CWB Jury & nominees for MOZAIK Bridging The Borders Award at 2021 Lucas FF


Cinema Without Borders has announced its jury members to decide on the winner of 2021 MOZAIK Bridging The Borders Award at the LUCAS International Festival for Young Film Lover in Germany. LUCAS programmers have also announced the nominees for the Cinema Without Borders’ Bridging The Borders Award sponsored by MOZAIK Philanthropy.

A jury of six, formed by CWB will decide on the winning films at the closing night of the festival. Keely Badger, Executive Director of MOZAIK, the sponsor of the Bridging The Borders Award, will announce the winning film in a video message that will be played at the awards ceremony of the festival. The winning filmmakers will then receive award diplomas from Yeganeh Taheri, the CWB Editor in Germany.
LUCAS – International Festival for Young Film Lovers is Germany’s oldest festival for young audiences. In 2021, the festival celebrates its 44th edition from September 30th to October 7th. Within the competition sections in the age categories 8+, 13+ and 16+ Youngsters, LUCAS festival puts its focus on outstanding, international productions of children and youth films, including all film forms from fiction, documentary, to animation and experimental formats.

Cinema Without Borders presents its Bridging The Borders Award, sponsored by MOZAIK Philanthropy, for the fourth time at LUCAS International Festival for Young Film Lovers. The jury members include:

Keely Badger is Executive Director of MOZAIK, a new millennial-led philanthropic organization committed to exploring and modeling new practices in philanthropy with disruptive, creative, and catalytic potential. 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 by working to democratize philanthropy through participatory grantmaking praxis.

Parisa Barani is an award-winning Iranian American Canadian film director. Barani is slated to direct the upcoming features HARAM and HAJI and is in development for another feature based on Jennifer Blackmer’s play HUMAN TERRAIN. Her proof-of-concept short for HUMAN TERRAIN, which was produced in association with Abigail Disney and Adrienne Becker’s Level Forward studio, stars Maggie Siff and Sarita Choudhury and distributed by Refinery29/Shatterbox. It debuted at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival and was in competition at Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival.

Barani’s directorial debut ABLUTION screened at festivals worldwide, including Mill Valley Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest and Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase.
Barani is a participant of 2021-23 ViacomCBS Emerging Directors Program, the 2019-2021 Universal Directors Initiative and 2021 Creative Capital’s On Our Radar and a recipient of the 2016/2019 Tribeca Film Institute Sloan Grant and a grant from Neda Nobari Foundation. She has been shortlisted and semi-finalist for Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Sony Pictures’ Television Diversity Program, NBC Female Forward/Emerging Director program and Creative Capital Award.
In addition to filmmaking, Barani has curated and spoken on panels at SXSW, San Francisco State University and teaches at the Youth Cinema Project’s Latino Film Institute. She is a graduate of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women and SITI’s Theatre Intensive Training at Skidmore College, where she was mentored by the legendary Anne Bogart.”

Rachel O’Meara has been a working actor across film, TV and theatre for over 20 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, and in Dubai, also spending years working in Germany, France, Brunei, Nepal and Hong Kong, all together giving her a significant first-hand insight to international cinema. She attends as many different film festivals as she can. Rachel’s selected screen credits include the upcoming “Hyperions” (Cary Elwes), “Mechanic: Resurrection” (Jason Statham, Tommy Lee Jones / Lionsgate), “Day Of The Dead:Bloodline” (Millennium Films),“Training Day” (Bill Paxton / CBS), “Spotless” (Denis Menochet / NETFLIX), “War Inc.” (John Cusack, Marisa Tomei / Millennium Films), “The Experiment” (Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker), “Until Death” (JC Van Damme), in addition to many more indie films and TV series.


Chale Nafus was born in Dallas during World War II, he 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.

Yeganeh Taheri, a graduated as a film editor from School of Television and Cinema in 1980 and left Iran for Germany in 1989 where she started her career as a stage actress. Yeganeh’s first performance on stage was with Farhad Majedabadi in A House in a suitcase. This was followed by a few puppet shows for kids in TV with Nargess Vafadar (The stories of Ghandi and his Mother & Jewel Box) and two other acting performance directed by Nilufar Beyzaee (Marjan, Mani and a few small problems & Face to face at the threshold of the cold season).
Yeganeh Taheri approached photography starting a decade ago and her photos shows her keen eyes for picking interesting subjects and compositions. She has covered many different subjects in her photos, including photos from theater performances.
Yeganeh Taheri still lives in Germany and beside photography spends her time on translation of children stories between two languages of Farsi and German.


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 memoir from Cinema in Iran and a docufiction based on 19th century photographs by Sevruguin, the Russian photographer.

GoE Bridging The Borders Award Nominees
The eight feature films nominated by Lucas International Festival for Young Film Lovers organizers for the MOZAIK Bridging The Borders Award are:

Any Day Now
Finland – Director: Hamy Ramezan. Screenplay: Hamy Ramezan, Antti Rautava
A seemingly perfect summer: 13-year-old Ramin roams the woods with his friend Jigi. They go swimming and to parties. Besides there is also this girl who gives Ramin butterflies in his stomach. But then his family’s asylum application is rejected by the Finnish authorities – what now? Does his family have to go back to Iran and leave Finland forever? Full of warmth and humor, ANY DAY NOW narrates the fate of a refugee family that grows on you and stands as an example for many other people who have to find a new home.

Hamy Ramezan is a Finish-Iranian director and screenwriter. He arrived in Finland in 1990 after his family had to flee Iran. In 2007 he graduated from UCA in Franham, UK. ENSILUMI is his feature film debut.

