South East European Film Festival, SEE Fest 2008 concluded Monday night at the elegant Clarity Theater in Beverly Hills with Austrian film “THE RULE OF LAW- JUSTICE IN KOSOVO” winning the Critics, and Turkish “BLISS” Audience Awards. More than 20 films were shown over six days at the festival’s main venue, the Goethe Institute in Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles.
Given by the Cinema Without Borders publisher, Bijan Tehrani, Cinema Without Borders Critics Choice Award recognized the Austrian film for its excellent analysis on how cultural differences complicate attempts to deliver justice in the troubled Balkans. Austrian Consul, the Hon. Bernhard Faustenhammer accepted the award on behalf of the filmmaker, Susan Brandstatter and producer Josef Aichholzer (producer of this year’s Oscar-winning Best Foreign Language Film, THE COUNTERFEITERS).
Audience Choice Award was presented by the Croatian-born film director Goran Dukic (“Wristcutters”) to the Turkish Consul General, the Hon. R. Hakan Tekin who accepted on behalf of the filmmakers of the internationally acclaimed Oscar contender from Turkey, “BLISS”. Directed by Abdullah Oguz and based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Zülfü Livaneli it is a powerful film about the taboo subject of honor killing and the search for a path between tradition and modernity.
The closing gala was held under the patronage of the American Cinema Foundation and sponsored by the “Best of Mediterranean” Restaurant and Catering, “Sebeka” wines from South Africa – No. 1 new wine brand in America in 2007, and “Mascarade” liquor from France.
The evening’s guests included Consul General of Romania, the Hon. Catalin Ghenea, Consul General of Turkey, the Hon. R. Hakan Tekin, Austrian Consul and Deputy Head of Post, the Hon. Bernhard Faustenhammer, director of UCLA’s Center for European and Eurasian Studies and festival’s presenting sponsor, Gail Kligman, chairman of Patten Energy and festival’s patron sponsor, Ezekiel Patten Jr., president of Elma Foundation and festival’s patron sponsor, Pascal Ladreyt, film director Goran Dukic (“Wristcutters”), and filmmaker guests from Europe: Diana Deleanu, Paul Predescu and Iulian Margu (“Humoresque”/Romania), Mladen Maticevic (“How to become a hero”/Serbia), Paolo Borraccetti (Italy) director of “Have you ever heard about Vukovar”/USA, Ozren Milharcic (Bosnia Herzegovina), and Nino Raspudic (Croatia), director and protagonist of “Enter the Dragon”/Bosnia Herzegovina.
About SEE Fest
The initial goal of the South East European Film Festival in Los Angeles was to create a cross-border meeting place where films, creative people and the public could converge around a sense of community, free from any restrictions imposed by borders, politics, the past or hostilities stemming from so many sectarian agendas.
The Festival aims to present a complex message of diverse cultural identities, heritage and the struggles of overcoming a hostile political landscape. The only one of its kind in the United States, the SEE Film Festival strives to educate its audiences about South East Europe, its troubled history and its many cultures. Shown side by side, films from different countries with different points of view about the same problems create a framework for American audiences to better understand the region’s complexities.
Founded by the former film critic from ex-Yugoslavia and cultural entrepreneur Vera Mijojlic, the Festival is presented in association with the Goethe Institute Los Angeles, American Cinema Foundation and UCLA’s Center for European and Eurasian Studies, as well as numerous patron sponsors from the international community of Los Angeles.
For more information please visit www.seefilmla.org