Arpa Film Festival Partners with CSUN to Screen Student Films

The Arpa International Film Festival is partnering with California State University, Northridge to screen a sample of student films produced at the university, as well as other short films from around the world.

On the set of the  student film “¡Corre!” directed by CSUN students Robert Havonisian and Elmer Zelaya. Photo by Germano Kuerten.

On the set of the student film “¡Corre!” directed by Robert Havonisian and Elmer Zelaya. Photo by Germano Kuerten.

All the films are “Official Selections” of the festival and provide an opportunity for university and Arpa officials to cultivate and promote young, talented filmmakers.

“I am excited by this opportunity for our students’ films to be displayed in a program that also features other top-quality shots from around the world,” said Jon Stahl, chair of CSUN’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts. “I have no doubt that our students’ work will shine, and this is, therefore, a win-win-win. Our partnership with Arpa allows them to expand their brand to a new audience — our campus community — our student filmmakers have the chance to participate in a top-flight, international festival, and our campus community gets to see some brilliant, inventive filmmaking.”

The screening will take place on Monday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Alan and Elaine Armer Theater in Manzanita Hall near the southwest corner of the CSUN campus, located at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

For the past 18 years, the Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) has hosted the Arpa International Film Festival at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre to cultivate cultural understanding and global empathy. The film festival organizers take pride in working toward recognizing the diverse tapestry of international talent and presenting it to an appreciative audience. For more information about the festival, visit its website,

A scene from “When a Flame Stands Still,” directed by Michael Canon.

A scene from “When a Flame Stands Still,” directed by Michael Canon.

Hailed by Variety as one of the top 30 film programs in the nation, California State University, Northridge’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts, housed in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication, has an international reputation for producing dedicated and talented entertainment industry professionals who recognize the value of hard work as they learn and continue to perfect their crafts. The department’s alumni work in all aspects of entertainment media, from writing, producing and directing to manning cameras and having the final say in what project is made.

The following films have been selected to be shown as part of the festival’s offerings:

  • “¡Corre!” (CSUN, 2015), directed by Robert Hovanisian and Elmer Zelaya; written by Hovanisian, Zalaya and Mia Mallory; and produced by Itai Forman and Kyle Frey. Told in Spanish and English, film is the story of Daniel, a member of a Los Angeles-based human-trafficking ring who recognizes an 18-year-old captive. Daniel decides to save her, risking everything to redeem all that’s left of his broken spirit.
  • “Hazel & Louis: Animal Agents” (USA, 2014), produced, written and directed by Sy Ozcan and Marissa Madsen. Hazel and Louis Flickman are two New York transplants who live the hustling, bustling life of Hollywood agents … for animals. They were at the top of their game in the 1970s, and with a little chutzpah manage to keep going strong after all these years.
  • “High Stakes” (CSUN, 2014), written and directed by Sydney Waco and produced by Christopher DePretis and Nicholas Cane. “High Stakes” is a 1950s-period piece about a timid movie theater owner, Carl Morris, who faces a dilemma when his brother, Norm, asks him to screen his latest work. Norm is a blacklisted filmmaker caught in the McCarthy-era Hollywood witch hunts. Carl must decide whether to show his brother’s film to take a stand against McCarthyism, even if it means compromising the safe life he and his wife worked so hard to build.
  • “Pareto Principle” (CSUN, 2012), written and directed by Beneyam Wolde-Yohannes and produced by Wolde-Yohannes, Edward Vasquez and Jaime Hutchins. Two friends discover a mysterious duffle bag filled with money that will challenge their friendship and change the courses of their lives forever.
  • “Straw Dolls” (USA, 2015), written and directed by Jon Milano and produced by Milano and Justin Alpern. Told in Armenian, “Straw Dolls” offers a look at the Armenian genocide through the lens of a father desperately trying to protect his daughter from the deportation being forced upon them by Turkish soldiers. The film tells the story of how a father and daughter sacrifice their own well-being for a mother and her young daughter.
  • “The Loyalist” (South Korea, 2015), directed by Minji Kang, written by Willem Lee and produced by Alex R. Ma. A North Korean general checks in on his daughter at a Swiss boarding school to test her loyalty to her motherland.
  • “When a Flame Stands Still” (CSUN, 2015), written and directed by Michael Canon and produced by Randy Kulina, Zack Meyer and Cynthia Manzo. In the midst of the Holocaust, a young couple hides in two claustrophobic bunkers that are separated by one wall. Unable to see, hear or touch one another, they reminisce about their love story, from when they first met to the time they are separated.
  • “While They Were Flying to the Moon” (Serbia, 2015), written, directed and produced by Borisa Simovic. Set in Belgrade, Serbia in 1969 on the day of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Tozi sits alone in a bar when suddenly Vera walks in and sits a few tables away. During a time when neighbors are encouraged to spy on one another, the work colleagues are reluctant to speak to each other. But this day, in the heat of the moment, Tozi decides to approach Vera.

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