03 September 2013, 20:44
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Arpa Film Festival set for September 26-29

Arpa Foundation for Film, Music, & Art (AFFMA) is pleased to announce the 16th anniversary of its signature event, Arpa International Film Festival, which will be held from September 26 - 29 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. This year’s program of 60 films draws from an all-time high of 30 countries, showcasing a truly global range of artistic vision and thematic concerns.  Tickets will be available from September 5th through 29th at www.affma.org and www.itsmyseat.com/affma.

Arpa International Film Festival is a unique forum for international cinema in Los Angeles. With a mission to cultivate cultural understanding and global empathy, the festival focuses on the work of filmmakers who explore current hot button issues, exile and multi-culturalism. 

The 2013 line-up includes a documentary program of 11 feature-length films and six shorts; a narrative program of seven feature films, and 24 shorts; and12 music videos. 

According to Alex Kalognomos, Arpa’s director and programmer, “Documentaries always play an important part in opening new vistas for our audience, but this year’s submissions offered such compelling breadth of perspectives we felt this section deserved special emphasis.”

Notable documentaries include “FrackNation” which follows journalist Phelim McAleer’s perilous quest to find the truth about fracking and Rupa Kanade’s “An Eternal Journey” based on Kumbhamela - a festival that started 4000 years ago and portrays the amalgamation of spiritually inclined people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Among the recognizable names at Arpa this year, Academy Award®-nominee Ethan Hawke narrates the documentary “Welcome Nowhere”; actress Camilla Belle (“From Prada to Nada”) stars in the narrative short “Zero Hour”; Grammy®-winner Desmond Child, who has written hit songs for a who’s who of acts from Kiss, Bon Jovi and Aerosmith to Michael Bolton, Kelly Clarkson and Joss Stone, is the subject of  “TWO: The Story of Roman and Nyro”; and euthanasia activist Dr. Jack Kevorkian is featured in the documentary “Orphans of the Genocide.” 


The Opening Night Film, on Thursday, September 26 will be the North American premiere of “My Name is Viola” (Armenia, 2013). Featuring two luminous female leads, Lusine Alexanian in the title role and Janet Spitzer as her hero/nemesis, the film tells the story of the emotional journey of a young woman longing for freedom.  Rich in visual imagery, the film is a unique, often dream-like take on sexuality, relationships and class. “My Name is Viola” is written and directed by Ruben Kochar, a risk-taking artist whose thirty-year career spanning the pre- and post-Soviet eras has brought him renown in his native Armenia and the Russian film industry, along with an impressive list of international awards.

The program includes two Centerpiece Films. On Friday September 27, the feature is “Abstraction,” (USA, 2013) by Los-Angeles indie-director Prince Bagdasarian, an established producer who here makes his feature directorial debut. The intense crime drama stars Korrina Rico (In Time), Ken Davitian (The Artist, Borat), Natalie Victoria (Deadheads), and Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight). On Saturday, September 28 it is the multiple-perspective urban crime drama“  The Power of Few”(USA, 2013) by writer/director Leone Marucci and starring Christopher Walken, Christian Slater, Anthony Anderson, Juvenile and executive produced by Roy Kurtluyan. Sunday’s Closing Night film will be “Masque”, directed by Robert Hatch and starring Lauren Holly and Wilford Brimley.

Arpa head and founder, Sylvia Minassian comments, “We have hosted many notable premiers of films that have gone on to enjoy commercial success. Currently the Jamie Kennedy comedy, “Lost and Found In Armenia”, which had its sold out US Premier at Arpa last year, is enjoying consecutive sold out screenings nationwide. “We are certain there are many success stories within this year’s program as well."

This year’s online box office is at www.affma.org and www.itsmyseat.com/affma. The ALL-ACCESS Pass for all 4 days of screenings and special events, valued at over $250, is $95. Individual general screenings are $13 online and $15 at the door. Opening and Closing Night is $45. Centerpiece films are $25. The full schedule and general screening tickets will be available September 5. For ALL ACCESS Pass, on sale now, click here:www.itsmyseat.com/affma

Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) is a non-profit 501 (3) (c) organization founded for the purpose of enhancing Los Angeles’s creative environment and supporting those artists who bridge the cultural divide. Each year, AFFMA stages networking events, concerts, art exhibits, fashion shows, book signings, and various benefits to promote emerging talents. Most significantly, AFFMA produces Arpa International Film Festival to unify diverse people and cultures through the unique power of cinema. Since 1997, the Festival has honored over 100 artists, filmmakers, and writers with grants and awards. Visit www.affma.org for more information.



