Hosted by radio personality Hettie Lynne Hurtes, the evening’s guests included Gary McVey, executive director of the American Cinema Foundation and Bijan Tehrani, editor-in-chief of the Cinema Without Borders film magazine. They spoke about the importance of the festival and its growing impact on the cultural landscape of Los Angeles.
Festival’s founder and director, Vera Mijojlic, introduced the cast and crew of the short, “In the name of the son”, and greeted a diverse audience of Hollywood industry people, Los Angeles art house moviegoers, South Eastern Europeans, South Americans, students from local universities, and other richly varied Southern California demographics.
At the after party hosted by the elegant new Japanese restaurant in the La Cienega restaurant row, “Tokyo Table”, Vera Mijojlic and Bijan Tehrani announced the festival awards.
The Critics Award for Best Film, presented by Cinema Without Borders, went to Slovenian/Croatian co-production, “Gravehopping” directed by Jan Cvitkovic. Panel of film critics comprised of Tobe A. Roberts, Jim Davis, Rosa Laura Lucherino and Bijan Tehrani, unanimously agreed that Cvitkovic’s brilliant rendition of small town mentality with all shades between light comedy and tragedy, deservedly won the Best Film prize.
Festival Audience Choice Award went to the Romanian opening night film, the internationally acclaimed Oscar contender “The Way I spent the End of the World” by Catalin Mitulescu. The ballots cast by the audience members over five festival days gave the highest grade to this poignant coming of age story featuring one of the finest young actresses today, 2006 Cannes winner of the Best Actress prize in “Un Certain regard” program for the role in this film.
Also based on votes from the audience, a special Certificate for Best Documentary Film was presented to Elka Nikolova, director of Bulgarian-American documentary “Binka”, about the little known avant-garde filmmaker from 50’s and 60’s Bulgaria, Binka Zhelyazkova.
Photos courtesy of Bisser SToyanov