Vanessa Kachadurian-Armenia honors AFFMA

On Thursday, December 8, 2011, film industry members gathered at the new Los Angeles office of the Consul General of Armenia, Mr. Grigor Hovhannissian. In a surprise award ceremony, Consul General Hovhannissian awarded Mrs. Sylvia Minassian, founder of Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) with a Medal of Honor from Armenia’s Ministry of Culture. The award is Armenia’s highest cultural award, and was bestowed to Mrs. Minassian on the 15th anniversary of Arpa International Film Festival, AFFMA’s signature event.

In 1995, with the help of other civic minded Armenians, Minassian founded AFFMA to enhance the artistic climate of Los Angeles and bridge the cultural divide, unifying diverse people and cultures through the arts. Arpa International Film Festival was created two years later. AFFMA has staged several dozen events to promote emerging Armenian talents, most significantly, the film festival.

Since 1997, the festival has honored over 100 artists and filmmakers with grants and awards. (See partial list below).

Sylvia Minassian was born in Istanbul, Turkey and came to the US in 1960. She attended Fresno State College and obtained her teaching degree at UCLA. Minassian then embarked on a career in education, teaching French language studies at Carlsbad High School in Southern California. Other professional highlights include being the first female representative ever hired by Gillette Co.

In 1975, she married Dr. Haig Minassian and had 3 children – Levon, Lori, and Melissa.  During her professional career and while raising three children, she volunteered for over 25 years for AGBU, Alex Pilibos, and other organizations, schools and medical societies. Now a grandmother of three, Mrs. Minassian continues her philanthropic work through AFFMA, a non-profit 501 (3) (c) organization.

Before making the announcement of the award and in an effort to surprise Mrs. Minassian, Consul General Hovhannissian, Arpa Film Festival director Alex Kalognomos, award-winning filmmaker Eric Naziarian, and actor Ken Davitian spoke of Mrs. Minassian’s unending devotion to the arts and the development of artists. Moved to tears by the Medal of Honor recognition, Mrs. Minassian accepted the Medal of Honor and spoke of her vision to see Armenian artists produce great works of cinematic art that would be appreciated by a global audience.

The evening was attended by Minassian’s immidiate family as well as Mrs. Victoria Hovhannissian; actors Anne Bedian, Marco Kahn, Ken Davitian, and Vache Mangassarian; artist and actor Vahe Berberian with wife, art decorator, Betty Berberian; filmmakers Sevak Vrej, Carla Garapedian, Haik Ghazarian and Eric Nazarian; Toni Hagopian, wife of legendary filmmaker Michael J. Hagopian; producers Maral Jerejian and Valerie McCaffrey. Members of the press included Appo Jabarian (publisher USA Armenian Life Magazine), Ani Tadevosian (Horizon) , Azzie Mekhtarian (Yerevan Magazine), and Harut Sassounian. AFFMA board and committee members in attendance included Armen Toumajan, Maral Kazazian, Dr. Zaven Khachaturian, Sonia Keshishian, Aida Navasargian, Maro Khodaveerdi, Alex Kalognomos, Jacqueline Der-Mesropian, Eileen Keusseyan, Talia Tanielian, Don Hannah, and Troy and Chris Minassian.

2012 marks the 15th anniversary of Arpa International Film Festival which will be held in September at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

AFFMA and Arpa Film Festival grant and award recipients (partial list since 1995)

Eric Agopian             (France)    FILM

Joseph Siraki            (USA)       WRITING

Open Letter               (USA)       WRITING (Literary Group)

Tina Bastajian           (Canada)   FILM

Armen Chakmakian   (USA)        MUSIC

Oshin Saginian           (USA)       ART

Hamlet Sarkissian      (USA)       FILM

Michael Tolajian          (USA)       FILM

John Altoon                (USA)      ART

Nora Armani               (France)  FILM

Robert Davidian           (USA)      FILM

Ara Ebrahimian           (USA)      FILM

Levon Ichkanian          (Canada) MUSIC

Sam Kodjoglanian      (USA)      MUSIC

Levon Minassian       (France)  FILM

Zadik Zadikian          (USA)      ART

Georges Adourian    (USA)     FILM

Kevork Andonyan     (USA)     MUSIC

Patrick Antonyan & Baruir Panossian      (USA)    MUSIC

Vahe Berberian        (USA)     WRITING

Viken Berberian       (USA)     WRITING

Abelina Galustian     (USA)    ART

Eric Hachikian          (USA)     MUSIC

Annette Gurdjian       (USA)     ART

Armineh Johaness   (France) ART

Meher Kouroyan       (USA)     FILM

Jay Krikorian             (USA)     FILM

Ara Oshagian            (USA)    ART

Vem Zadikian           (USA)     Writing

Armen Donelian       (USA)     MUSIC

Karina Epperlian      (USA)     FILM

Linda Ganjian           (USA)     ART

Vahe Hayrapetyan   (Armenia)  MUSIC

Emy Hovanesyan     (USA)    FILM

Aram Kouyoumdjian (USA)   WRITING

Eric Nazarian           (USA)    FILM

Levon Parian            (USA)    ART

Asbed Pogarian      (USA)    FILM

Susanna Tchoubarian (USA) MUSIC

Araz Artinian           (Canada) FILM

Christopher Atamian (USA)   WRITING

Vasken Brutyan     (USA)       ART

Manuella Guiragossian  (USA) FILM

Greg Kojar             (USA)        MUSIC

Ara Madzounian    (USA)        WRITING

Tigran Martikyan    (USA)       MUSIC

Mariam Matossian (Canada) MUSIC

Elsie Mehagian      (USA)      WRITING

Lara Minassian      (USA)      ART

Dan Teager            (USA)      MUSIC

Ani Maldjian           (USA)       MUSIC

Ashot Shiroian       (USA)       MUSIC

Garine Torossian  (Canada)  FILM

Arno Yeretzian       (USA)       FILM

Martin Yearnazian (USA)  FILM

Lori Bedikian (USA)   WRITING



About kachadurianlit1

medical executive and promoter of movie documentaries with a purpose. involved with charities for over 20 years and arts in the schools.
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