An Eternal Journey 

Documentary Short 2013       Director: Rupa Kanade                                   India   

This film is about the journey of the ancient River Ganga that emerges from the Himalayas. Millions of people gather on the banks of this river to purify their sins. The documentary is shot at the confluence of three rivers - Ganga, Yamuna & Saraswati. The film is based on Kumbhamela - a festival that started 4,000 years ago & still continues to attract people from across the world. The film portrays the amalgamation of spiritually inclined people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Figure of Armen (Figure d’armen)

Documentary  2012    Director: Marlene Edoyan                              Canada, Armenia       

The horrific earthquake in 1988. A devastating war with Azerbaijan. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It goes without saying that Armenia has been subjected to countless social, natural and geopolitical upheavals. Major though they may have been, these tragedies have not stopped Armenians from taking pride in their long, rich history, nor from believing, despite occasional doubts, in the possibility of a renaissance in their country. The filmmaker returns to her native land and as she travels through towns and villages, her portraits of individual Armenians become a group portrait woven from stories and poems. It all comes together as a pointed, in-depth exploration of questions of heritage, identity and exodus.


Documentary  2013    Director: Phelim McAleer                   Poland, USA, United Kingdom          

FrackNation follows journalist Phelim McAleer as he faces gun threats, malicious 911 calls and bogus lawsuits when questioning green extremists for the truth about fracking. Fracking is going to make America one of the world's leading energy producers and has become the target of a concerted campaign by environmentalists who want it banned. In FrackNation McAleer travels across the USA and Europe to uncover the science suppressed by environmental activists and ignored by much of the media. He talks with scientists and ordinary Americans who live in fracking areas and who tell him the truth behind the exaggerations and misrepresentations of anti-fracking activists.

Generation Red Nation                   

Documentary  2013    Director: Olga Valanos                                   USA   

Historically, reckless government policies nearly destroyed American Indians. Get a brutally honest view of Indian reservation life, leaving "the Rez", and in the city. With unemployment at 89%, two thirds of the population substance abusers, the shortest lifespans in the nation, teen suicide, and substandard education, how can they survive?

Heal America

Documentary  2013    Director: Yervand Kochar                               USA   

Legendary homeless activist Ted Hayes embarks on a journey to heal America. He is accompanied by Alec, a cynical writer, disillusioned with the American dream.

Indelible Lalita          

Documentary  2012    Director: Julie Mallozzi                                    USA, Canada,France,India   

Indelible Lalita tells the story of a beautiful woman whose resilient spirit survives her body's transformation by cancer, heart failure, and a dramatic loss of skin pigment. Meditatively flowing between surface and interior, the film follows Lalita as she migrates from Bombay to Paris to Montreal, and becomes completely White along the way.  Lalita learns to let go of her body as the sign of her ethnicity and femininity--and ultimately realizes that her body is just a temporary vessel for her spirit.

Lady Urmia   

Documentary Short    2012    Director: Mohammad Ehsani                         Iran     

The film is a poetic documentary about Lake Urmia, in the Northwest of Iran, which is drying up completely. The environmental catastrophe will affect also neighboring countries such as Iraq and Turkey. The film is narrated in the voice of the Lake itself,  crying for help and trying to gain international attention to its suffering.

Life Changing Moments     

Documentary Short    2013    Director: Sherry Thomas                                USA, Uganda 

"Life Changing Moments" follows director and surgeon, Dr. Sherry Thomas, as she travels to Africa to provide free surgery and medical care to dozens of impoverished African women suffering with fistula. This inspiring documentary also contrasts the experience of providing health care in Africa with her medical practice in the USA.WINNER! Best Documentary Short, Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Los Angeles

Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution        

Documentary Short    2013    Director: Matthew Van Dyke              USA, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey 

The story of the Syrian revolution as told through the experiences of two young Syrians, a male rebel fighter and a female journalist, as they fight an oppressive regime for the freedom of their people.

