MOZAIK Bridging The Borders Award at 2023 SEEfest


Cinema Without Borders is proud to present MOZAIK Bridging The Borders Award for the 15  year at the prestigious SEEfest, South East European Film Festival LA. MOZAIK Bridging The Borders Award offered by Cinema Without Borders and sponsored by MOZAIK Philanthropy goes to a feature film that helps bringing people of our world closer together. Winner will be announced on May 3rd during the closing ceremony of the 18th Edition of the festival at the Fine Arts theater. SEEfest will run from April 26th to may 3rd..

Jury members for MOZAIK Bridging the Borders Award are:

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

Arameh Etemadi
Arameh Etemadi is a versatile media professional with extensive experience in television production, documentary direction, journalism, and film criticism. Since 2007, she has been recognized as a film critic for Iranian Film Magazine, where she is known for her insightful articles and film reviews. In 2014, she won the award for Best Art Interviewer from the Iranian Society of Film Critics and Writers (ISFCW).

Currently, Arameh Etemadi works as a film critic for Film-e Emrooz Magazine, and her writing has also appeared in a range of other publications, including Chelcheragh, Hamshahri Javan, Shargh Newspaper, Tehran-e Emrooz, and 24 monthly magazine. She was born and raised in Tehran, where she began her professional career as a journalist and film critic for Hamshahri and NaghshAfarinan in 2004. She holds a master’s degree in Journalism and has studied Social Communication Science in Tehran and Arameh Etemadi completed post-production courses at UCLA. In addition to her work as a film critic, Arameh Etemadi is also a talented writer, director, and live TV show producer. Her documentary on the life and works of “Mohamadreza Lotfi” was released in 2015, showcasing her skills as a director.

In 2022, Arameh Etemadi directed and produced two documentaries about cryptocurrency. Furthermore, she co-founded and served as Artistic Director of the Sheed Film Festival in Dallas, TX, in 2016 and 2017.

Arati Misro
Arati has dedicated most of her career to storytelling, through the medium of film and TV, and has worked in independent film sales, marketing and distribution in the U.S and abroad. She has produced several award winning films, and hails from one of the top film schools in the world, AFI, with an MFA degree. She has worked for major studios like Fox and Sony.

Misro is a proud Native of California. Misro holds an undergrad degree in Cultural Anthropology and Mass Communications from U.C San Diego.

Misro is currently producing a feature film called ” LoveBeats” among several other projects that are development. Her career has taken her through various parts of the world and enjoys learning about other cultures and traditions. She has spent extensive time in India pursuing her passion in educating and empowering women.

Ramin Niami
Ramin Niami is an award-winning Iranian American writer, director, and producer of feature films and documentaries. After studying film at Polytechnic of Central London (University of Westminster) and making festival favorite Michael, presented by the BFI (British Film Institute), Niami worked on films for Channel 4 and BBC.

Ramin’s filmography as director includes feature debut Somewhere in the City which features a star-studded cast including Bai Ling and Sandra Bernhard and premiered at the Seattle Film Festival, thriller Paris, shown in main competition at the Tribeca Film festival, award-winning documentary feature, Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn, and romantic comedy Shirin in Love starring Nazanin Boniadi and Riley Smith. These films released theatrically, and shown on networks like HBO, CINEMAX,TMC and Showtime.

His most recent film, psychological horror/thriller, Eye Without a Face released in US, Canada by Cinedigm, UK by101fils and Eastern Europe, and is currently available on all major platforms. As producer Ramin’s work includes Iranian New Wave director Amir Naderi’s first English language film Manhattan by Numbers, and Naderi’s latest film, Magic Lantern which both premiered in the Venice International Film Festival.

Ramin has several documentary and narrative projects currently in development.

Bijan Tehrani
Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as Editor in Chief of Cinema Without Borders and President of Cinema Without Borders Foundation. 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.

Nominees for MOZAIK Bridging The Borders Award are:
The Good Driver Director:Tonislav Hristov
Ivan, a Bulgarian taxi driver living at the Golden Sands tourist resort, is saving money in order to go back to Finland to meet his wife and son, and to make amends for his past mistakes. Money is tight and Ivan is forced to get creative in order to earn faster. This leads him into problems. And if he even gets to another side of Europe, is it possible to fix what has once been broken?
Tonislav Hristov (b. 1978) is a filmmaker born in Bulgaria, based in Finland and Bulgaria. He has directed 7 documentary films that have been screened in numerous festivals around the world, including Sundance, Berlinale, IDFA, HotDocs etc. His documentary The Good Postman (IDFA 2016, Sundance 2017) was nominated for the European Film Awards in 2017. Magic Life of V premiered in Sundance and Berlinale 2019. The Good Driver is Hristov’s first feature film.

