POM V was a triumphant celebration of Armenian cinema at the fifth anniversary of the Pomegranate Film Festival, held on October 22-23-24 in Toronto, Canada. 31 films from 12 different countries were presented including 5 North American premieres.
Acclaimed Canadian-Armenian director, Atom Egoyan kicked off the program with a sold-out screening of his film CHLOE at the historic Regent Theatre, accompanied with an exclusive Q & A on a wide range of issues with the audience. Serge Avedikian’s CHIENNE D’HISTOIRE (Barking Island) winner of the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, opened for the feature film, which was also paired with a special introduction by Egoyan, who served as President of the 2010 jury at Cannes.
Following Egoyan’s presentation, Venezuelan director Haik Gazarian and Columbian screenwriter/actress Valentina Rendon presented their epic feature film VENEZZIA, preceded by Toronto filmmaker Arev Manoukian’s introduction and screening of his short film NUIT BLANCHE, winner of best short film at this year’s AFFMA Film Festival in Los Angeles. A record 700 people attended the Festival’s Opening Night this year.
Saturday evening’s Gala Soiree was attended by nearly four hundred guests, who enjoyed the screening of French-Armenian director Robert Guediguian’s L’ARMEE DU CRIME, a historical drama of the French resistance during World War II led by the Armenian poet, Missak Manouchian (performed admirably by Simon Abkarian). Guests continued relishing their evening with music,cocktails and dinner throughout the night. L’ARMEE DU CRIME was one of 16 Canadian premieres showcased at the Festival.
The Festival wrapped up on Sunday evening with the North American premiere of the feature film ULTIMATE HEIST, starring Jean Reno and produced by Alain Terzian. This year’s closing film was preceeded by a father and son duo of short films involving SO FAR FROM HOME and LES SOFTIES, respectively directed by Prof. Lorne Shrinian and Emmanuel Shrinian.
POM V’s Festival Jury comprised of Montreal cinematographer Norary Kasper, executive director of the National Film Board of Canada Silva Basmajian, and Los Angeles based attorney and producer Zoe Kevork.
The jury announced the winners of the 2010 program. Best Feature Film was awarded to both Atom Egoyan’s CHLOE and Robert Guediguian’s L’ARMEE DU CRIME, with honorable mention given to Yerevan based director Arshak Amirbekyan for his film YEREK YEREKO and Haik Gazarian’s VENEZZIA. Best Documentary Film was awarded to THE LAST TIGHTROPE DANCER IN ARMENIA directed by Armen Yeritsyan and Inna Sahakyan of Bars Media, with honorable mention given to Shareen Anderson’s film CHARENTS and Sara Anjargolian’s film HOW WE LIVE. While Best Short Film was bestowed upon Serge Avedikian’s film CHIENNE D’HISTOIRE, with honorable mention given to Arev Manoukian for his film NUIT BLANCHE.
The Audience Choice Awards as voted upon by the Festival’s attendees were awarded to Shareen Anderson’s CHARENTS, a beautiful documentary on the life and legacy of the master poet, Yeghishe Charents. Second place went to Egoyan’s CHLOE starring Liam Neeson & Julianne Moore. A series of short films directed by young Armenian filmmakers titled SYMPHONY OF FILM was awarded third place.
As part of the festival’s objective to encourage the works of talented filmmakers from around the globe, this year’s POM V Organizing Committee was pleased to announce POM grants to Canadian director Jennifer Kassabian, whose short THE ONLY was part of the winning series titled SYMPHONY OF FILM; Toronto-based director Emmanuel Shirinian, whose short LES SOFTIES marks his third film presented at the Festival; and to director Arshak Amirbekyan, whose filmmaking talent was showcased at his personal screening of YEREK YEREKO.