Orphans of the Genocide   

Documentary  2013    Director: Bared Maronian                               USA, Armenia, Canada, Lebanon     

Orphans of the Genocide is an emotional visual journey through never-before-seen or rarely seen archival footage and discovered memoirs of orphans who lived through the last century's first, fully documented and least recognized Armenian Genocide of 1915. The documentary follows Maurice Missak Kelechian whose research findings unveil the site of an Armenian orphanage located at the present day Antoura College near Beirut, Lebanon where 1,000 Armenian Genocide Orphans had lived and were forcefully converted and 'Turkified' during WWI. Additionally the documentary includes interviews with numerous public figures including British journalist Robert Fisk--whose article 'Living Proof of the Armenian Genocide,' published in 2010 by the Independent, included many of the archival proofs--as well as Armenian-American Dr. Jack Kevorkian among others.

Pier Melodies           

Documentary Short                2013    Director: Taniel Kilajian                       USA   

Hanging out under the sun at the end of the pier with fishing rods, beers and joints, the pier brotherhood is a community of individuals dedicated to keep the tradition and the lifestyle alive. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, they don't have any strong attachments to the real world, i.e. jobs, family, money, future. They have the pier, they have each other, they have the sun shining down on them, and beers and joints of course. "Pier Melodies" is a document of these individuals, their relations and the richness of their singular existence out on the pier.

Risky Business: A Look Inside America's Adult Film Industry 

Documentary  2013    Director: David Mech                                                 USA   

"Risky Business: A Look Inside America's Adult Film Industry" examines the social, psychological, and economic impacts of performing in adult films. The documentary also examines proposed regulations that would address current industry issues, including workplace health and safety, such as mandatory STD testing and condom use, and job discrimination once performers decide to leave the industry and pursue conventional employment.

Sikh Formaggio       

Documentary Short    2012    Director: Devyn  Bisson                                  Italy, USA       

The centuries-old Parmesan Cheese industry of Northern Italy is one of history, passion, tradition and.... Sikhs?


Documentary  2013    Director: Scott Erlinder                                   USA, Belgium,France,Rwanda,Uganda,United Kingdom         

Since the 1994 Genocide, Rwandan refugees from that conflict - and from subsequent events - have created a population of over 150,000 (some say 250,000) living around the world. In July 2013, these people will lose their refugee status and be forced back to Rwanda by the UNHCR and host countries. The refugees fear repatriation to a country they see as dictatorial and oppressive. The film "Stateless" explores why it is NOT a proper time to invoke this return. Stateless has interviews with major figures in refugee studies, Paul Rusesabagina (the REAL 'Hotel Rwanda' person), Theogene Rudesingwa (former Ambassador to the US from Rwanda, currently in exile), as well as UN officials, Human Rights activists and refugees themselves. Much of the footage was recorded by refugees.

TWO: The Story of Roman & Nyro           

Documentary  2013    Director: Heather Winters                                           USA   

Combining over twelve years of footage and narrated by their twin sons, "TWO: The Story of Roman & Nyro," follows legendary songwriter Desmond Child and his lifelong partner's loving journey to create their new modern family.                                                           

Walking on the Leaves        

Documentary  2013    Director: Tom Keith                Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mali, USA  

"Walking on the Leaves" is a new documentary that celebrates the history, mission, impact and people of the Peace Corps. The film features three stories: two young volunteers going to serve in the Dominican Republic.  A volunteer in Mali who is done with his service and returning home. The third segment has us following a former volunteer returning to Colombia to the site of his brother’s plane crash.  His brother was the first volunteer to die in Peace Corps service in 1962, when his plane crashed in the jungle.  "Walking on the Leaves" gives viewers a first-hand look at the extraordinary nature of the Peace Corps experience.

Welcome Nowhere   Documentary  2012    Director: Kate Ryan                Bulgaria, USA

Narrated by Academy Award-nominee Ethan Hawke, "Welcome Nowhere" tells the true story of a community of Roma people (commonly known as Gypsies) who live in old train boxcars in Sofia, Bulgaria. Without bathrooms for more than 200 people, they struggle to survive, waiting for help from the government that never seems to come.                                                              

Narrative Feature Films:

Abstraction    Feature Film    2013    Director:          Prince Bagdasarian                USA   

An intense action crime drama revolving around the heist of a half-million dollar painting.

