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Spotlight >> Arsinée Khanjian

Arsinee Khanjian Collage
Arsinee Khanjian Genie and Gemini Award-winning actor Arsinée Khanjian most recently appeared in the title role of the widely acclaimed romantic comedy SABAH by young Canadian director Ruba Nadda. She starred as the troubled art historian Ani in Atom Egoyan's critically acclaimed ARARAT. For this work she was honored with the Genie Award for Best Actress in a Feature Film and was also awarded Best Actress by the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. Internationally, her screen-work also includes a starring role in Catherine Breillat's highly provocative A MA SOEUR! (FAT GIRL), filmed on location in France. Her other credits include two feature films for Olivier Assayas, IRMA VEP and LATE AUGUST, EARLY SEPTEMBER, as well as Michael Haneke's CODE INCONNU, opposite Juliette Binoche. She was also seen in Don McKellar's debut feature LAST NIGHT. Khanjian is best known in North America for her ongoing collaboration with her husband, filmmaker Atom Egoyan, in whose features she has played important parts. In addition to Ani in ARARAT, her roles for Egoyan have included the pregnant club-owner in EXOTICA, the anguished hippie mother in the Oscar-nominated THE SWEET HEREAFTER (for which she shared a special award for Ensemble Acting from the National Board of Review), and a remarkable star turn as an ultra-glamorous cooking show host (and mother) in FELICIA'S JOURNEY. FAT GIRL, which was banned for more than a year by the Ontario Film Review Board, finally opened in Ontario in February 2003. She also co-produced as well as starred with Egoyan in the award-winning CALENDAR. Khanjian's extensive stage-work includes Irina Brook's French-language premiere of Brian Friel's modern classic, DANCING AT LUGHNASA, at the Théâtre de Bobigny in Paris and the Théâtre de Vidy in Switzerland. The hit play was remounted for a French national tour and special festival appearances in Japan and Germany. Also at the Théâtre de Bobigny, she starred in a major new production of Goethe's STELLA, directed by Bruno Bayen. This was also later mounted in Switzerland. In her home city of Toronto, Khanjian has starred in a number of plays, including two critically acclaimed productions at Théâtre Passe-Muraille: BEAST ON THE MOON, directed by Hrant Alianak, and WEDDING DAY AT THE CRO-MAGNONS, directed by Banuta Rubes. She starred in Marivaux's Canadian English premiere, COUNTERFEIT SECRETS (LES FAUSSES CONFIDENCES), directed by John Van Burek. Khanjian appeared in the lead role in Factory Theatre's world premiere of Florence Gibson's HOME IS MY ROAD, directed by Ken Gass, in April, 2003. On television, Khanjian starred in the CBC drama series, SIDE EFFECTS, and has established a dynamic collaboration with Ken Finkleman, having starred in his series MORE TEARS, FOREIGN OBJECTS, and FOOLISH HEART, performing the latter entirely in Armenian, and earning both the Gemini Award for Best Actress in a Series, and the Best Actress Award from the Cinéma Tout Écran International Cinema and Television Festival in Switzerland. Khanjian has also played Anaïs Nin for the PBS series, MENTORS, guest-starred on the CBC/Salter Street hit comedy, MADE IN CANADA, and hosted a special presentation on the CBC's OPENING NIGHT, dealing with the Genocide -- an issue that Khanjian has been fervently involved with, especially as an activist for international recognition of the historic Armenian Genocide. In addition to her acting credits, Khanjian, with a Master's Degree in Political Science, has an extensive administrative background in the arts and governmental affairs. In 1989, she became the first person to hold the post of Associate Officer in the Film, Video and Photography office of the Ontario Arts Council. Holding that position through 1994, Khanjian oversaw and evaluated grant and funding programs for video, holography, and the then-burgeoning field of electronic media, as well as the not-for-profit organizations that provided ongoing support for the artists. During her tenure, she also formulated the guidelines for the First Projects program, which promoted access to funding programs for individuals with limited experience in film or video production. This initiative was crucial in widening content matter to include diversity in cultural, gender and sexual orientation representation. From 1986 until joining the Arts Council, Khanjian was Bilingual Community Heritage Advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Communications. There, her many responsibilities included liaising with heritage organizations, assessing grant requests, and providing background briefings to the Premiere and Ministers. Khanjian continues to be active as a volunteer and board member of arts and community groups internationally, including active involvement with the Zoryan Institute, and is a board member of The Power Plant, Canada's leading contemporary art gallery. Khanjian received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal to mark the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty to the Throne in 2002, awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to Canada. She was presented with the Queen Zabel Award by the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America in 2003. The same year, Khanjian was also recipient of the Sourp Mesrob Mashdotze Award by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I in Antilias, Lebanon. The Medal is given to those individuals who have shown artistic, historic, and cultural excellence.

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