CWB & Palm Springs International Film Festival announce Jury & nominees for the 2018 HP Bridging The Borders Award


Burbank, CA – December 19th, 2017: Today, Cinema Without Borders and Palm Springs International Film Festival  announced jury members and the eight nominees for HP‘s Bridging The Borders Award at 2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival selected by Palm Springs International Film Festival Programmers. The Bridging The Borders Award at the 2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival will be given to the most successful film in bringing the people of our world closer together.

Cinema Without Borders’ jury members to decide the 2018 winner of the HP Bridging The Borders Award are:

Sylvie Bolioli
Sylvie Bolioli has worked in the entertainment industry for many years, practising her skills in various disciplines.
She made her screen directing debuts in advertising, with TV commercials for Mexican television. She had previously written, directed and produced a series of radio commercials for a number of brands including Pepsi Cola.
Her short film GAS, based on a Hitchcock story written in 1919 and never brought to the screen before, starring Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet), received extensive international coverage from the press, including a news piece on ITN, articles in The Hollywood Reporter, in the BAFTA magazine,… and a mention in Hitchcock’s latest biography written by Quentin Falk.
‘LAW & DISORDER: the Insanity Defense’, a documentary about the criminal responsibility of the mentally ill is her first feature film. Her most notable work however is an ident for the Oslo World Cinema Foundation in which she directed Martin Scorsese.

Her acting career began as a child with ‘Le Jeune Theatre du Soleil’ in France. After studying at RADA Sylvie appeared in commercials on Mexican and European television. Her credits also include playing Sister Françoise for NBC Universal TV series ‘You, Me and the Apocalypse. She recently played Rose Montefiore in the British independent movie ‘Leave Now’. Sylvie is the Founder and Director of the Ramsgate International Film Festival, of which Brenda Blethyn is the

Terry George
Academy Award-winning screenwriter-director TERRY GEORGE earned BAFTA and Oscar nominations for writing In the Name of the Father with Jim Sheridan. He also received BAFTA and Academy Award nominations for his screenplay Hotel Rwanda, which he also directed. He won the Academy Award for Best Short Film, The Shore, sharing the honor with his daughter Oorlagh.
George made his feature directorial debut from his own script entitled Some Mother’s Son, starring Helen Mirren and Fiona Flannigan. He also wrote screenplays for Jim Sheridan’s The Boxer and the Bruce Willis vehicle Hart’s War before writing and directing Hotel Rwanda, which earned Oscar nominations for stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo, in addition to Best Original Screenplay for George.

Philippe Mora
Philippe Mora is an acclaimed French Australian writer, director, producer and artist. He has made over forty films internationally in many genres including documentaries, dramas, experimental, science fiction and historical films. These include BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME, SWASTIKA, RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE, COMMUNION, BEAST WITHIN, GERMAN SONS, and DEATH OF A SOLDIER. Born in Paris in 1949, he grew up in Melbourne, where he was a pioneer of the modern Australian film industry with MAD DOG MORGAN. He started the magazine Cinema Papers.

His parents, Georges and Mirka Mora, were key figures in the Modernist art world of Australia. His godfather was mime Marcel Marceau. He had a retrospective of his art work showing in London at England & Co.
Gallery in 2008. New Horizons Film Festival, Wroclaw, Poland, held a 7 film retrospective in 2010. Oldenburg Film Festival held a retrospective in 2014. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His art and films are represented in museums and archives internationally, and the National Archives of the United States has established the Philippe Mora Collection. The National Film Archives of Australia has an extensive collection of his work. He is currently completing features DAY AND SUNLIGHT and STRANGE MATTERS.

Susan Morgan Cooper
Susan Morgan Cooper is a Director/Producer/ Writer and her credits include:

To the Moon and Back, Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer 2016 (A cinematic act of love and courage’ … Broadway World) – Hopper [In his own words] Documentary, Producer/Writer 2013 (“I was moved to tears” Mike Medavoy) – Mulberry Child, Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer 2012 (‘A powerful and touching film’… 31/2 stars. Roger Ebert) – An Unlikely Weapon [The Eddie Adams Story]..Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer 2008 ( ‘A terrific documentary’ The Hollywood Reporter) – Making Of Shadows in The Sun, Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer 2005 – Heroes And Sheroes. Television Series, Director/Producer/Writer 2000
Mirjana: One Girl’s Journey, Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer 1997 – Stringers, Narrative Short Director/Producer/Writer 1990 – Hadley’s Rebellion, Narrative Feature Associate Producer 1989

Chale Nafus
Born in Dallas during World War II, Chale Nafus attended public schools, spent summers on his sister’s ranch in Comanche County in the 1950s, learned Spanish from schoolmates, and dreamed of getting out of Dallas. After getting through freshman year at SMU, he worked at Texas Instruments before realizing he really needed a college education. After attending the University of Texas at Arlington (B.A., English), La Universidad Autónoma de México, and UT Austin (M.A., English/RTF), he began a long college teaching career at Texas Southmost College (Brownsville), La Universidad de Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Kingsborough Community College (Brooklyn), and finally Austin Community College (1973-1998). At the latter, he founded the Department of Radio-TV-Film, taught classes in film studies, and for seven years served as Chair of Humanities (Northridge Campus). Retiring in 1998, Chale spent 4 years traveling and writing before joining the staff of Austin Film Society as Director of Programming (2002-2015). He is now totally retired and happily serving on the boards of Austin Film Society and OUTsider Fest as well as the advisory committees of IndieMeme (South Asian film organization) and Cine Las Americas.

