Ahmed’s Song, wins GoE Bridging The Borders Award at SHORTFEST


Palm Springs SHORTFEST has announced Ahmed’s Song,  directed by Foued Mansour, as the winner of GoE’s 2019 Bridging the Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders and sponsored by Go Energistics .

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, jury member and Executive Director of Neda Nobari Foundation, Keely Badger and representative of award sponsor and Exacutive Director of Go Energistics, Chris Rhea presented the award for this year’s GoE Bridging the Borders  honorable mention and award winner. The winner  received  a cash award of $2500 courtesy of Go Energistics. 

The 15 nominees for the 2019 GoE Bridging The Borders Award were: 100 EUR (Australia), Ahmed’s Song (France), Backwards (Israel), Blackwood (Australia), Bodega (USA), Brotherhood (Canada/Tunisia/Qatar/Sweden), The Clinic (USA), Eva Sola (Germany/Spain), Family (Belgium/France), Fatiya (France), Green (USA), Just Me and You (Canada/Quebec), The Shepherd (Norway), South of Bix (USA), and This Is Not a (Iranian) Film (Iran/USA)

In an introduction to the Bridging The Borders Award Bijan Tehrani said: “Hello everyone, it’s a pleasure to be here and participate in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ShortFest . My name is Bijan Tehrani, Founder and Editor in Chief of Cinema Without Borders, an organization dedicated to international and independent cinema. I’m joined by fellow jury member, Keely Badger, Executive Director of the Neda Nobari Foundation, and our award sponsor, Chris Rhea, Executive Director of GoEnergistics.

Cinema Without Borders presents the Bridging the Borders Awards to the films that are most successful in bridging and connecting people through the power of story, and ultimately, bringing the world closer together. The winner of GoE Bridging the Borders Award, receives a $2500 cash award courtesy of our award sponsor, Go Energistics.”

Next Keely Badger mentioned nominees and the  honorable mention by the jury members: “Cinema that transcends borders is a field of independent filmmaking that seeks to tell deep human stories that inspire a ‘revolution’ of the heart. These stories capture critical, complex narratives that reflect societal problems, and some of the most fundamental global struggles of our time. This year’s short selection, not surprisingly, took us around the globe – from Vienna to Tel Aviv, Syria to Turkey, and beyond…exploring the diverse themes of displacement, loss of homeland, and identity, as well as, coming-of-age stories, intergenerational trauma, and finding power in something as simple as a mother’s poem.

Each of these talented filmmakers have captured through their lens stories that are deeply rooted in the ideals of social justice, human rights, and everyday empathy for our fellow neighbors, both near and far, in the hope that viewers will not only be informed and inspired, but most importantly, moved to meaningful action.

I’m also honored to present this year’s Bridging The Borders Honorable Mention goes to Green, a short, directed by Suzanne Andreas Correa. Unfortunately the director is not here, but she has sent us a message that I read it for you – Receiving a special mention for the Bridging Borders Award is an honor that affirms what Mustafa and I set out to do when we began our collaboration. GREEN was made by members of two groups targeted by the current U.S. administration — Muslim and Mexican communities. Though an unlikely pairing, it was no accident that we would come together to tell a story about brothers, brotherhood, and the bonds that defy borders and politics. We fought to make this film with love and generosity and that is our resistance to the divisive
alternative put forward by those currently in power in many parts of the world. Many thanks to the Palm Springs International Film Society and Short Fest for including us in this incredible festival among so many amazing films. Thank you to Go Energistics and Cinema Without Borders for presenting this important award and for recognizing GREEN. My deepest thanks to Mustafa, Michael, Erol, Aziz, Farhad, and Pinar. GREEN owes everything to your unique talents and inspiring gifts. Thank you.”

Chris Rhea, Executive Director of GoEnergistics announced 2019 winner of the GoE Bridging The Borders Award: “It is an honor for us to play a significant role in the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival working hand and hand with Cinema Without Borders to present the GoE Bridging The Borders Award.

One day, Ahmed, employed at the public baths in Paris, and nearing retirement, encounters Mike, a teenager, adrift. Inside the bathhouse walls, in a place on the verge of disappearing, a strange relationship will develop between these two-fractured souls. This tale, about the encounter between rigor and rebellion, explores an unlikely bond of friendship that challenges and changes how both men see the world.

GoE Bridging the Borders Award winning film represents everything we love about the notion of bridging borders. Filled throughout with the authentic experience of what it means to be human, to long for belonging, comradery and family, the story bridges nationalities, faiths, generations, worldviews and even music genres, to leave audiences with a sense of enduring hope for a world where borders mean much less and our human bonds mean much more.

