Volunteer Spotlight: Hazel Antaramian-Hofman

April 2016 Volunteer in the Spotlight: Hazel Antaramian-Hofman

Hazel is a talented woman — a professor, an artist, a scientist, an ethnographic researcher and scholar, a designer. She has two sons, two master’s degrees, and a life back and forth from Los Angeles to Fresno.

Occupation: Hazel works as an adjunct art instructor at Fresno City College, and shows her work at Fig Tree Gallery. Hazel focuses primarily on painting and multimedia, working in acrylic, charcoal, pencil, crayon, photo-transfer, and spray paint.

“I was one of those kids that drew all the time,” she says. “But I did love science as well, so I was in between two disciplines. In high school I did both, but straight out of high school I became an art major, specializing in fashion design. My mother was an aspiring fashion artist, so I went to the Fashion Institute of Design in Los Angeles, and graduated from there. I worked in advertising, illustrating handbags – and this was in the early ’80s so there were no computers. You had to do things the old-fashioned way by sketching. But that ended up not being enough for me, so I went back to get my full degree in art, and I went to UCLA.”

At UCLA, Hazel had to take a general education course in anthropology, and she realized that science was where she needed to be. But living in Los Angeles was too expensive, so Hazel packed her bags and moved back home to Fresno to get her second bachelor’s degree, in chemistry. Hazel also holds two master’s degrees, in art and environmental policy.

Where are you from, originally? “I was born in Yerevan, Armenia and that’s where this whole weird history comes from. My mother was born in France and my father was born in America, and so just to understand the dynamics … I came to this country when I was 5, first to Wisconsin. When my grandfather came out in the ’60s to Fresno, he said we needed to come here.”

How did you hear about Fresno Filmworks? “I’ve always loved art films, and so in Los Angeles there were a couple of places that showed art-house films, but they were always so far away. When I came to Fresno, I think someone posted something at Filmworks online and then I found out about it. I tried to see some other films at that point, and I tried to urge my son to volunteer because he’s interested in animation and illustration. But he was into so many other things, so if my son didn’t want to do it, I decided to volunteer instead. Every month, unless something is happening, I try and volunteer.”

What’s your favorite film that you’ve seen with Filmworks at the historic Tower Theatre? “Mountains May Depart” was so naturally acted, so convincing. This year’s Oscar shorts were amazing, as well as the Pakistani and Armenian films, of course, that they’ve showed.”

What type of films do you enjoy? “Anything film noir, the ’50s and ’60s. I do like films like “Babette’s Feast,” “Manon of the Spring,” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.” It’s hard to categorize them, but such things like the simplicity of life, or something with an ethnic aspect, learning about other people of other cultures. My favorite director is Andrei Tarkovsky, and he’s one of those foreign-film, art-house kind of directors.”

What is your typical volunteer experience with Fresno Filmworks? “I’m usually at the concessions, either the candy and money or the drinks. I’ve noticed over time that people like to have their picture taken, like when we have the photo booth for the Oscar shorts.”

What’s your favorite part of Fresno Filmworks? “They are a good group of people, and they’re very dedicated and passionate about what they are doing. They show great films that you wouldn’t find normally in Fresno. They are exposing young people to new film. I made my students, as extra credit, attend a show. This way I’m pushing them to experience something they’ve never seen or done before, and we have to do that. Without Filmworks, I wouldn’t have an outlet like that for others to experience the arts. Edwards and the big commercial places, that’s not where art is. So I’m grateful that they’re here, and if I can help sustain it, I will however I can.”

What was the last film you saw at a big commercial theater? “It was probably a long time ago! I think it was “The Artist,” the silent film, which was worth seeing. I liked the two French actors, Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, and I think I liked them so much that I bought the film. I like foreign films; the language barrier isn’t an issue.”

Are there any films or other genres you’d like to see Filmworks show? “I kind of sit in the back seat and enjoy what they’re bringing. They’re covering it really well, I think, selecting the films. I hope we can just get the word out more, more exposure of what we have. Somehow to get a stronger cultural outreach going on, so we know what’s here, bringing people from the north down to the Tower, or more students.”

Filmworks thanks all of our April 2016 volunteers: Hazel Antamarian-Hofman, Chris Austin, Richard Flores, Megan Ginise, Karen Hammer, Neal Howard, Monica Marks, Ann McGowan, Conde McGowan, Angad Puniani, Andrew Ranta, Gene Richards, Lorraine Tomerlin.

Filmworks also thanks all of our May 2016 volunteers: Chris Austin, Megan Ginise, Linda Hernandez, Neal Howard, Andy Julian, Joan Levie, Richard Markley, Ann McGowan, Conde McGowan, Jon Veinberg.

To meet our past volunteers in the spotlight, and to find out how you can volunteer with Filmworks, visit our volunteer page.