Crush My Heart wins GoE Bridging The Borders Award at 2019 SEEfest


Burbank, California – May 8th 2019 – Tonight at the South East European Film Festival LA. held its award ceremony at Writers Guild Theater. The closing night proofed to be a great success for Southeast European Film Festival and its founder and director and a friend of Cinema Without Borders Vera Mijojlic.

GoE Bridging The Borders Award offered by Cinema Without Borders and sponsored by GoEnergistics, went to Slovakian director Alexandra Makarova for her brilliant film Crush My Heart. Bijan Tehrani, Editor in Chief and founder of Cinema Without Borders and CineEqual announced the winner of the GoE Bridging The Borders Award and read the jury statement at the closing ceremony of the SEEfest:

konstantin seitz, Bijan Tehrani – Photo by Aaron Perez

“Cinema Without Borders commends Alexandra Makarova’s multi-layered drama, Crush My Heart, a true social justice film, for its raw honesty in exploring the little known dominion of child sex trafficking and forced beggary in a Gypsy mafia “family” in Vienna. For a debut feature, Makarova shows uncommon wisdom and grit in keeping her characters tuned in to the emotional core of this chaotic world. Despite the abuse she depicts, she reveals a less obvious reality where kids can still grasp a little love before it’s thwarted, find a bit of trust before its betrayed, or seize some joy in their rebellion and escape — even without the luck of survival. Crush My Heart is compelling immigrant tale that needs telling now more than ever, and we’re happy tonight to be a part of that story.”

konstantin seitz, Crush My Heart producer, received the award on-behalf of  Alexandra Makarova, director of the film.

Other nominees for the GoE Bridging The Borders Award were: BORDERS, RAINDROPS (Bosnia Herzegovina), THE DELEGATION (Albania), SUNRISE IN KIMMERIA (Cyprus) and TOGETHER (Sloveinia)


Winner of GoE Bridging the Borders Award

The first feature by Slovakian director Alexandra Makarova is an Austrian Romeo and Juliet love story with Roma protagonists. Winner of “Best Screenplay” and “Audience Award” at European festivals.Two Romany teenagers fall in love after being sent away from their poor village in Eastern Slovakia to beg on the streets of wealthy Vienna. For the first time they get a glimpse of happiness, but it doesn’t last long…Winner of Best Screenplay at the Biberach Film Festival and Romy Academy Award for Best Produced Film in Austria.This screening is supported by the Consulate General of Austria.


Jury members for Bridging the Borders Award assigned by SEEfest were:

Jan Cvitkovič
Jan Cvitkovič, the Slovanian filmmaker, is an Archeologist, writer, director. His films were presented worldwide and received awards such as Lion of the Future (Dino de Laurentis Award) in Venice, Best Director Award in San Sebastian, and many others (around 50). Two of his films were Foreign Language Oscar Candidates (Bread and milk, Gravehopping).

In 2001, Jan wrote and direct his first feature film, Bread and Milk (Kruh in mleko). In 2002 Jan worked on another TV series called Death is Far Away… (Daleč je smrt…) and then in 2003 he made Heart is a Piece of Meat (Srce je kos mesa), a short film that brought him 3 awards.
His feature film, Gravehopping (Odgrobadogroba) has won numerous awards in international film festivals. Gravehopping  also won the Cinema Without Borders Critics Award for the Best Film at 2007 Southeast European Film Festival.


Kamran Heidari
Kamran Heidari was born in Gachsaran, near Shiraz in 1977. He is a freelance documentary filmmaker and photographer, with an Interest in street photography, graffiti and ethno-music. His work focuses on film and photography about the people of Shiraz (Fars Province) and the south of Iran. ‘My Name Is Negahdar Jamali And I Make Westerns’ (2012), his first feature length documentary was screened in many festivals around the world, among which Busan International Film Festival and Rotterdam. His latest work ‘Ali Agha’ premiered at IDFA in 2017. ‘Ahle Hawa’, his current project would be his fifth feature length film.

Sedika Mojadidi
SEDIKA MOJADIDI, director/producer/cinematographer, is an Award winning independent filmmaker, Sedika Mojadidi has directed two feature documentaries, “Motherland Afghanistan,” (2006, PBS< Independent Lens) and “Facing the Dragon”, (PBS, 2018). Some of her television work includes: the critically acclaimed ABC News documentary series, “Boston Med” and television/documentary projects for PBS, The Discovery Channel, TLC, A&E, Guardian Multi Media and Human Rights Watch. Her writing is published in “One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature”. She is the recipient of the Human Rights Watch Courage in Filmmaking Award and the Savannah Film Festival Jury Award for Unheard Voices.

Garineh Nazarian
Garineh Nazarian runs the festival and non-theatrical distribution section at FilmRise, a major indie distribution company based in NY. Before joining FilmRise, she ran her own distribution company working with Iranian filmmakers predominantly presenting the Iranian cinema to the North American audiences, in order to channel between the Iranian cinema and the North American audiences. She graduated from Columbia University in film studies in 2013 before entirely shifting to distribution and focusing on the marketing and the business of the cinema.

Prior to settling in the United States for her studies, she worked in film production for over a decade as producer and director on primary mainstream Iranian cinema and TV shows. Working in the spontaneous, impulsive and hyperrealist Iranian film industry taught her to become adaptable with the various streams of the film industry. Therefore, after moving to the US she gradually shifted to film studies, research, and the business of this exciting industry.

Adam Shepherd
Adam Shepherd, President and Chief Executive Officer of Go Energistics (GoE), has been a champion for social awareness and strong supporter of numerous non-profit organizations dedicated to healing. As the founder of (GoE) a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), Adam is devoted to serving the men and women of our Nation’s military, Veterans, and their families by supporting the health care systems that serve them.

Adam not only witnessed but experienced first-hand, how people all over the world are eager to connect beyond their borders and despite their [perceived]differences. Continually moved by the spirit of people, Adam actively seeks out opportunities to encourage and enact positive social awareness and change.

Adam’s appreciation for the arts, especially cinema and its power to globally unite people, drives him to serve a higher purpose that goes beyond traditional borders. Adam’s philosophy and core belief that each of us can have a positive impact in our world are echoed through GoE’s sponsorship of the Bridging the Borders Award; which recognizes and highlights those who are most successful in bringing people of our world closer together through film.

Bijan Tehrani
Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as Editor in Chief of Cinema Without Borders and CineEqual. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children’s books. He has been writing film critics for several publications during the last four decades.

For the tenth anniversary of Cinema Without Borders, Bijan has received Ambassador of International Cinema Award from South east European Film Festival, Friend of the Festival Award from Polish Film Festival, LA and Gateway to International Cinema.

James Ulmer
James Ulmer, A former international editor and columnist of The Hollywood Report and a contributing writer for The New York Times, Ulmer now lives in Italy and Prague after 20 years as a journey in Hollywood. Recently he consulted for Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 11/9,” and happily is a member of the permanent competition jury for the Central European Film Festival. In the hill town of Castelfidardo, Ulmer plays accordion and hosts summer film seminars for film lovers in the region.


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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