Neda Nobari
Neda Nobari is a community activist and founder of the Neda Nobari Foundation, a decade-old private foundation that advocates for social justice through the arts and education. Social Impact Cinema is one of the five tightly related focused areas of the foundation, seeking to capture critical, complex narratives reflecting societal problems and essential global struggles of our time through the power of storytelling, serving to catalyze personal and community action in the spirit of engaged civic activism and bringing a renewed meaning to democracies driven by people power.

Before launching her career in community service, Nobari was the Vice Chair and founding member of Bebe Stores, Inc. for 22 years. Nobari is a graduate of San Francisco State University (B.S. Computer Science ‘84) and Dartmouth (M.A. Liberal Studies, ‘15.) Her graduate research at Dartmouth focused on the intersection of diaspora and cultural identity of Iranian-American women.

Bijan Tehrani
Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as Editor in Chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language & History of film workshops and organizes film screening events and festivals. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children’s books.

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 Award from Hungarian Film festival.
Bijan Tehrani is recently working on a book of his memoire from Cinema in Iran and a docufiction based on 19th century photographs by Sevruguin, the Russian photographer.

Pamela Yates
Pamela Yates (Writer, director, activist) was born and raised in the Appalachian coal-mining region of Pennsylvania but left at a young age to live New York City. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, the Director of the Sundance Award winning “When the Mountains Tremble”, the Producer of the Emmy Award winning “Loss of Innocence,” and the Executive Producer of the Academy Award winning “Witness to War.” She most recently directed the film “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator”,” which served as key evidence in the Ríos Montt genocide trial in Guatemala. Previously Yates directed, “The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court,” a feature-length film and educational initiative and “State of Fear”, a feature-length documentary that tells the epic story of Peru’s 20-year war on terror based on the findings of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Pamela is a co-founder and partner of Skylight Pictures, a company committed to producing artistic, challenging and socially relevant independent media and media strategies on issues of human rights and the quest for justice.

The eight nominees for HP’s Borders Bridging The Borders Award are: Amerika Square, Director Yannis Sakaridis, (Greece/UK/Germany), Bodied, Director: Joseph Kahn (US), Eye on Juliet, Director: Kim Nguyen, (Canada/France/Morocco), Good Manners, Directors: Juliana Rojas & Marco Dutra (Brazil/France), The Insult, Director: Ziad Doueiri (Lebanon/France/Belgium/Cyprus/US), Jupiter’s Moon, Director: Kornél Mundruczó (Hungary/Germany), Sweet Country, Director: Warwick Thornton ( Australia), and Zama, Director: Lucrecia Martel, (Argentina/Spain/France). The Bridging The Borders Award winning film will be announced on Saturday, January 13th, at the Palm Springs International Film Festival award ceremony.

Amerika Square 
Director Yannis Sakaridis, (Greece/UK/Germany)
With a story and setting drawn from the front lines of Europe’s refugee crisis, Amerika Square, is an eye-opening and enthralling drama that explores the business of borders and the causes and repercussions of nationalist resentment.

Though the bigotry-spewing Nakos (Makis Papadimitriou, Chevalier, PSIFF 2016; Suntan, PSIFF 2017) longs for the days when his neighborhood square was not crowded with immigrants and refugees, his left-leaning friend Billy still humors him. Maybe Billy feels sorry for his lifelong friend, the perpetually single, jobless, 38-year-old who still lives with his parents, or maybe the tattoo artist has nothing better to do in their low-income neighborhood of Athens. In the same neighborhood, but practically another universe, Syrian refugee Tarek will sacrifice everything to secure safe passage out of Nakos’ beloved city for himself and his daughter. And when Nakos takes his obsession with “making Athens Greek again” to an extreme, Billy must confront his own silent complicity.

Director: Joseph Kahn (US)

In one of the most provocative and daring films of 2017, director Joseph Kahn depicts the tale of Adam, a white grad student obsessed with the world of underground battle rap where competitors go head to head in combat where wits and put downs are weapons. Enamored with the wordplay of the events, Adam is determined to write his thesis on the nuances of racially charged colloquial terms used in the most impressive insults. When a chance encounter puts him front and center as an unexpected participant in the battles he embraces it, only to discover that being mean for sport might push him towards his darker tendencies.

Attacking the material with a ferocious energy, Kahn’s direction is as kinetic as it is thoughtful. A daring satire with a musical twist, Bodied confronts the complexities of modern race relations head-on while paying tribute the power of language.

Eye on Juliet
Director: Kim Nguyen, (Canada/France/Morocco)\An American security professional and a young Moroccan woman forge an unusual connection across time zones in the latest from War Witch (PSIFF 2013) director Kim Nguyen.

