Eldorado wins GoE Bridging The Borders Award at Palm Springs IFF


Burbank, CA – January 12th, 2019 – Today Eldoradi (Switzerland), directed by Markus Imhoof, was announced as the winner of  GoE Bridging the Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders at 2019 Palm Springs International Film Festival

This year’s award ceremony festival was held at Grand Ballroom of Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs. The Editor-in-Chief of CWB, Bijan Tehrani, filmmaker, jury member Susan Morgan Cooper and Adam Shepherd from GoEnergistics (Award and prize sponsor) presented the award for this year’s GoE Bridging the Borders award winner. The winner received a cash award of $2500 from CWB’s generous sponsors.

The 7 nominees for the 2019 GoE Bridging The Borders Award were: City of Joel (USA) – Dead Pigs (China)- Eldorado (Switzerland) – The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste García (Cuba/Germany) – The Grizzlies (Canada) – Miriam Lies (Dominican Republic/Spain) – and Smuggling Hendrix (Cyprus/Germany/Greece).

In an introduction to the Bridging The Borders Award Bijan Tehrani said: “This is the eleventh year that we re offering Bridging The Borders Award at Palm Springs International Film Festival. We love this festival as it is the festival pf people, not only cinephiles, but ordinary people interact with Palm Springs International Film Festival. The GoE Bridging The Borders Award offered by Cinema Without Borders goes to a film that is most successful in bridging and connecting the people of our world closer together and this mission is needed now more than any time in the past. One of the films that matched the description of the Bridging The Borders Award and won it ten years ago was a beautiful Finnish film called “Letters to Father Jacob” . I am happy to announce that director of the “Letters to Father Jacob”  is among us tonight, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Klaus Haro. We are pleased to offer a cash award of $2500 provided by our sponsor GoEnergistics”

Next Susan Morgan Cooper mentioned nominees and the honorable mention by the jury members, Smuggling Hendrix: ‘A Greek man is forced to cross a border checkpoint in Cyprus to retrieve his missing dog.He is treated compassionately by the Turkish officials on the other side and ironically is offered no empathy by his own country when he tries to bring his pet back home. The Honorable mention goes to Smuggling Hendrix, a narrative film directed with sweet humor by Marios Piperides”

Adam Shepherd read the jury statement and announced the winner of the award: ” The winning film poignantly captures the ‘them’ and ‘us’ issue of the refugee crisis . Traumatized humans resembling a giant fishing catch are crammed together in the hull of a metal boat.The flimsy gold foil blankets which fail to protect them from the elements seem to be a metaphor for the seemingly good yet insubstantial options offered by their rescuing country. The winning film is Eldorado directed by Markus Imhoof”

Markus Imhoof winning filmmaker sent an award presentation speech on video that was played on a large screen at the award ceremony: “As a child, I had made a discovery that confused me:
Everyone else said to themselves: I…
But I’m me!
Now suddenly all the other “I”,
You, you and you!
You all are me!
That makes me dizzy.
The Universe is 13,8 billion years old,
And for 6 million years, we’ve been trying to understand.
500 years ago, a German philosopher said:
” the center of the universe is everywhere.”
So each of us is the center of the universe.
This is not arrogance, but reason for modesty:
Because we all, all these countless centers of the universe, can only survive if we become bridgeheads for bridges.
But bridge heads are not enough – it also needs bridge hearts.
The consequences for politics and everyday life would be great!
Thank you.
I am particularly grateful for this Goe Bridging The Borders Award because he is an answer to one of the central questions of my film.
Thank you!” Markus Imhoof

Eldorado (Switzerland) Directed by Markus Imhoof

The plight of refugees has been an ongoing and very personal issue for Swiss director Markus Imhoof, whose fiction feature The Boat Is Full was a foreign language Academy Award® nominee in 1982 and whose documentary More Than Honey was a Festival favorite in 2013. His documentary Eldorado tracks today’s African and Middle Eastern refugees on their dangerous journey to Europe and parallels it with his memories of a malnourished Italian child his family took in just after World War II — and who died after the Swiss government forced her to return home. In promotional materials for the film, Imhoof reveals his inspiration for his new work, “One of today’s principles is ‘Refugees for reasons of economic plight do not count as refugees,’ because most fall under this category. I would not have thought 35 years ago that the title of my film [The Boat Is Full] would be concrete and urgent enough once again to force me to shoot another film on the subject.”

