UMRIKA by Prashant Nair wins 2016 HP Bridging The Borders Award at Palm Springs International Film Festival


Palm Springs – January 9, 2016— Today, the Palm Springs International Film Festival named Prashant Nair’s UMRIKA as the winner of HP Bridging the Borders Award offered by Cinema Without Borders.

Prashant Nair, director of UMRIKA received HP’s Bridging The Borders Award from Cinema Without Borders’ jury members. The prize for HP Bridging The Borders Award is an HP ZBook 15, a $3000 value. The prize was provided by HP, who sponsors the award.
This year’s nominees for the award were  ATOMIC FALAFEL (Israel, Germany, New Zealand)), LET THEM COME (Algeria, France), ROAD TO LA PAZ (Argentina,Netherlands, Qatar) , ROSITA (Denmark),THE THIN YELLOW LINE (Mexico) and UMRIKA ( India).
The award luncheon for the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival was held at Spencer’s Restaurant in Palm Springs, where Susan Morgan Cooper, Rachel O’Meara and Bijan Tehrani, CWB jury members announced the Bridging The Borders Award winner.

Rachel O’Meara read Cinema Without Borders Jury Statement: “The Winner of the HP Bridging The Borders Award goes to UMRIKA, written and directed by Prashant Nair.  The film keeps the viewer captivated throughout its eventful and inventive narrative of twists and turns, telling a story of cultural traditions and barriers, alongside the powers of dream, love, and family duty.  Both bitter sweet and witty, the movie is propelled by a sensitive musical score, stunning cinematography, and charismatic characters created by an outstanding ensemble cast. .”

“HP congratulates Prashant Nair, winner of the 2016 Bridging Borders Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, said Jeff Wood, Vice President, Worldwide Product Management
Workstations and Thin Clients, HP Inc.  “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.”

Cinema Without Borders Jury Members:

Rachel O’Meara has been a working actor across film, television and theatre for fifteen years, and is a graduate of London’s Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA). Prior to that, she worked in media with the Saatchi Group in London, S Africa and Dubai, during which time she contributed lifestyle and entertainment features to numerous publications and programmes. Rachel also spent years living and working in Germany, France, Brunei, Nepal and Hong Kong, giving her a first-hand insight to international cinema, and she attends as many different film festivals as she can. Rachel’s movie credits include “Mechanic: Resurrection” (Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, filmed in Bangkok), “Suspension of Disbelief” (Sebastian Koch, Dir. Mike Figgis, filmed in London), “When Nietzche Wept” (Armand Assante, Ben Cross, filmed in Romania), “War Inc.” (John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, filmed in Bulgaria), “The Experiment” (Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, filmed in the US), “Until Death” (JC Van Damme), in addition to many indie films. She is currently on television in the crime series “Spotless”, co-produced by France’s Canal+ and Germany’s Tandem Communications.

Susan Morgan Cooper
The award winning documentary film director and producer, Susan Morgan Cooper, grew up in a tiny village in Wales where her parents produced plays to raise money for charity. Shortly after arriving in America, she landed a small role in a Clint Eastwood film, but found film editing more fascinating than acting.

In 1991, when she met a 16 year old girl from Croatia, displaced by The Balkan War, Susan felt compelled to make her first documentary , Mirjana- One Girl’s Journey. In 2000 she produced and directed a documentary television series about heroes, called Heroes and Sheroes…ordinary people who did extraordinary things for others. For three months in 2005 she filmed in Tuscany ‘The Making Of’ Shadows in the Sun, directed by Brad Mirman with Harvey Keitel, Joshua Jackson, Claire Forlani and Giancarlo Giannini .

In 2008 Susan made the highly acclaimed, award winning documentary, An Unlikely Weapon. It was the story of Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer, Eddie Adams, who’s Saigon Execution photo was credited with helping end the Vietnam War. The Hollywood Reporter called it ‘ a terrific documentary’.

In 2012 Susan went to China to film Mulberry Child, where she traced a present day mother and daughter’s emotional disconnect back to Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Critic Roger Ebert called Mulberry Child ‘a powerful and touching film’ and gave it three and a half stars.

In 2013, with Cass Warner, Susan co-wrote and co-produced a documentary about the iconic actor Dennis Hopper.
“I was moved to tears watching Cass Warner’s documentary on Dennis Hopper” Mike Medavoy

In 2015 Susan completed a film on the Russian Adoption Ban  and it’s impact on hundreds of American families and thousands of Russian orphans. ” A must see documentary ” Senator John McCain.

Currently Susan is in pre-production on a narrative feature film , East L.A. Kings. Based on real life events and the documentary she made ten years ago, it’s the story of a cop from East L.A. who takes a group of troubled boys off the streets and turns them into a championship roller hockey team.

Bijan Tehrani, director, film critic and writer, is editor-in-chief of Cinema Without Borders and teaches several Film courses in different schools around the globe,.
Bijan has directed over 200 documentaries in Iran, India, Argentina and Finland. In 1968 he produced his first documentary on traditional Tamasha Theater in India for UNESCO and the Poona Film Institute. His series on Persian culture as found in India and Turkey was a great commercial success. He has also worked as a producer and director on over 500 minutes of animated shorts and series.

Bijan Tehrani specializes in working with children, guiding them to work collectively to animate and edit their own stories. Jaleh Kids, a short film animated by children reflecting their memories of the bloody days of the Iranian revolution won the Herceg-Novi International Film Festival and the Bratislava International Children Television and Film Festival awards in 1979.  In 1981 his Children’s Olympic, also animated by children, won an award at the Leipzig International Film Festival.

Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children’s books. His latest children book, The Yellow Leaf won the Best Book of the Year Award in Iran and its English translation published by the Mage publishing house sold out in a short time in the US.

In January 2007, he founded Cinema Without Borders (CWB,) an independent online publication dedicated to international cinema that has gained a significant global following.

India, 2015, 102 Minute Running Time

Awards: Audience Award, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, Sundance

For those living in a beautiful but impoverished mountain village in India, America looms in the distance as a shimmering beacon of fulfillment. As a young boy, Rama (Suraj Sharma, the star of Life of Pi) watches proudly when his older brother Udai sets off on his journey to this mythic land. When Udai’s letters finally arrive many long months later, they detail his adventures, inspiring hope and sparking community debates over life in this strange wondrous place they call “Umrika.”

But when the letters mysteriously stop, a worried Rama and his best friend Lalu (Tony Revolori of The Grand Budapest Hotel) set out to trace Udai’s journey and find out what has happened.

“The publicity call this a ‘feel-good’ movie but it’s better than that – deeper and more subtle and anchored to a timely issue: immigration…. Umrika achieves remarkable power as a story by concentrating its view of America through the eyes of people who have never been there.” Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald

Filmmaker(s) Attending: Director Prashant Nair
DIRECTOR: Prashant Nair
Producer: Swati Shetty, Manish Mundra
Editor: Xavier Box, Patricia Rommel
Screenwriter: Prashant Nair
Cinematographer: Petra Korner
Music: Dustin O’ Halloran
Principal Cast: Suraj Sharma, Tony Revolori, Smita Tambe, Adil Hussain, Prateik Babbar


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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