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Winners of the 7th Annual South East European Festival Revealed

awardsCelebration for closing night of the 7th Annual South East European Festival (SEE Fest 2012 which ran from May 3-May 7 2012) took place Monday night, May 7th, at UCLA’s Bridges Theater in Los Angeles with the screening of the Turkish epic FUTURE LASTS FOREVER, an exploration of the parallel pasts and Anatolian elegies directed by Ozcan Alper, which also won Bridging the Borders award for best feature film of the festival. DO NOT FORGET ME INSTANBUL, a collection of seven stories by seven directors under artistic direction of Turkey's auteur Huseyin Karabey also received an award from Cinema Without Borders accordingly.

2012 Award Winners:

  • Best Debut Feature: FAITH, LOVE AND WHISKEY by Kristina Nikolova (Bulgaria, 2011)
  • Best Documentary: CIGARETTES AND SONGS by Marek Sulik and Jana Kovalcikova (Slovakia, 2010)
  • Honorary Mention: GABRIEL by Vlatka Vorkapic (Croatia, 2011)
  • Best Short (Fiction): THE VISIT by Miha Mazzini (Slovenia, 2010), and COLD SHOWER by Orsy Nagypal (Hungary, 2011)
  • Best Documentary Short: MURDER REVISITED by Milan Miletic (Germany, 2010)
  • Cinematography Jury's Feature: DO NOT FORGET ME ISTANBUL by: Aida Begic, Eric Nazarian, Hany Abu-Assad, Josefina Markarian, Omar Shargawi, Stefan Arsenijevic, Stergios Niziris (Turkey, 2011)
  • Best Cinematography (Documentary): PERSEVERANCE...SPIRIT...BREATH by Momir Matovic (Montenegro, 2011)
  • Audience Award: HELLO! HOW ARE YOU? directed by Alexandru Maftei (Romania, 2011)

Juries and awards of the 7th South East European Film Festival included:

Bridging the Borders Award, with jurors Bijan Tehrani, editor-in-chief, Cinema Without Borders; Kevin Cassidy, international news editor, The Hollywood Reporter; and Fareed C. Majari, director of the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles.

Best Documentary Award,
with jurors Margit Kleinman, director, Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades; Arnold Schwartzman, Oscar-winning filmmaker and designer; Valentina Ganeva, film editor;

Best Debut Feature Award,  with jurors Ana Maria Bahiana, author and film critic; Matthew Mishory, filmmaker; and Zeljko Marasovich, film composer;

Best Short Film, Best Short Documentary Awards,
 with jurors Prince Gomolvilas, playwright; Jelena Mrdja, actress; Marsha Goodman, EMMY-winning casting director; and Jelena Erceg, visual effects artist.

Best Cinematography Award,
feature and documentary film, with jurors Boris Schaarschmidt, cinematographer; Michael Pessah, cinematographer; Nicholas Fahey, cinematographer; and Hans Diernberger, visual artist.

About South East European Festival:

South East European Film Festival educates about and promotes cultural diversity of South East Europe through its annual presentations of films from this region and year-round screenings and programs. SEE FEST organizes conferences and retrospectives, serves as the cultural hub and resource for scholars and filmmakers, and creates opportunities for cultural exchange between Southern California and South East Europe.

For further details about the festival visit:


Podcast: Berlinale 8 - Khodorkovsky Caged Oligarch

Khodorkovsky-2What do you give the billionaire Russian oligarch who has everything? A cage. The Kremlin is locking Mikhail Khodorkovsky up for the next 14 years.

Laste year's Berlinale showed Nenette, Nicholas Philibert's doc about a caged orangutan in a Paris zoo. Calling Kohodorkovsky's prison a zoo would be complimentary, but here's a question -- which has the best food, a French zoo, or a Russian prison?

Cyril Tuschi’s investigative oli-doc doesn’t find much evidence of criminality on the part of Khodorkovsky, who ran Lukos, a huge Russian oil company. Yet it does show you what happens to a rich Russian who decides to get involved in politics. Have you seen any BP executives in a US prison recently? The evidence implicating them is still washing up on the shores of Louisiana.

Read more: Podcast: Berlinale 8 -...

Podcast: David D'Arcy talks about Nader and Simin

Image from NADER AND SIMINNader and Simin – Iran May Not Have WMD, But It Sure has Dysfunctional Families

Iran is no longer in the headlines. But in Berlin, where an Iranian member of the jury who’s now in prison was represented by an empty chair, the Iranian film Nader and Simin: A Separation, by Asghar Farhadi, won the Golden Bear. Acting awards were given to the male and female leads in this drama about a family that tumbles into crisis.

David D’Arcy, back from the Berlinale, talks about Nader and Simin, one of the encouraging signs at the festival.

* click on the player to hear the podcast

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Best of the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival

It wasn’t the best Berlinale, but it should have been better. Beginning with opener True Grit, there weBerlinale 2011re stars -– Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore and company in Margin Call, the latest financial saga, straight from Sundance Film Festival; and Ralph Fiennes directed himself and a corps of military-clad fighters in Coriolanus, one of Shakespeare’s most difficult plays to stage, much less to film. (Fiennes and company shot it in Belgrade, Bosnia.)

There was also controversy, and it wasn’t limited to the griping of critics. The Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was set to be on the jury, but he’s been in jail in Iran, where he’s now officially banned from making films.  The ban seems a bit superfluous, since Panahi is locked up. The Berlinale kept his name on the jury list, and kept an empty chair to signal his absence.

Read more: Best of the 2011 Berlin...

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