Smuggling Hendrix (Cyprus/Germany/Greece) Directed by Marios Piperides

The on-the-ground realities of a divided Nicosia and its complicated political situation come through loud and clear in this delightful comedy, directed with the lightest of touches. The protagonist is Yiannis, an about-to-emigrate Greek-Cypriot musician. When his beloved dog Jimi (Hendrix, natch) accidentally wanders over to the Turkish side of the capital, European Union laws bar the pooch’s return. So Yiannis is forced to think creatively, since their ticket to Amsterdam is set for three days hence. Can Yiannis retrieve his dog, avoid his angry landlady, dodge the menacing collectors sent by a local loan shark and get to the airport on time? Traveling to the Turkish side of Nicosia marks a journey into his own past, complete with a visit to his childhood home and a fraught reunion with his beautiful former girlfriend. As this crowd-pleaser ups the comic ante by placing more and more outrageous obstacles in the way of returning with the dog, it also reinforces the common humanity of all involved in the recovery project.

Cinema Without Borders’ jury members to decide the 2019 winner of the GoE Bridging The Borders Award were:

Rakhshan Banietemad
Rakhshan Banietemad, born in 1954 Tehran, began to make documentaries for the Iranian National Television in 1979. From 1979 to 1987 she focused on making only documentaries. In 1987, she directed her first feature film Off the Limits. In 1991, she became the first woman recipient of the Best Director award for Nargess at Fajr International Film Festival in Iran. In 1995, she won the Bronze Leopard for The Blue Veiled at the Locarno Film Festival. Under the Skin of the City, her next film, was the highest grossing film in Iran in 2000. This film along with Gilaneh (2005) and Mainline (2006), garnered major awards in more than 50 film festivals.
While Banietemad’s feature films have been acclaimed and honored worldwide, her documentaries have also been successful and popular internationally. Our Times …, was the first documentary ever to be released in the movie theatres in Iran in 2002. It was also screened in highly prestigious and prominent festivals and TV channels such as IDFA, Sundance Film Festival and ARTE.

In 2008, she received an honorary doctorate from University of London, in 2010, she was awarded the Prix Henri Langlois from Vincennes International Film Festival. Her latest feature film, Tales, was awarded the Best Screenplay prize in the main competition section of 2014 Venice International Film Festival.
More recently, she has joined the Academy Oscar, Writers branch in 2017.

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.

Jim Miller
Jim Miller is the Executive Director of Brave New Films, a position he has held for the past 11 years. Most recently he produced the documentary ‘Making A Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA. In addition, he produced the docs ‘Koch Brothers Exposed’, ‘War on Whistle blowers’ and ‘Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars’. Jim is responsible for helping to form our partner coalitions to help spread our videos throughout the world. His film experience began over 25 years ago working on the 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.


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

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.

Daniel Sawka
Daniel was born in Sweden and started working as a child actor in theater. After directing and acting in his own amateur theater productions Daniel made short films and left Stockholm to train as an actor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
His theater background laid the foundation for his work in film. After writing and directing shorts Daniel attended the MFA Directing Program at the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles.
Daniel’s short film Icebox, which the feature is based on, was shortlisted for the 2018 Academy Awards, won the Grand Jury Award at AFI Fest and screened at Telluride, Clermont-Ferrand, Seattle International Film Festival and Gothenburg among other festivals.
Icebox is Daniel’s first feature film. The film was created together with Gracie Films and Endeavor Content and produced by James L. Brooks, Richard Sakai, Julie Ansell and David Greathouse.

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. 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



About Bridging The Borders Award sponsor, GoEnergistics
GoEnergistics is dedicated to “Serving Those Who Serve
Federal and Private Sector healthcare facilities form the back-bone of an industry focused on healing environments and serving the needs of their patients. As a trusted partner of choice, GoEnergistics’ mission is to dramatically improve healthcare buildings and delivery systems to empower optimal performance and promote the best possible care. Whether it is planning services, design, procurement assistance, medical equipment installation, logistics support or “all-of-the-above,” GoEnergistics is committed to “Building Solutions that FiT Your Healthcare Needs.”


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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