pomegranate film festival toronto

5 films to watch at the 2012 Pomegranate Film Festival

The Pomegranate Film Festival is not, alas, a festival dedicated to extolling the virtues of that tempting fruit through film. However, it does promise a crop of films as lush, juicy and irresistible as the fruit it's named after.

Established in 2006 by the Toronto chapter of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, the Pomegranate Film Festival describes itself as a "unique community event celebrating Armenian-inspired film." This year's festival runs from October 18 - 21, and serves up a selection of succulent cinema (...I couldn't help it.)

The festival spotlights Armenian talent in film internationally, thus, this year's line-up also includes Disney Pixar's Brave, which was directed by Armenian director Katherine Sarafian, as well as internationally-known talent in Armenian films, such as the Jamie Kennedy-starring film, Lost and Found in Armenia.

With a mix of feature length movies and short films - and even a music video for System of A Down's "Occupied Tears", by Armenian frontman Serj Tankian - this festival has plenty to offer everyone. Here are my top 5 picks.

Lost and Found in Armenia (2012)
What's worse than a bad breakup? Going on vacation to forget about said breakup only to be accused of spying. This is the premise of Lost and Found in Armenia, a comedy about American tourist Bill (Jamie Kennedy), who heads to Turkey to forget about his recent heartache, only to wind up in all kinds of trouble in a small Armenian village where he is accused of being a Turkish spy. However, he also meets a beautiful Armenian girl (Angela Sarafyan) who helps him escape his misfortune. So I guess breakups aren't all bad, then, right? Right? (...crickets...) This festival marks the film's world premiere, and the screening is followed by a Q+A with star Jamie Kennedy.
Screens: Sunday, Oct 21, 9.15 pm, Hamazkayin Theatre

Azad (2012)
A joint Armenian-French production, Azad is the story of a young Armenian artist determined to tell his grandfather's story of surviving the Armenian genocide through a graphic novel. However, when Mina, a young Kurdish woman, moves into the house he shares with friends, he is forced to confront his beliefs and deeply rooted anger. Through their turbulent relationship, both individuals come to terms with deep revelations about their worldviews and themselves. "Azad" means freedom in both Armenian and Kurdish, and this is a core theme in what looks like a gripping, dramatic feature. This is the film's North American premiere and the screening is followed by a Q+A with director Nicolas Tackian and actress Alexandra Bienvenu, who plays Mina.
Screens: Sunday Oct 21, 7pm, Hamazkayin Theatre

The Seventh (2012)
A comedy of errors, this juicy short is a tale of romance in Paris...but not quite the one that was planned. Maria arrives in Paris from a small town in Italy, with a package for Emilio from his aunt. However, the wily matchmaking aunt has sent homemade cookies with Maria merely as a pretext for their meeting. But things go off the rails when Maria arrives at the wrong restaurant for her rendezvous...and meets Silvio instead.
Screens: Sunday, Oct 21, 5.15 pm, Hamazkayin Theatre

Hellvetica (2012)
This short is one of the first films kicking off the festival on Thursday, Oct 18, and it promises to be a real hellraiser. One of Canada's contributions to the festival, Hellvetica is a comedy about a struggling writer who is tasked with writing a tale of terror. When the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur, however, things start to get interesting in this disturbingly funny short. Hellvetica was recently selected for MontrĂŠal ComicCon and the LA Short Film Festival, and the director will be present following this screening.
Screens: Thursday, October 18, 9pm, Hamazkayin Theatre

A Monster in Paris (2012)
Oh, Paris. You can't seem to get enough of monsters falling for beautiful women, can you? A Monster in Paris is a 3D animated film set in Paris in 1910 - the Golden Age of lurrrrv - and centres on a monster who lives in a garden, and his love for a beautiful young singer named Lucille. I guess all the bell towers were taken.
Screens: Saturday, Oct 20, 11am, Hamazkayin Theatre

Writing by Gesilayefa Azorbo. Film still from Lost and Found in Armenia

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