The Happiest Man in the World Director: Teona Strugar Mitevska
Asja, a 40-year-old single woman, lives in Sarajevo. In order to meet new people, she ends up spending her Saturday in a speed dating event. She’s matched with Zoran, a 43-year-old banker. However, Zoran is not looking for love but forgiveness.
Teona Strugar Mitevska is Macedonian born Teona Strugar Mitevska started as a child actor, trained as a painter and graphic designer and studied film at NYU-Tisch School of Arts. She directed her first short, VETA, in 2001, and has been making films ever since: HOW I KILLED A SAINT, 2004; I AM FROM TITOV VELES, 2007; THE WOMAN WHO BRUSHED OFF HER TEARS, 2012; TERESA AND I, 2013; WHEN THE DAY HAD NO NAME, 2017 and most recently, GOD EXISTS, HER NAME IS PETRUNYA that premiered in competition in Berlin Film Festival 2019, where it was awarded the Ecumenical Prize, as well at the German Guild Film Prize. Until today the film has received more than 30 awards internationally, most notably the 2019 LUX Prize by the European Parliament and was sold for theatrical release to over 40 territories world-wide. In 2018, France’s Ministry of Culture awarded her the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Letters. THE HAPPIEST MAN THE WORLD is her newest film; she is currently in pre-production of MOTHER, her first English language film. Teona Strugar Mitevska lives between Skopje and Brussels with her son Kaeliok.

Inventory Director: Darko Sinko
Boris Robič is, as we say, an ordinary kind of bloke. One evening, however, someone tries to shoot him. The investigations reveal nothing. No enemies, no suspects. After the police close the investigation, Boris starts to investigate on his own. To his surprise, he discovers that he could be hated by more people than he could have ever imagined.
Darko Sinko (1979) is a film director from Ljubljana, Slovenia. He graduated from the Film Academy (AGRFT) in Ljubljana. He has directed and produced several documentaries and short films. Inventory is his first feature film.

May Labor Day Director: Pjer Žalica
After ten years of absence, Armin comes to Bosnia to surprise his father with good news. But there’s a real surprise waiting for him at home. His father is arrested as a suspect in war crimes. Armin wants to find out the truth, while others find that it’s easier to live in oblivion.
Pjer Žalica Scriptwriter, director, producer, and editor born in Sarajevo, 1964. Professor of directing and scriptwriting. Member of EFA. His films have been shown at many festivals such as: Cannes, Toronto, Locarno, London, Tribeca NYC, and won more than 50 awards including: EFA Discovery Prix Fassbinder – Spec. Mention; EFA Annual Award Best Documentary; Silver Leopard Locarno IFF; Sarajevo FF, Warsaw Grand Prix.

Men of Deeds Director: Paul Negoescu
“Pitch-dark comedy and sociopolitical commentary collide in Paul Negoescu’s portrait of a bumbling cop” – Neil Young, SCREEN
Ilie, a village police chief, wants to build a modest and comfortable life for himself but ends up making all the wrong choices. Middle-aged and alienated, he feels the need to be a part of something – to build an orchard, even a home. Although worrisome things happen in the village, Ilie chooses to turn a blind eye and only sees what suits him. As events keep spiraling out of control he is forced to make choices he has been trying to avoid all his life. In this darkly comic and tragic tale of rural life, Ilie emerges as a reluctant hero, at last finding the purpose and courage to mete out justice.
Born in 1984, Paul Negoescu studied film directing at the National Film School in Bucharest, Romania. His short films were selected for many international festivals (Semaine de la Critique in Cannes, Berlin festival). His debut film, A Month in Thailand, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012. His second feature, Two Lottery Tickets, became one of the most successful Romanian films at the box office. His third feature, The Story of a Summer Lover, which played at SEEfest 2019, was distributed by Netflix in over 30 territories.

Snow and the Bear Director: Selcen Ergun
In a small, snow-covered, remote town of Turkey winter has always been tough, but this year it doesn’t come to an end – in an almost surreal way. Leaving the roads blocked due to heavy snowfall. Rumor has it that bears have risen early from their winter-sleep and killed some animals around. Though no one has really seen them, people are afraid that they will come to the town soon. Aslı is a young nurse who has been appointed here recently for her obligatory service. One cold night, a man from the town goes missing. In this small town – where the biggest problem for the gendarme prior to the incident has been bats haunting the police station – the sudden disappearance of a man creates all sorts of rumors. Step by step, Aslı finds herself in the middle of a whirlwind of power relationships, secrets and doubts.
Selcen Ergun is a director and screenwriter from Turkey. She obtained her MA in Screenwriting and Directing at Istanbul Bilgi University, after studying Industrial Design and Visual Culture at METU, and is a Berlinale Talents alumna. Selcen began her career as an assistant director, working in many national and international productions. Her short films ‘Confrontation’ and ‘A Sunny Day’ have been selected by several international film festivals (including Munich, LUCAS Frankfurt, Brussels, Los Angeles, !fİstanbul, Ankara, and Adana Golden Boll) and awarded prizes. She was selected for the Medienboard Nipkow Artist-in-Residency in 2019. ‘Snow and the Bear’ is her debut feature film; a Turkish, German, and Serbian co-production supported by Eurimages.