Always Faithful      

Feature Film    2012    Director:          Christopher Cardiff                                         USA   

An American soldier falls in love with an Arab woman.  Their love story represents peace in the world, despite religious and cultural differences.

Kral Yolu (King's Way)         

Feature Film    2013    Director:          Serli Seta Nisanyan                                        Turkey

Deniz's parents are archeologists. He wants to spend the holiday with parents but they have to work on excavating at MERSIN. Deniz gets angry and tells this to his grandfather and then starts all adventure. Deniz and grandfather go to MERSIN, and they make a deal with the parents. Deniz can be with friends during the day but has to be with family at night. Grandfather volunteers to become leader of the kid's group. The kids plan to use the map Deniz's father was talking about to find the Queen's crown. While on their exploratory mission, the sleepy cave comes to life with history and characters They find the crown and bid farewell to meet up with their anxious parents and a happy ending.

Manhattan Romance                       

Feature Film    2013    Director: Brian Ghost                                      USA, France  

Annette is a young French actress. During her stay in New York to promote her latest film, she meets up with Alex, an Armenian photographer and long-time friend. As the week progresses, they become inseparable and spend all of their time with together. They meet different people in New York and draw comparisons and differences with their own views and ideas of love, marriage, friendship and life. They have a special connection, but there is something unspoken between them.  They begin to reveal themselves only when Alex photographs Annette throughout New York City.  From friends to lovers there is only one step. Their relationship is about to unravel, but is it?

My Big Fat Armenian Family          

Feature Film    2008    Director: Sev Ohanian                                    USA   

When Robert decides to surprise his kids with a surprise vacation, he thought it would bring his family together. However, everything goes wrong as everyone's agendas collide: Narbeh's already estranged relationship with his father is further complicated by the arrival of his cousin Arabo from overseas. Ramela fears Robert will never approve of the boy of her dreams, Orbel. Meanwhile, Rima simply wishes Robert would pay more attention to her, as he once did years ago. Join the family in this laugh-filled and heartfelt story of an Armenian-American family who must learn to love and accept each other--the hard way.

*This the 5th Anniversary Screening of "My Big Fat Armenian Family." Sev Ohanian is the Arpa 2013 Breakthrough Filmmaker of the Year Recipient.

My Name is Viola     

Feature Film    2013    Director: Ruben Kochar                                              Armenia         

This is the story of Haykuhi, a young girl whose world is one of loneliness and humiliation. Her only desire is to break free, but that possibility seems hopeless--even impossible. Her life is lived in silent abuse and hopelessness, until she meets Anna, a beautiful girl, whose life seems perfect. Living in Anna's world, with many wonderful possibilities in front of her, Haykuhi's new life appears exciting, almost exhilarating, that is until she discovers that Anna's world is no different, and may be worse than her own.

The Power of Few   

Feature Film    2013    Director:          Leone Marucci                                    USA   

"The Power of Few is a time-bending dramatic thriller starring Christopher Walken, Christian Slater, Anthony Anderson & an ensemble cast. The film is told from multiple perspectives, mixes urban crime and religious conspiracy, and encourages audiences to look at things from different perspectives to see how the choices of a single person can affect the outcome of things in a world where everything is interconnected.

Music Videos:                                                                           

Anthony De La Torre           Music Video    2013                            Cuba  

Love, loss, and redemption in Cuba

Ganesh is Fresh                   

Music Video    2013    Director: Deborah Harse                                India, USA      

Set to the music of hip hop artist MC Yogi, "Ganesh is Fresh" is a four-minute music video portraying the cultural love of elephants in India and the strong bond between elephant drivers (mahouts) and the elephants with whom they share their daily lives. It was shot entirely in Jaipur, India.


Music Video    2012    Director: Uzi Amir                                                       France, Israel 

The clip is a satire on Israel and Israeli culture. Singer-songwriter Sharon Holzman embodies some of the personas on TV news: main anchor, field reporter, Israeli army officer and weather forecaster.


