When Tarkovsky inscribed and sent his child’s drawings to the imprisoned Paradjanov who annotated and forwarded them to the blacklisted Vartanov as blessings of the birth of his son Martiros Max, his journey in arts began.
He escaped to Hollywood, graduated from UCLA, and exhibited his award-winning photography and films at museums around the world. He has also served as a juror and curator at festivals in Beverly Hills and Busan, and worked on the restoration of the masterpiece The Color of Pomegranates selected for Festival de Cannes.
He also presents the annual Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Awards whose recipients include Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese, Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan, Grammy-winning rock band System of a Down, and Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson. In addition, he programs the institute’s annual Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival — DOC LA.