Canada 2020. Director: Tracey Deer. Screenplay: Tracey Deer, Meredith Vuchnich
The nickname Beans actually stands for Tekahentahkhwa. The sheltered 12-year-old girl grows up near Quebec. Beans’ perfect world is shattered when conflicts arise between the Mohawk community and the neighboring town of Oka, which wants to construct a building on an indigenous cemetery. Peaceful protests are met with racist violence, stones and fired shots. Beans no longer understands the world. How is she supposed to deal with all this chaos? Based on her own experiences, the director tells the individual and political self-assertion of a girl who, against the backdrop of the 1990 Oka crisis, suddenly must grow up far too quickly.

Tracy Deer is a Canadian filmmaker. She received numerous awards, including the TIFF Birks Diamond Tribute Award for the series MOHAWAK GIRLS, which she directed. Deer is chairwoman of the Board of Women in View, a non-profit women’s equality organization in the Canadian media sector.

Netherlands – Director: Eché Janga. Screenplay: Eché Janga & Esther Duysker
“The wind is always with me”. It is a blustery world in which Kenza lives on the small Caribbean Island of Curaçao. The 11-year-old misses her dead mother. While grandpa Weljo tells her about the world of spirits who influence everything with their magic, father Ouira is very strict. How wonderful would it be if Kenza could use magic to have her mother around her again – but is there any truth to grandpa’s mystical stories? The calmly depicted film radiates the power of magical realism, immerses itself into the visible and invisible, and accompanies the girl on her path between tradition and future.

Director Eché Janga graduated from the Netherland Film Academy with the film MO, which won several awards. His first feature film HELIUM premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and was also the winner of two national film awards.

The Castel
Lithuania/Ireland 2019. Director: Lina Lužytė. Screenplay: Lina Lužytė.
Monika dreams of a great career as a singer. She came from Lithuania to Dublin with her mother Jolanta and her emended grandmother to escape poverty. Now they move from family celebrations to funerals. The 13-year-old sings and Jolanta accompanies her on the piano. They are still short of money. When a music producer takes notice of Monika, a successful future seems within reach. But Jolanta has other worries. THE CASTLE sensitively tells the story of three women struggling for recognition in the Lithuanian diaspora. A film full of surprising twists and turns and lead by an impressive young actress.

Lina Lužytė was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, and graduated with a master’s degree in film directing in 2011. Since then, she has directed numerous documentary and feature film productions. She is currently part of the documentary project 199 LITTLE HEROES: JÉSÙS FROM MEXICO.

France/Morocco 2020. Director: Ismaël Ferroukhi. Screenplay: Ismaël Ferroukhi, Fadette Drouard.
Mica lives with his mother and his sick father in the slums of Meknès in Morocco. At the age of ten, he must already earn money for his family. As a suitable opportunity presented itself, he was sent to Casablanca. There he works as an assistant in a tennis club frequented by the city’s upper class. It is a strange world in which Mica has to live with humiliation and contempt and soon realizes that he must take his fate into his own hands. Fleeing to Europe seems to be the only way out. Only when the former Tennis champion Sophia recognizes his talent on the tennis court, a new opportunity arises for Mica.

The French Moroccan director Ismael Ferroukhi first drew attention with his short film L’EXPOSÉ, which won two awards at the Cannes Film Festival. His directorial debut LE GRAND VOYAGE won an award at the Venice Film Festival and his latest film LES HOMMES LIBRES screened at the Cannes Film.

The Reason I Jump
USA/United Kingdom 2020. Director: Jerry Rothwell. Screenplay: Naoki Higashida
They come from all over the world, yet they share a common fate: young autistic people who cannot speak. Based on Naoki Higashida’s bestseller of the same name, which described his life as an autistic person at the age of 13, THE REASON I JUMP portrays remarkable people who give an intimate insight into their lives. Sounds, images, associations, and words open a window to an overwhelming, sensory universe that carries a message at its core: Not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.

The British documentary filmmaker Jerry Rothwell has won numerous awards at international film festivals. Among others, his film HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD won the World Doc Special Jury Award and the Editing Candescent Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2015.

Shadow Games
Netherlands 2021. Director:  Eefje Blankevoort, Els Van Driel. Screenplay:  Eefje Blankevoort
They call it „The Game“ but it is a life-threatening endeavor. Alone or as a group, adolescents try to reach the EU through the Balcan route. They sleep under motorway bridges, traverse raging rivers at sub-zero temperatures at night and hide in trains and trucks. It is an Odyssey which they document on TikTok and Instagram. Over WhatsApp they keep in contact with their families. If the border police catches the minors, they have to expect mistreatments and illegal pushbacks. Their mobile phones become film cameras and show us close-up that the fortress Europe does not want them. But a return to their home countries is no option.

Els van Driel is a journalist and director. As part of her work for IKON television she directed the documentary series MENSJESRECHTEN, which addresses children’s rights. Eefje Blankevoort is a journalist, plans interactive projects and exhibitions and directs documentaries.

The Whaler Boy
Russia/Poland/Belgium 2020. Director: Philipp Yuryev. Screenplay: Philipp Yuryev
Leshka lives in a remote village at the Bering Strait. Like every other man in his Inuit-Community, he is out there in the rugged nature as a whaler at only 15. When the internet finally reaches his area it is a welcome distraction for him. It does not take long until Leshka „meets” „HollySweet999“ on a webcam-erotic website. To him it is love at first sight. He is extremely determined to find this woman in the real world. Against all resistances he goes on a daring journey to Alaska. This Coming-of-Age-Drama impresses with an extraordinary setting, a dry sense of humour and a great soundtrack.

Philipp Yuryev grew up in Moscow. He studied at the Russian State University of Cinematography. His graduation film THE SONG OF THE MECHANICAL FISH was selected by the Sundance Film Festival and the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival for their respective short film program.


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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