Music Video    2012    Director:Michael Pescasio                                          U S A 

The "IllusionsL video combines two powerfully emotional songs, "Illusions" and "I Don't  Want To Know," to muse about how the reality of life is sometimes harsh, so we take refuge in our memories of a beautiful  past--or we put on the rose-colored glasses that transport us back into a lovely, worry-free fantasy world.

IN EVERYONE'SEYES (En Todas Las Miradas)    

Music Video    2013    Director: Lloyd  Frost                                                  Cuba, Canada

A lively and subversive musical short film from inside Cuba, where dissent is counter-Revolutionary.

Let's Face The Music And Dance   2013    Director: Michael Pescasio     USA   

Sensual Latin rhythms punctuate "Let's Face the Music and Dance," a song about living life in the moment, casting away all doubts and fears to fully indulge and participate in each fleeting opportunity for happiness and greatness.

Moonbeam – Madness

Music Video    2013    Director: Pavel Khvaleev                    Russian Federation    

This is new deep and mystic music video story from Russian electronic project,"Moonbeam."

Rytme Pede - Horny

Music Video    2013    Director: Bjarke de Koning                 Denmark        

In this music video Rytme Pede is being accused of being horny by the girl Anne but ends up scoring Anne, by making fun of himself.

Safe and Sound                    Music Video    2013    Director: Grady Hall                USA   

A Dark vintage theater lights up with a mysterious electricity, triggering the emergence of all the dancers who have ever performed in the theater. The result is the ultimate dance circle - a cross time mash-up of dance styles and people that honors the celebratory, connection, and expressive natures of dance and music.

Switzerland by The Dewars           

Music Video    2013    Director: Brady Bigalke                                                          U S A 

This is the music video for the song 'Switzerland' by The Dewars. 'Switzerland' compares the internal battles in one's self to the historical battles in World War II.

Vassy's Beautiful     

Music Video    2013                                                                                                    USA   

Youth empowerment music video by #1 Billboard charting pop and dance artists Vassy

Narrative Short Films:                                                         

A Perfect Day           

Short Film       2011    Director: Adam Rubin                                                             USA   

A teenager, on the morning of his "going Columbine," is confronted by an unlikely stranger-- the only person who can stop him. This is a timely and powerful short film about two seemingly ordinary strangers existing in the heart of "perfect" suburbia, fated to meet at a life-changing moment, both confronting the demons we all share. The film is a tale of angst, of irony, and ultimately of hope.  It is an edgy and fast-paced thriller, beautifully shot and told, with large implications and strong social value.

Big In L.A.

Short Film       2012    Director: Norman Richard, Jochen Cambridge  USA, United Kingdom      

A young British schoolgirl suffering from extreme alopecia escapes her inevitable bullying in dreary London for sunny LA, daring to live out her wildest dreams, or are they already reality. A girl has a certain cause and remembered the feeling referred to as liking to become a singer.

Coming to Terms     

Short Film       2013    Director: David HovanN                                 Canada          

A journey of self discovery.

Every Door.  Every Floor                

Short Film       2013    Director: Stash Capar                                     Canada          

Frustrated with his failure to make a single sale in six months, Vincent, a desperate cleaning product salesman, decides to take drastic action.


Short Film       2013    Director: David Hovan                                                            Canada          

Hilarious difficulties hinder two elderly Armenians who want to act in a film. Obstacles continue to get in their way take after take, foiling all their efforts for a perfect take.

Half Good Killer       

Short Film       2012    Director: Brent Ryan Green                                       South Africa   

A jaded child soldier fighting for an African rebel force struggles to survive the war he was thrust into as he reawakens to the life he was destined to lead.

He Who Has Invented All    

Short Film       2013    Director: Yuri Chirkovskiy                                          Georgia          

An auto-biographical journey through the memories of a boy and the personalities that defined his creative and artistic childhood.

Her Ruling    

Short Film       2013    Director: Howie Askins                                               USA   

Jessica, a self employed attorney who has been married for the past four years, discovers that her happy marriage is a sham. Her husband has been cheating and stealing money from the LAPD. Jessica refuses to become one of the victims. She's out for revenge and regains her power the best way she knows how.


Short Film       2013    Director: Emil Mkrttchian                                            Sweden          

There is a struggle inside Ida, between darkness and life. Can she fool death? Does she see the light?


