‘Aram, Aram’ is slated to premiere Sunday at Los Angeles Film Festival.
Filmmaker Christopher Chambers grew up alongside the Armenian community in Los Angeles, but it wasn’t until he met an Armenian working on the set of a horror film more than 10 years ago that he learned about that nation’s history and culture.
The friendship sparked his curiosity, leading him to write and direct a film about a 12-year-old Armenian boy sent to live with his grandfather in Little Armenia in Los Angeles from his native Beirut after a family tragedy.
Premiering on Sunday, “Aram, Aram” is the first Armenian-themed story selected to screen at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Chambers said.
Chambers wrote the first draft of the script about five years ago and spent the last year revising it and shooting the film, drawing on interviews with about 150 area Armenians — some of whom owned shoe stores like the grandfather in the film, played by Glendale resident and actor Levon Sharafyan. They all had something to add to the story.
“I wanted to do justice to the people in the Armenian community who shared their stories with me,” Chambers said.
What helped John Roohinian, the 14-year-old who plays Aram, was putting himself in the shoes of the title character, who in the film struggles to choose between right and wrong as he settles into his new identity in America.
“I just can’t wait to see the reaction,” Roohinian said, adding that during an early screening, the film “brought tears to everyone in the room.”
For more information, visit www.lafilmfest.com.