Sonne Director: Kurdwin Ayub
Three teenage girls from Vienna twerk in hijab and sing a pop song. A YouTube video of it makes them famous overnight, especially among Kurdish Muslims. Yesmin, the only one of the friends who is Kurdish herself, begins to distance herself more and more from her culture. Nati and Bella, on the other hand, seem fascinated by a world that is strange to them. When the girls meet two young Kurdish patriots, the situation threatens to escalate. A film about young people caught between social media and self-discovery, a story of rebellious young women.
Kurdwin Ayub was born in 1990 in Iraq. She lives and works as a director and screenwriter in Vienna. From 2008 to 2013 she studied painting and experimental animation film at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. At the same time, she studied Performing Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In 2011 and 2012 Ayub won the MehrWERT Short Film Prize at the Viennale and in 2013 the Vienna Independent Shorts Newcomer film prize. Seven of her works were shown in 2016 in a special short film program at the Festival for International Independent Cinema in Buenos Aires (BAFICI), at the Seville European Film Festival (2016), and at the Viennale (2012). For her first feature-length film, the documentary PARADISE! PARADISE!, Ayub was a director, author, and cinematographer. The film was screened at international film festivals and won the prize for best cinematography at the 2016 Diagonale, the New Waves Non-Fiction Award at the 2016 Seville European Film Festival, and the Carte Blanche Newcomers Award at the Duisburg Film Week in 2016. In 2019 Ayub won the Jury Prize for best short film at the Max Ophüls Film Festival with her film BOOMERANG.

Where the Road Leads Director: Nina Ognjanovic
A stranger arrives in a cut-off village, locals suspect his involvement in constructing a highway nearby. A few misunderstandings and lies are enough for the local’s intolerance toward change to turn into an open conflict. Jana falls in love and realizes the danger. She is the only one who can save him.
Nina Ognjanovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia in 1995. Attended Mathematical High School, and almost attended Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, before enrolling at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade for directing in film and television. Made a couple of shorts at the academy – “A Brand New TV” and “They Cry” being the most successful and showcasing at dozens of film festivals around the world. Made “Where the Road Leads” as her thesis project and almost didn’t graduate because professors wouldn’t pass her. Successfully graduated a couple of days later, in April of 2022. Debuted her first feature at Slamdance 2023.

SILENCE 6-9 Director: Christos Passalis
A man and a woman, Aris and Anna, meet in a dream-like coastal town. The town is full of antennas, which emit the voices of the Vanished Ones, inhabitants of the town that have suddenly and inexplicably disappeared. As we watch the daily life and the bizarre rituals of the inhabitants, rituals devoted to the lost ones, Anna and Aris fall in love. A few days later, Anna suddenly disappears.
Christos Passalis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He graduated from the Drama School of the National Theatre of Northern Greece. In cinema, he participated as an actor in Yorgos Lanthimos’s Dogtooth (Prix Un Certain Regard, 2009 Cannes IFF, Best Foreign Language Film nomination at the 83rd Academy Awards), Syllas Tzoumerkas’ Homeland (Venice 2010) and The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea (Berlinale 2019), Vardis Marinakis’ Black Field, and Fiona Tan’s History’s Future. In theatre, he worked with various directors before founding the Blitz Theatre Group in 2004. To date, he has written, directed, and acted in all 15 of the group’s performances in Theatre de la Ville, the Schabuehne, Festival d’ Avignon, Onassis Stegi, and various festivals in Europe and the world. Christos Passalis’ latest theatre work includes The Book of Myself series of theatrical performances in Athens and his co-directions with Angeliki Papoulia of Euripides’ Alkistis and Dürrenmatts’ Der Besuch der Alten Dame at the Luzerner Theatre in Switzerland. His co-direction with Syllas Tzoumerkas, the essay film The City and the City, had its world premiere at the Encounters competition of the 72nd Berlinale and its NA premiere at New Directors/New Films IFF. His debut feature film Silence 6-9 has just been completed.

For complete list  of films and theater please go to South East European Film Festival LA.


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