I’m thrilled to present the winner film…Ahmed’s Song from France – Directed by Foued Mansour. Eric du Bellay will receive the award on behalf of Foued Mansour”

Eric du Bellay read the award acceptance statement by Foued Mansour for the audience: “First of all, I’m sorry I cannot be here with you, but I think Eric has perfectly represented the film and he keeps doing it; it will cost me a new meal (ça c’est cadeau).
Thanks to the Palm Springs Festival for giving the opportunity to show the film to an audience from around the world.  Thank you to the jury for this award, you do no idea how much it makes me a happy man. This award is the most beautiful of all, sorry for others. We made this film with this desire to bring people and generations together, but also to banish borders and walls, all walls, moral ones or brick and barbed wires.
Thanks again.”

Ahmed’s Song (France)
Written and Directed by Foued Mansour
One day Ahmed, employed at the public baths and nearing retirement, encounters Mike, a teenager adrift. Inside the bathhouse walls, in a place on the verge of disappearing, a strange relationship will develop between these two fractured souls.

Original Language Title: Le Chant d’Ahmed
Language: in French/Arabic with English subtitles
Awards: Special Jury Award, Festival Cinéma d’Alès & GoE Bridging The Borders Award
Producers: Rafael Andrea Soatto
Principal Cast: Mohammed Sadi, Bilel Chegrani, Laurent Maurel, Modeste Maurice, Debora Stana
Cinematographers: Pascale Marin
Editor: Yannis Polinacci
Music: Abdelkader Chaou

Green (USA)
Directed by Suzanne Andrews Correa
An undocumented Turkish pedicab driver unwittingly draws police attention, endangering his brother, his community and himself.

Awards: Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction, Sundance Film Festival & GoE Bridging The Borders Honorable Mention
Director: Suzanne Andrews Correa
Producers: Mustafa Kaymak, Michael Peters
Principal Cast: Erol Afsin, Aziz Capkurt
Cinematographers: Farhad Ahmed Dehlvi
Editor: Pinar Yorgancioglu
Screenwriter: Suzanne Andrews Correa, Mustafa Kaymak

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

Keely Badger
Keely Badger is Executive Director of Neda Nobari Foundation (NNF), a philanthropic organization promoting social and environmental justice through arts and education. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Keely leads the foundation’s strategic grantmaking, programs and community engagements, working with a range of nonprofit organizations in the local, national and international advocacy space. As a millennial expert and advocate on international human rights and development issues, Keely pioneers’ durable solutions for underrepresented voices, communities and causes in alignment with the foundation’s focus areas: Holistic Education, Innovative Arts, Transparent Media, Earth Advocacy, and Social Impact Cinema.

Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Iranian acclaimed filmmaker and two times Sundance winner , Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami studied filmmaking( BA) and animation( MA) in Tehran ArtUniversity. Her researches on animated documentary resulted to writing a book, named: “Animated Documentary, a New Way to Express”, which was awarded as the best Persian book on film of year 2010 by Iranian house of Cinema. She has made 6 documentaries and won more than 50 international awards. Her movies have been screened in more than 100 Festivals all around the world and broadcasted from more than 15 TV channels. Her main focus in her documentaries is liberating power of art. She makes documentaries about outsider artists in Iran, especially women who try to have a voice through art although they don’t have any education in art and their life circumstances makes it very unlikely to be an artist. Rokhsareh has been a jury member in festivals like IDFA(International documentary festival of Amsterdam), One World Human Rights Festival ( Prague) and Clermont Ferrand short film Festival ( France)

Basil Khalil
Basil Khalil is an Academy Award and Palme d’Or nominated writer and director, born and raised in Nazareth, to a Palestinian father and British-Irish mother. After studying for an MA at Screen Academy Scotland, Basil worked on television productions in London as well as a festivals & marketing consultant to independent filmmakers.

Basil’s Oscar nominated short film AVE MARIA was described by the New York Times as; “The Middle Eastern answer to ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’.” The film premiered in official competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 before going on to screen at more than 250 film festivals and winning over 35 awards internationally, including the Cinema Without Boarders 1st prize. Basil is a member of AMPAS and sits on the committees that nominate short films and feature animation.

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…


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

TOM Papas
Tom Papas, has over 21 years’ experience in creative design, project management and stakeholder engagement in arts and media organizations. His expertise in various aspects of festival management include administration, programming, graphic designing, marketing, event and media management and everything from formatting files and editing to writing print and online articles. Tom’s years as festival director have been filled with highlights, introducing many screen and digital media initiatives that engaged thousands of people, from short film competitions to global film challenges that raise awareness, provoke and inspire social change. He combines film programming with other art forms and introduced numerous special focus strands from new media screenings to educational programs.

In 2014, he founded the SciFi Film Festival and Veterans Film Festival in Australia and continues to oversee their development and artistic direction.

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 & CineEqual, 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 an online film competition for CineEqual.


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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