Gordon works the night shift at a global security company, monitoring an oil pipeline in Northern Africa via remote-controlled, spider-like hexapod robots. During a typical shift he observes camels, goat herders and the occasional threat from local thieves arriving to siphon oil. But when Gordon witnesses the clandestine meetings between Ayusha and the man she loves, Gordon’s involvement in his work and the people on the other side of his drone’s cameras begins to change. Excellent performances from Joe Cole and Lina El Arabi convey how each character is trapped in their own life, paradoxically limited and liberated by the modern world.

Eye on Juliet offers a story of fundamental human connection and an understated commentary on technology’s influence on our lives, quietly compelling viewers to make their own decisions.

Good Manners
Directors: Juliana Rojas & Marco Dutra (Brazil/France)
In this fresh, provocative film, Clara lives a solitary life in a São Paulo favela, struggling for stability in a society where black women aren’t often given their due. Answering an ad for a live-in nanny, she soon finds herself in a chic, high-rise apartment being interviewed by bored, beautiful mother-to-be Ana.

What begins as an inauspicious interrogation unexpectedly becomes a full-time job for Clara, and a deepening personal connection between the struggling nanny and the wealthy heiress. Yet Clara realizes something is horribly amiss with her new employer, particularly during full moons, so when Ana’s baby suddenly forces himself into the world—in spectacularly bloody fashion—the beleaguered nanny takes the monstrous newborn as her own, beginning a new life as a mother and leading to an unforgettable reckoning.

Writers/directors Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra have crafted a dark fairy tale with undercurrents that scrutinize personal and social divides. Winner: Special Jury Award, Locarno Film Festival; Best Film, Rio de Janiero.

The Insult
Director: Ziad Doueiri (Lebanon/France/Belgium/Cyprus/US)
What should have been a trivial altercation, quickly settled and forgotten, instead propels two men to the center of a politically charged scandal in Lebanon—one that reopens historical and political wounds on both sides.

When Yasser, a Palestinian refugee and building foreman, and Tony, a Christian nationalist and auto mechanic, go head to head after a misunderstanding involving a drainpipe on Tony’s balcony, Yasser utters an insult Tony cannot forgive. The events immediately following result in the two stubborn men facing off in court where, fueled by the media and a famous right-wing Christian lawyer, old wounds and unresolved tension threaten to divide a nation.

With superb performances by Adel Karam and Kamel El Basha, director Ziad Doueiri’s newest offering is a fast-paced, timely and smart film that interjects humor into a very real debate that, though set in Beirut, will be all too recognizable to American audiences.

Jupiter’s Moon
Director: Kornél Mundruczó (Hungary/Germany)
Thoroughly cinematic and replete with images that will take your breath away, iconoclastic Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s parable-like drama offers up the tale of young Syrian refugee Aryan who, after being shot while attempting to cross the border into Hungary, discovers he is possessed of a magical power: he can fly. Aryan wants to use his befuddling new gift to find his missing father. Before he can do that, though, he comes under the influence of unscrupulous refugee-camp doctor Gabor, who sees nothing but dollar signs when considering Aryan’s power.

Mundruczó uses the men’s burgeoning relationship and a thriller-like plot to skewer the narrow-minded socio-political attitudes of his fellow citizens, while Aryan’s flights provide the director—and his gifted cinematographer, Marcell Rév—with ample opportunity to create some of the most lyrical and, frankly, astonishing visuals to grace cinema screens this year.

Sweet Country
Director: Warwick Thornton ( Australia)
Required big-screen viewing, with elements of classic Westerns and courtroom drama, this compelling period tale is a layered story of prejudice, the imbalance of power, and the particular, troubled history of a place.

Sam, an Indigenous Australian man, lives peacefully with his wife and Fred Smith (Sam Neill), a white preacher in Alice Springs, an outpost in the Northern Territory. Fred believes “all are equal in the eyes of the Lord,” a stark contrast to new arrival Harry March, a veteran of the Western Front who’s steered by his inner demons. A violent confrontation requires Sam to act in self-defense, and as no white men witness the justness of Sam’s actions the truth only comes out with Sam’s own life on the line.

Superb cinematography contrasts the darkness of the human psyche to the stark beauty of the land, allowing no doubt that nature is still the ultimate master here—despite the misguided claims of men.

Director: Lucrecia Martel, (Argentina/Spain/France)
In the late 18th century, at the far reaches of the Spanish Empire, Don Diego de Zama serves as magistrate at a small colonial outpost. A haggard and forlorn figure, Zama knows the only way to escape his miserable frontier existence is to secure a transfer from the crown.

As the years pass and his letters go unanswered, he begins to sink deeper into the nightmare of a New World ripped apart by violence and exploitation. A dreamlike adaptation of Antonio di Benedetto’s masterpiece of Argentinean literature, Zama marks the great Lucrecia Martel’s (La Ciénega; The Headless Woman) return to filmmaking for the first time in nearly a decade. With its elliptical narrative and sensuous use of sound, the film is an absurdist and occasionally hallucinatory descent into the mind of a man who will stop at nothing to improve his rank, whatever the cost.


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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