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[E] Movie "After Freedom"

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 PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 10:23 am    Post subject: [E] Movie "After Freedom" Reply with quote Back to top

Movie tells of Armenian family's experience
By Alex Dobuzinskis, Staff Writer

Los Angeles Daily News, CA
May 11 2004

GLENDALE -- Armenian-Americans are expected to respond to Glendale
resident Vahe Babaian's film "After Freedom," but the first-time
feature filmmaker believes his portrayal of the immigrant experience
could also appeal to a wider audience.

The film will open Friday at the Glendale Cinemas and Laemmle's Music
Hall in Beverly Hills. Over the past two years, the film has been
shown at the Method Fest Independent Film Festival, the Montreal
World Film Festival and the Avignon Film Festival.

"It's about people; everyone can relate to it," said Babaian, 43,
an Armenian-American who grew up in Iran.

"After Freedom" is about a young Armenian-American man, played by
Mic Tomasi, and his relationships with his father, his fiance and
his at-times reckless friends.

Tomasi's character, Michael Abcarian, feels obligated to his father,
who brought his family to the United States and struggles to make a
living in his new country.

Like the father in the film, Babaian's own father, who had worked
for British Airways before coming to the United States from Lebanon,
could not find comparable work in the United States and instead worked
for a carpet store and a fan company before he died in 1987.

Babaian's mother died when he was getting ready to shoot the film.
The relationship between father and son plays a prominent role in
the film, and that will be compelling for viewers, he said.

"A lot of questions are not answered when you lose your parents like
that early on," he said.

Both Babaian and Tomasi attended Herbert Hoover High School in

Glendale is briefly mentioned in the film as being where Tomasi's
character lives, but the film was shot throughout the Los Angeles area,
Babaian said.

The budget for the film, which was finished in 2002, was less than
$1 million.

Greg Laemmle, president of Laemmle Theatres, said his company has
had success showing films by or about Armenians in the past, and that
Armenian-Americans respond.

"While they don't come out for every picture, when they do they come
out in large numbers," he said.

Babaian has lived in Glendale since he came to the United States
at the age of 16 knowing only a few words of English. He learned
filmmaking at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and paid his
way by working full time at a supermarket.

In a future project, "Hotel Luxe," Babaian plans to convey his
experience in a hotel in war-torn Beirut, where his family stayed
while trying to arrange their immigration to the United States.

Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304 alex.dobuzinskis@dailynews.com

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