U.S. Embassy’s American Film Showcase will inspire, empower, and encourage

DoS Seal

After receiving standing-room only crowds last year, the U.S. Embassy is proud to bring back the American Film Showcase 2018. This year the film festival’s theme is “Inspire, Empower, and Encourage,” and it features a number of documentaries to showcase the power of individuals to change the world.

“Films have an amazing power to open our eyes to the stories of other people,” U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr., said. “And through the stories in these documentaries, I think the Armenian audiences will be transported to the U.S. They will better understand American culture, but I think more important, they will see stories that will showcase the universal power of individuals, stories which inspire, empower, and encourage us to better ourselves, our communities, and our societies.”

Free film screenings

Thirteen documentary films will be screened during the American Film Showcase 2018 “Inspire, Empower, Encourage.” The showcase opens on at 19:00 on April 27 at the Moscow Cinema with a screening of our feature film “The Music of Strangers,” which tells the story of how famed American cellist Yo Yo Ma pulled together musicians from multiple countries and musical styles to form the Silk Road Ensemble, a bold musical experiment. The ensemble’s members are using music to explore the ties that bind humanity together.

Joining us for the opening of “The Music of Strangers” will be Jason Zeldes, who edited the film. Zeldes is a documentary film editor and director, best known for editing the 2013 Academy Award-winning film, “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” for which he earned an ACE Award for Best Edited Documentary Feature. Along with opening the American Film Showcase, he will present a public lecture on filmmaking while in Armenia.

The American Film Showcase’s free film screenings will continue at the Moscow Theater daily from April 28 to May 3, at 17:00 and 19:00 each day. The films include: “Mele Murals,” “Floyd Norman: An Animated Life,” “Swim Team,” “The Ataxian,” “The Big Flip,” “The If Project,” “Happening,” “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman,” “The Empowerment Project,” “Supergirl,” “High School 911,” and “Beyond Measure.” You can find the detailed schedule on our website: https://www.usa.am/announce/afsschedule.pdf (PDF 311KB)

“These documentaries tell powerful stories — about individuals campaigning for cleaner environment, school kids working to save lives in their rural community, efforts to rehabilitate female inmates. They show the good, the bad, and the hopeful about American society,” Ambassador Mills said. “So I think the Armenians who join us to watch these films will leave with a deeper and well-rounded understanding of American life and the American challenges.”

Visual effects master class

The American Film Showcase 2018 “Inspire, Empower, Encourage” is more than free film screenings. It will feature a master class in cutting edge visual film effects led by award-winning American visual effects supervisor Dariush Derakhshani.

Based in Los Angeles, CA, Derakhshani is a visual effects and computer generated graphics supervisor. He has worked on a number of feature films such as “Apocalypto,” “RED,” and “Fantastic Four.” His work has also appeared in countless commercials and the hit TV show “South Park.” He is also a respected instructor, currently adjunct faculty at the University of Southern California’s film school. He has authored several best-selling books, many focused on Maya computer animation software platform.

“We want to encourage Armenian filmmakers to tell Armenian stories, both to the domestic audience but also to viewers abroad. That is why we bring top American talent to share best practices and exchange ideas and inspiration with some of Armenia’s next generation of filmmakers,” Ambassador Mills said.

About a dozen of Armenia’s top young filmmakers were selected to take part in the hands-on masterclass. Derakhshani will also be giving a free public lecture focused on the magic of moviemaking. These are open to the public with no registration necessary.