Becas Wins CWB's Bridging The Borders Award at 2011 Palm Springs ShortFest


Palm Springs – June 26, 2011 – Today at the Palm Springs International ShortFest Film Festival, Cinema Without Borders jury members voted Bekas, directed by Karzan Kader, as winner of the Cinema Without Borders’ Bridging The Borders Award. The CWB Jury also named The Promised Land, directed by Vanessa Knutsen, as the winner of the CWB Special Jury Award.

The award ceremony for the 2011 Palm Springs International ShortFest Film Festival was held at Camelot Theatre and Bijan Tehrani, Editor in Chief of Cinema Without Borders presented both award to the winners. Bekas’ producer, Glenn Lund, received an HP EliteBook 8760w mobile workstation (Prize and promotional support provided by HP) in behalf of Karzan Kader, winner of the Bridging The Borders Award. Also Vanessa Knutsen, winner of the Special Jury Award, received a copy of Adobe Premier Pro CS 5.5, a film editing program provided by Adobe

“Deciding the winner of the Bridging the Borders Award was a very difficult task. All five of the films nominated by the festival’s programmers for this award were thought-provoking and well done. The nominees, Bekas (Sweden), David and Goliath (USA), The Promised Land (Israel), Salar (Bolivia), and Wajeh (Israel) all centered around the subject of immigration or misplaced people in despair. After hours of discussion, we decided to give our Bridging The Borders Award to Bekas because of its great use of the language of cinema in telling a very humanistic story of our time. For CWB’s Special Jury Award, we picked The Promised Land, a film that addresses the issue of racism and human sacrifices, side-by-side and in a delicate manner.” said Bijan.
 “Thanks to both HP and Adobe for providing us with great prizes for our winning directors!” he added.

When we asked festival director Darryl Macdonald about the winners of the Bridging The Borders Award and CWB’s Special Jury Award, he praised both films: “Marking its U.S. Premiere at ShortFest, Bekas is the superbly directed tale of two young Kurdish brothers who pursue their dream of crossing borders to get to the land of their hero—Superman. It’s a remarkable journey made even more memorable by the performances of its two young protagonists, and hugely worthy of the honor it is receiving with the Bridging the Borders Award as well as its recent Student Oscar Award presentation.”

The Promised Land is equally worthy of praise, focusing as it does on the plight of an illegal Nigerian émigré who, together with her young son, comes to Israel in hopes of finding a better world. There she meets a kindred soul who does everything she can to help them—unfortunately it’s not enough to spare them the heartbreak that springs from being unwelcome strangers in a strange land.” He continued. “Both films get to the heart of the immigrant experience in our contemporary world, and each of them exemplifies our need for humanity and compassion when dealing with aspirations which contradict the official policies of sovereign states.”

Sweden, 2010, 29 Minute Running Time
North American Premiere
Language: Kurdish
Two brothers living on the streets in Kurdistan hatch a daring plan to get to America—which they are pretty sure lies just across the border.
DIRECTOR: Karzan Kader
Producer: Glenn Lund
Editor: Sebastian Ringler
Screenwriter: Piotr Marciniak, Karzan Kader
Cinematographer: Johan Holmqvist
Music: Josef Tuulse
Principal Cast: Zamand Taha, Sarwar Fazil

The Promised Land
91 Minute Running Time
Israel, 2010, 15 min.
Personal stories, ranging from those of a woman who shelters illegal residents from the immigration authorities to the stresses between an orthodox shop owner and his liberated wife form the basis for this selection of fascinating shorts about life in Eretz Yisrael.
Writer and Director: Vanessa Knutsen
Producer: Hilla Shitrit
Director of Photography: Ziv Berkovich
Editor: Idit Alony
Cast: Mehereta Baruch, Thiya Danon, Yoni meles, Roi Miller

Photos of the award winners courtesy of Maile Klein Photography.Palm Springs, Ca 92262


About Author

Luz Aguado

Luz Aguado was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in East Los Angeles. She is the oldest of four siblings. Prior to attending The Art Institute, Luz was a student at the University of California Riverside where she studied biology and aspired to become a medical doctor. Now she studies Media Arts and Animation at The Art Institute of Los Angeles and hopes of one day having the opportunity to work for Disney Animation Studios. Three dimensional animation and the innovative techniques that have given animation a more realistic appearance is something that she wishes to focus on while at The Art Institute.

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