The Writer, Director of the film, Mr. Paul Kalinian was born in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 14, 1932. The sixth child of seven from Kharpertzi father, Hrant, and Marashtzi mother, Haigouhie. Kalinian's family moved to Damascus, Syria, where he spent his youth and received his primary education.
At the age of 14, Kalinian began learning photography at the Photo Gulbenk studio workshop in Damascus. He became an all-purpose assistant and learned his craft from the ground up. At the age of 18, he returned to Beirut and continued his photography career and secondary education. In 1961, Kalinian opened his first photography studio, Photo Paul, in Beirut. Three years later, on July 29, 1964, he moved to Montreal, Canada, then to the United States to pursue a more promising future.
In 1967, Kalinian completed his education and received his degree in Professional Photography and Motion Picture Production from the New York Institute of Photography. In the same year, Kalinian returned to Beirut to marry his longtime sweetheart Araxie Deuvletian. They made their permanent home in Fresno, California, where they were blessed with twins--a son, Harold, and a daughter, Susie.
Kalinian worked and managed the Hood Photography Studio until he opened his second place of business, Paul's Photography Studio in Fresno, California, from 1972 through 1992. Kalinian has photographed numerous noted personalities, film stars, models, artists, politicians, high- ranking military officials, Armenian Catholicoi and clergy leaders, and people from all walks of life.
Kalinian's works have been published in more than a dozen books, international newspapers, magazines, brochures, a 1991 US Stamp Book, posters, yearbooks, calendars, Armenian Costumes Through The Centuries book, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and the cover of a telephone book. His works are displayed in government buildings, museums, temples, schools, churches, libraries and in the William Saroyan Theatre, in Fresno, California.
Yet Paul Kalinian harbored another dream--to find and photograph William Saroyan. After 12 years of failed attempts to track him down, Kalinian finally met Saroyan in 1976. With Kalinian's persistence, and the charm of an old Armenian song, they became close friends. Kalinian photographed a variety of characteristic portraits of Saroyan; one of which 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. On this unique and historic occasion, Kalinian produced a 1200 series, 5x7 size, First-Day-Issue Stamp Cachet, which included the original color portrait of William Saroyan, individually signed and numbered by Kalinian.
Paul Kalinian's final ambition was to excel in motion picture. His interest in cinematography stemmed from his childhood. Kalinian was always fascinated by the creation of film and motion picture. In 1952, he bought his first 8mm movie camera and produced many short films of social and travel events in Beirut, Lebanon. Much to his regret, these early treasured works were lost to the 1975 civil war of Lebanon.
Following Saroyan's death in 1981 and prior to the making of the film, Kalinian prepared a 22 minute slide show presentation of Saroyan's characteristic portraits, which was presented over 100 times in 9 years in various cities, and televised on public TV stations.
As a result of people's enthusiastic response, Paul Kalinian and his daughter, Dr. Susie Kalinian, continued their research on Saroyan's life and works. He wrote a new script, and with the assistance of his wife Araxie, and son Harold, the film's technical engineer, the Kalinians made a documentary film entitled, William Saroyan: The Man The Writer. The film, a labor of love, is inspired by Kalinian's admiration for William Saroyan as one of the greatest writers of our time.
The film has received a total of six awards from various International Film Festivals. In April 1994, the film received the Finalist Award among 57 documentary films, from the 27th Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival. In June 1995, the film was presented at the Nouveau Festival International du Cinema, in the Writers Profiles Division, in Montreal, Canada. In July 1995, the film received the Gold Award for Best Documentary Film, among 12 competing nations from the 18th Annual Philadelphia International Film Festival. In October 1995, the film received four awards among 80 documentary films, from the 43rd Annual Columbus International Film Festival: Paul Nazlikian, received an Honorable Mention Award, for the Film’s Music Score, the Kalinians received three awards, one for Script Writing, Honorable Mention Award, and two bronze plaques in The Arts Division and The Humanities Division Recognition of Excellence Awards.