Short Film       2013    Director: Gabriele Sabatino Nardis                             Italy    

In 2009, an earthquake destroyed the Italian city of L'Aquila and the villages surrounding it. It claimed 309 lives, injured 1,600 people and damaged 11,000 buildings. People left homeless now live in temporary settlements. The elderly suffer more from the loss of their homes. Lao is one of them. When the quake broke his life he falls into loneliness and confusion, thinking back to an old beloved object lost under the debris of his house. His story is a universal metaphor for loss and old age.


Short Film       2012    Director: Yerem Tagvoryan                                        USA   

Leonardo Da Vinci works feverishly in his Florence workshop designing military weapons to defend the city, which is under attack. He sketches his ideas and then uses his secret invention, the Luminoso box, to test them as living, working holograms. Leonardo's genius may be his own undoing, though, as his experiments unleash a weapon even deadlier and more sinister than the enemy at Florence's gates...


Short Film       2012    Director: Robert Hatch                                               USA   

Defying a fate of destruction and despair, a scarred and evil prizefighter, henchman, and gambler conscripts the artful skills of a gifted benefactor who proffers the hope of a mythical journey of...

Miguel Alvarez Wears A Wig          

Short Film       2012    Director: Araceli Lemos                                  USA, Mexico, Greece           

Tijuana’s La Linea is the most crossed border in the world and also one of the deadliest. Miguel Alvarez, a reliable and consistent middle-aged customs officer is faced with the threat of having to cross the biggest border of all. He has cancer. Carlos, Miguel’s coworker, has found another way of crossing over. Carlos invites Miguel to the drag show where he performs.

Mudita: Selfless Joy

Short Film       2013    Director: Melvin Chan                                                 Singapore       

A personal documentary detailing the journey of a son who tries to reconnect with his mother, who became a Buddhist Nun after a lengthy and emotional divorce.

Otra Vez        

Short Film       2013    Director: KS Shanti                                                     U S A 

Everyone has a bad influence.

Red Cloud: Deliverance                  

Short Film       2012    Director:  Alex Kruz                                                    U S A 

Jake Red Cloud, a Native American gun for hire with a mysterious past, needs a place to lay low. With a flashy bankroll, he persuades attractive Jeanine Parker to rent him a room. Jake quickly learns that Parker is nothing but a chain smoking, promiscuous drunk that neglects and ignores her daughter Ann. Desperate for attention, Ann befriends Red Cloud and soon the two develop a spiritual bond of friendship, which leads Jake to the revelation that something in his life is missing. Before he can act his past threatens to extinguish his life and the lives of those around him.


Short Film       2013    Director: Harrison Whelan                                          U S A 

The story of a boy whose father left him lost and confused,and the journey he takes to find himself.

Rose, Mary and Time          

Short Film       2013    Director: Hardeep Giani                                              United Kingdom         

Real is Love - Is life governed by Kismet, or can we change our life path?

Small Fish     

Short Film       2013    Director: Alesia Glidewell                                USA   

Two teams. Only one prize…bragging rights to being the best amateur dancers in Rancho Cucamonga

Subhuman (Untermensch)   

Short Film       2010    Director: Michael Aloyan                                USA   

Set in the fall of 1942, UNTERMENSCH, follows the story of a Russian civilian caught in the midst of a Nazi camp.


Short Film       2013    Director: Rick Glenn                                       USA   

Two men trapped in a laboratory desperately fight to delay an explosive chip from going off in their skulls, clinging to the knowledge that someone must be sending help.

The Lion's Den         

Short Film       2011    Director: Adam Koralik                                   USA   

Two men must traverse enemy territory to see their loved ones, but even attempting to do so is an offense punishable by death.

The Player    

Short Film       2013    Director: Hayk  Matevosyan                          USA   

It is only a game until she learns how to play.

Zero Hour     

Short Film       2013    Director: Dan Carrillo Levy                             Mexico,USA  

Lovers Paula and Lorenzo are traveling on a long and desolate road when the unexpected happens.  They are forced to make a decision, one that could bring them together or tear them apart, forever.The leads are played by Camilla Belle (“From Prada to Nada,” “10,000 B.C.”) and Mexican film and TV star Jaime Camil.

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