FRESNO — screening of a documentary on the life and times of Fresno’s Academy Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author will take place during the first week of the 2017 Lenten Season.

“William Saroyan: The Man, The Writer” will be shown on Sunday afternoon, March 5, 2017 at the First Armenian Presbyterian Church of Fresno, California, boyhood congregation of the celebrated author/playwright. The afternoon will begin with a 1 p.m. luncheon and continue with the 2 p.m. screening.

The Church Campus is located at 430 South First Street at Historic Huntington Boulevard. The screening is co-sponsored by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan Fresno Yeprad Lodge and Alidz Oytag.

The luncheon will feature lemon chicken piccata, almond crusted tilapia, or vegetarian lentil kufteh with accompaniments. Advance tickets are $24 for adults, $16 for students (8+ years), and $10 for the screening only. Tickets at the door will be $30 per adult, $22 per student, and $12 for the screening only. Tables of eight are available. Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P., the Eighth President of California State University, Fresno, will be the special guest at the anniversary screening and luncheon.

The deadline for advance tickets is February 19, 2017 and more information is available by calling Rita Shamlian at (559) 970-4785 or Philip Tavlian at (559) 237-6638. More information on the film is available at . 

First released in April 1991, the documentary highlights Saroyan’s personal life, his essence, character and philosophy, his works, his message to the world, and the undying love and passion he felt for both his native country as an American, and for the country of his forefathers, as an Armenian. Saroyan discusses his cultural heritage and its importance and influence on his becoming a writer. He rejects money, fame and glory and ultimately goes back to his roots and finds his final rest.

The film features narration by Saroyan and actor Mike Connors as well as graphic illustrations by Sarkis Muradyan, a musical score by Paul Nazlikian, and arrangements by Mike Dana. The documentary has been exhibited in more than 60 cities and 19 countries and earned the Gold Award from the Philadelphia International Film Festival (1995).

The documentary was written and directed by award-winning photographer Paul Kalinian and produced by Susie Kalinian D.M.D. A native of Beirut, Paul Kalinian grew up in Damascus, Syria and learned his craft in the Photo Gulbenk Studio Workshop of that city as well as Emile Brunel’s New York Institute of Photography. He has been a professional photographer for half a century in the Near East, Dominion of Canada, and United States. One of his characteristic portraits of Saroyan was selected by the USA/USSR Postal Services for their Commemorative Stamps as a humanitarian symbol of the friendship between the two superpowers. The first-day-issue ceremonies took place simultaneously on May 22, 1991, in Fresno, California, and in Yerevan, Armenia.

Dr. Susie Kalinian graduated with honors from California State University at Fresno, in 1994, pursuing graduate work in Epidemiology and Public Health. Kalinian received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Tufts University in Boston in 2002. After graduation, Dr. Kalinian specialized in Pediatric Dentistry at Nova Southeastern University School of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Miami Children’s Hospital.

Established in 1916, the Knights of Vartan (Vartanantz Asbedner) is an Armenian fraternal service organization that encourages members to assume leadership roles in cultural, educational, religious, and charitable organizations and activities for the betterment of the Armenian nation worldwide.

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