"Lost and Found in Armenia," the feature film produced by Roosevelt High School graduate Valerie McCaffrey, opens today at the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 in Clovis. The light comedy was shot almost entirely in Armenia in 2011.
Jamie Kennedy plays an American tourist who vacations in Turkey to get his mind off a bad break-up. He ends up in a small Armenian village, where he is accused of being a Turkish spy. His co-star is Angela Sarafyan, best known for her work in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2."
"This movie has had a profound impact on my life, and now it's in theaters in the U.S. I'm stoked," McCaffrey says.
McCaffrey, whose maiden name is Boolootian, is Armenian. She noticed that there aren't a lot of Armenians in the arts, so she wanted to shoot the feature film in Armenia -- mostly in remote areas of the country -- as a way of bringing attention to the country and to spark more interest in the arts there.
"The Armenian community loves when their children grow up to be doctors or lawyers and all that stuff. I would love to see more opportunities for the Armenian community to get more involved in the media and the arts," McCaffrey says.
It took a little time for the former Fresno resident to turn the spotlight on Armenia. She's held jobs in Hollywood for more than 30 years. After graduating from California State University, Long Beach, she worked for Chuck Barris and Cheech and Chong doing casting, publicity and production.
McCaffrey was vice president of casting at New Line Cinema for six years and director of casting at Universal Studios for eight years. She cast James Cromwell in "Babe," a role that earned him an Oscar nomination. She became an independent casting director in 2000 and worked on "Hard Candy," "American History X," "Dark City" and "Problem Child."
McCaffrey's interest in Armenia doesn't stop with the arts. She was given The Armenian American Network Humanitarian Award for her work in the World Children's Transplant Fund Armenia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of pediatric transplantation.