AVE MARIA from Palestine wins 2015 HP Bridging The Borders Award


Palm Springs – June 21, 2015— Today, the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival and Market named Ave Maria (Palestine), directed by Basil Khalil, as the winner of HP’s 2015 Bridging the Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders. Rangan 99 (Iran), directed by Tiyam Yabandeh, took home the Cinema Without Borders Special Jury Award.

This year’s festival was held at Palm Springs’ Camelot Theatre. The Editor-in-Chief of CWB, Bijan Tehrani, presented the award for this year’s HP Bridging the Borders winner. ?  received  an HP ZBook 15 Mobile Workstation. An approximate $3000 value awarded from our generous sponsors.

The nine nominees for the 2015 HP Bridging The Borders Award were Ave Maria (Palestine/France, Germany), Exit Right (Austria), Foreign Bodies(Belgium/France), Listen (Finland/Denmark), Patriot (United Kingdom), Rangan 99 (Iran), San Cristóbal (Chile),and The Good Life – Over There (Norway)

“At Cinema Without Borders, we are proud to be a part of the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival and Market’s celebration of the future of world cinema by bestowing our Bridging the Borders Award to a film that helps bring the people of our world closer together. Ave Maria from Palestine, uses clever humor in a very funny story about the conflicts of religious beliefs in order to show that our common grounds can go beyond any religious diversions we may have” said Bijan Tehrani, Editor In Chief of Cinema Without Borders.

“Additionally, our staff decided to give the Special Jury Award to Rangan 99. Director Tiyam Yabandeh shows us how two human beings who are supposed to be enemies in war learn to care about each other, and eventually become close friends. The Special Jury Award winner receives a certificate for an upcoming Method Acting Intensive provided by The Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in West Hollywood, CA—valued at $2000.”

In a message read by Bijan Tehrani Tiyam Yabandeh wrote:”I’d like to thank the Palm Springs ShortFest Film Festival organizers and programmers for giving me and my film the honor of being a part of this amazing film festival. Also, I’d like to thank Cinema Without Borders and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute for the Special Jury award, This means a lot to me and my future in filmmaking. Today, from that Charleston Church to the Middle East, the world has turned into a battleground. In Rangan 99, I am trying to say that if we all had a chance to know each other, the end would not be coming with a bullet, but with a smile of friendship.”

Darryl Macdonald was also on hand to offer his thoughts.
“Dancing down a tightrope strung between the sacred and the profane, Ave Maria casts a wry and withering spotlight on the absurdities of religious rites and rules that separate us from one another as human beings, and does so with both wisdom and warmth.” said Macdonald, Director of Palm Springs International Short Film Festival. About CWB’s Special Jury Award winner, Rangan 99 he added: “A searing portrayal of the ways in which war between nations cannot entirely  preclude our natural human instincts toward individual acts of kindness, Rangan 99 is a revelatory and masterful film, fueled by a deep sense of irony and anguish.”

Lastly, Jeff Wood from HP commended the Bridging the Borders Award winner.
“HP congratulates Basil Khalil, winner of the 2015 Bridging Borders Award, at Palm Springs SHORTFEST” said Jeff Wood, Vice President, Worldwide Product Management
HP Workstations and Thin Clients.  “As a leading workstation provider for the media & entertainment industry, we understand the important role that technology plays in artists bringing their visions to life and HP is committed to help bridge the world’s cultural gaps through art, entertainment, and technology.”

Ave Maria
Palestinian, 2015, 14 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: France, Germany
North American Premiere

A Jewish family’s car breaks down outside a nunnery during Shabat, inadvertently knocking off the head of the Virgin Mary. The driver’s mother and wife are eager to return home. After exhausting all options they turn to the nuns for help.

DIRECTOR: Basil Khalil
Producer: Eric Dupont
Editor: Basil Khalil
Screenwriter: Daniel Yáñez Khalil, Basil Khalil
Cinematographer: Eric Mizrahi
Music: Jamie Serafi
Principal Cast: Maria Zreik, Maya Koren, Huda Al-Imam, Shady Srour, Ruth Farhi

Rangan 99
Iran, 2014, 14 Minute Running Time
North American Premiere
Language: no dialogue English Sub-Titles

Awards: Religion Today Film Festival, Best Film; Grand Prize, Arvand Film Festival

During the Iran-Iraq War, two soldiers from opposite sides of the conflict find themselves sharing a common humanity for a brief moment in time.

DIRECTOR: Tiyam Yabandeh
Producer: Masoud Azimi
Editor: Mohammad Mehdi Zarrin pour
Screenwriter: Tiyam Yabandeh
Cinematographer: Aean Irani
Principal Cast: Pedram Samadi, Mostafa Malek Makan, Parmis Hasan Zadeh, Hossein Ershadi


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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