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Franklin students come from all over the globe, speak many languages, represent different nationalities, foster and express distinct cultures, and uphold various traditions.
Yet they all share the same desires and ambitions. They are explorers, seeking to engage the world with confidence and curiosity. They study international and interdisciplinary relevant topics on humanity, sustainability, innovation, social justice, the future, and much more. They commit to excelling academically to one day land a dream-true professional career. Last but not least, they stand together, support and cheer on one another, and grow up as part of a tight-knit, worldwide community, the Franklin family.
This is their story, and today, Franklin introduces Arpi.
What is your name, where are you from, and what year are you attending at Franklin?
I’m Arpi Khachatryan from Yerevan, Armenia and I’m a senior here at Franklin, graduating this May 2023.
How did you learn about Franklin?
I was once advised not to apply here… So I knew Franklin had to be a great place! I chose Franklin, especially because, being interested in storytelling, I knew I would receive the perfectly balanced European-American background and influences that would help me develop my skills – and I was not disappointed!
What is your favorite thing at Franklin?
Our clubs and societies! We might forget the year of the French Revolution or how to find the derivative of an exponential function, but the experiences we have in these clubs and the bonds we form will stay with us long after graduation.
Being the president of the Film Club and the Avant-Garde Drama Club, as well as a member of the Honors Society Executive Board (a little self-promotion), I can surely say these clubs are the core of my Franklin experience and have helped me push through all the stressful and depressing moments that we know most undergrads go through at some point.
At Avant-Garde, which I founded in my sophomore year as the replacement of Franklin’s old Thespian Society, we write our own plays and do a performance at the end of each semester. The Fall '22 semester play was called What We Do In The Dark: FYS Showcase Gone Wrong, and we performed in the Nielsen auditorium in front of the Franklin community.
About the Film Club, since before I became president, it has developed a tradition of hosting bi-monthly Friday night film screenings and discussions that students vote on. I can proudly say that now the club has around 80 members and this tradition has really become part of the Franklin culture – which was exactly what I wanted to achieve when taking over the presidency in my junior year.
And, most importantly, the legacy of both clubs will carry on after I graduate under the lead of the current vice presidents Calysta Warner '25 and Morgan Carlson '25 and the other executive board members.
What is your favorite memory at Franklin so far?
Covid-19… Just kidding! Definitely Franklin’s visit to the Basel Christmas Market during my freshman year. I was still a baby and everything seemed exciting. The colors and the voices were saturated, my senior friends who "adopted" me took me to all the hidden places in town, and had me try all the best food and overall, we had a great day.
What are your aspirations for the future, and how is Franklin teaching you to become a successful professional?
In short, I aspire to write and direct my own fiction films. Franklin is playing a huge role in helping me become a successful professional through the Film Studies courses I’m taking as well as all the wonderful professors who are letting me shoot short films as the final projects for their classes, alongside writing research papers.
What are you majoring in and why did you choose this major?
I’m majoring in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies with a Filmmaking Pathway, and minoring in Film Studies, French Studies, and History. I mean – I’m an aspiring filmmaker, so that makes sense, especially as I think having a background in these areas is very important for every storyteller, especially a film director.
What is one of your all-time favorite courses?
This is a difficult question! I loved most of the classes I’ve taken, therefore, I’m going to name my personal "holy trinity": my First Year Seminar with Professor Peat, LIT 199: Home-coming and Going; CLCS 370: Advanced Reading Film, during which I was one of Professor Fabio Ferrari’s Teacher Assistants; and CLCS 399: Performing Happiness, Professor Ferrari’s First Year Seminar for which I was the Academic Mentor (my mentees were the best and we had lots of fun getting ready for the First Year Seminar Showcase together).
What is your proudest accomplishment and why?
I’d say the productions we put together for Avant-Garde and the short films I’ve created, including the online film festival awards I’ve gotten for some of them.
Odyssey, Interrupted (2022);
Chrysanthemums, Theatre, and Angry Children(2022);
Nothingness Overdose (2022);
Don't Trust Tarkovsky (2021)Semi-Finalist at Student Los Angeles Film Awards (May 2022)
Annual Winner at Bridge Fest Film Festival (2021);
Honorable Mention of "Young Talent Filmmaker" at BIMIFF - Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival (December 2021, 14th Competition);
Semi-Finalist at Berlin Shorts (November 2021);
Best Female Students Director at Tokyo Shorts (November 2021);
Semi-Finalist at San Francisco Arthouse Short Festival (October 2021);
Semi-Finalist at Hollywood International Golden Age Festival (October 2021);
Finalist at Paris International Short Festival (October 2021);
Semi-Finalist at San Francisco Indie Short Festival (September 2021);
Best Sci-fi and Best Cinematography at Rome International Movie Awards (September 2021);
Best Cinematography and Honorable Mention for Original Story at New York Movie Awards (July 2021);
10 Days of Cinephilia (2021)Finalist at Baliwood Bali - World Independent Short Film Awards (December 2021).
Official Selection at Iconic Images Film Festival (April 2021);
Honorable Mention at the 2020 annual contest of Bridge Fest Film Festival for the category of cellphone films;
Sheep Are Born In Spring, Snow - In Winter (2020);
Have a Whisky, Ruanuku: a modern fake tragicomedy of New Zealand's colonization (2020).
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself making films and being happy, just like right now!
What other interests or hobbies do you have outside of Franklin?
We are supposed to have a life outside of Franklin? Irony aside, some of my other hobbies are reading morally gray classic literature or having my headphones on all the time cause my brain doesn’t function without music or having a sudden rush of inspiration at 3 a.m. followed by creative writing sessions. Perhaps the most basic hobby of mine, thanks to my parents and my high school friend groups, which represents my personality at best is being a film buff! I spend a big chunk of my free time watching and rating movies and keeping different lists. Actually, here’s my Top 10 list of all-time favorites that you cannot miss!
"Amadeus" Milos Forman (1984)
"2001: A Space Odyssey" Stanley Kubrick (1968)
"Tokyo Story" Yasujirō Ozu (1953)
"The Color of Pomegranates" Sergei Parajanov (1969)
"The Seventh Seal" Ingmar Bergman (1957)
“8 1/2" Federico Fellini (1963)
"Stalker" Andrei Tarkovsky (1979)
"Just Don't Think I'll Scream" Frank Beauvais (2019)
"Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring" Kim Ki-duk (2003)
“Oslo, August 31st” Joachim Trier (2011)