the world premiere of her documentary, THE STATELESS DIPLOMAT, based on the life of her great-grandmother, the incredible Diana Abcar, who served as Armenia’s unofficial ambassador in Japan following the Genocide. Her life mission was to work tirelessly to ensure the welfare of Armenian survivors. The funds raised from this screening were donated to the Armenian Relief Society’s Dr. Nadia Injeyan-Tatikian Bursary.
Moscow-based artist and filmmaker Tatiana Daniliyants screened her captivating documentary, 6 MUSICIANS & The CITY, revealing the unique and evolving spirit of Yerevan. Her film was presented alongside Canadian violinist Nuné Melik’s latest short films.
Price Bagdasarian was delighted to screen his suspense feature, DIVERTED EDEN, as part of the closing night films. Actor Ken Davitian, who stars in the action-packed film, also attended the screening and participated in a wonderful post-screening discussion.
The Italian comedy, HOTEL GAGARIN, was the Festival’s final film, paired alongside the shorts of Oksana Mirzoyan and Hayk Matevosyan. The film took the audience on a light-hearted adventure through Armenia. The final screening was followed by the presentation of the jury and Audience Choice awards.
The winners of the 2018 POM Festival Awards were:
-Best Feature: SPITAK by Alexander Kott and POM attendee/screenwriter Marina Gardash
-Honourable Mention: BLOODY MILK by Hubert Charuel and producer Alexis Dulguerian
-The Dr. Michael J. Hagopian Award for Best Documentary: MOTHER DERDO AND THE WALNUT TREE by Server Onal
-Honourable Mention: DIANA ABCAR: THE STATELESS DIPLOMAT by Mimi Malayan
-Best Short Documentary: 16 DISTRICT, 16 FLOORS, 16 PEOPLE by Tatevik Vardanyan and producer Garo Berberian
-Honourable Mention: POEM ABOUT A LONELY WOLF by Taron and Vrezh Petrosyan and DIRTY BOMB by Valerie McCaffrey
-Audience Choice: Best Feature: SPITAK by Alexander Kott
-Audience Choice Honourable Mention: HOTEL GAGARIN by Simone Spada
-Audience Choice for Best Doc: DIANA ABCAR: THE STATELESS DIPLOMAT by Mimi Malayan
-Honourable Mention: AZNAVOUR: AUTOBIOGRAPHIE by Marc Di Domenico
-POM Aril Award for Breakthrough Stars: Grigor Petrosyan for WHERE ARE WE GOING? Hayk Matevosyan for 3 MEN AND A DOG.