Last Thursday, on the evening of May 10th, Cinema Without Borders held the award ceremony for the First Annual Friend Of International Cinema Award at the Italian Cultural Institute, Los Angeles. The evening began with Italian wine and Persian appetizers from Shaherzad Restaurant, and the ceremony’s program was introduced by Mr. Alberto Di Mauro, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute. What followed was a joyous hour of music, film, and personal insights into Darryl MacDonald’s life from friends, admirers, and the man himself.
“It was an amazing night and we hope we can have this award ceremony together with Italian Cultural Institute every year. I also want to thank Mamak Khadem, Andrea, and the great artists that accompanied them in helping make Thursday night a memorable one.” said Bijan Tehrani, Editor in Chief of Cinema Without Borders. “We could not do this without the collaboration with Italian Cultural Institute and the help of our sponsors: ELMA, the Polish Film Festival-LA, Shaherzad Restaurant and our supporters”
Let’s read more about the award night in an article written by Bruce Fessier for My Desert Sun:
“LOS ANGELES – Film industry people and international dignitaries praised Palm Springs International Film Society Executive Director Darryl Macdonald Thursday for helping to make Palm Springs become, in the words of one film leader, a “capital of international cinema.”
Bijan Tehrani, editor in chief of the online publication Cinema Without Borders, presented Macdonald with the first Friend of International Cinema Award in a ceremony celebrating international culture at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood.
An overflow audience in an intimate theater at the Institute drank Italian wine, ate Persian appetizers, heard music from Iran and Brazil, and watched an Italian short film that won the Cinema Without Borders Award for Best International Short Film at the 2010 Palm Springs International Short Film Festival & Market.
Then they heard colleagues and dignitaries praise Macdonald for providing exposure for award-winning and cutting edge international short and feature films. Vera Mijojlic, president and founder of the recently concluded Southeast European Film Festival in Los Angeles, noted how hard it is to present a program of art cinema in Southern California and praised Macdonald for doing it “year after year.
“You have a big support group and we will not be silent,” Mijojlic said. “Everybody goes to Palm Springs to watch movies. We are inspired by what Darryl Macdonald has done over the years. We have a full house here. It’s not just the food. It’s not just the music. We’re here to support you.”
Dan Ireland, a childhood friend who co-founded the Seattle International Film Festival with Macdonald before Macdonald helped launch the Palm Springs International Film Festival in 1990, said Macdonald’s work in Palm Springs “completely blows my mind.”
Tehrani, whose international-oriented website is based in Burbank, called the June Palm Springs International ShortFest, “The greatest festival ever on the planet.” He also touted the January feature film festival.
“For the months of June and January, Palm Springs is the capital of international cinema,” he said, “and we owe this to Darryl Macdonald.”
Macdonald, who began his career programming films for one of Ireland’s theaters while studying law at the University of British Columbia, was humbled by the accolades. “I feel a little awkward about this,” he said. “Usually, you get an award for working real hard. I feel like I’ve been playing all my life.”
Polish Vice Consul Monika Pucilowska and Alberto Di Mauro, director of the Italian Cultural Institute, both praised Macdonald after the two-and-a-half hour ceremony for helping to bring American exposure to the cinema from their nations.
“Our consulate collaborates with (the) Palm Springs (festival),” Pucilowska said. “This evening was like inviting us again to this great event.” (From My Desert Sun)
The following organizations have joined to support this event: Consulate General of Belgium-Los Angeles, Consulate General of Finland-Los Angeles, Consulate General of Italy-Los Angeles, EGEDA U.S., Hollywood Brazilian Festival, Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, LA Irish Film Festival, Scandinavian Film Festival-LA, South East European Film Festival, LA & Ulmer Scale.
Darryl Macdonald is the Director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Palm Springs International ShortFest and Short Film Market. He is the co-founder of The Seattle International Film Festival, and was its Executive and Artistic Director from 1975 – 2003.
He served as the first Artistic Director of the Palm Springs Film Festival (1989 -1993) and the Hamptons Film Festival (1993 -1996) and was the Programming Director of the Vancouver International Film Festival (1988 -1992). He has also served as the Director of the Goodwill Games Film Festival, the Women in Cinema Festival and the Washington State Centennial Film Festival.
Mr. Macdonald has served on the Award Juries of several international film festivals and the Independent Spirit Awards. He has written articles on film and filmmaking for Variety Books, Reel News and the Hollywood Reporter, among other publications. He currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Documentary Channel, the International Film Festival Summit and is a Board member of the Seattle International Film Festival. Macdonald has been named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France for his contributions to French Cinema, presented with a Distinguished Citizen Award by the Mayor of Seattle and Event Producer of the Year Award from the N.E.P.A.
Cinema Without Borders:
Cinema Without Borders (CWB) is an online film magazine whose team of multi-national contributors highlights a broad selection of world cinema and emerging filmmakers. Drawing its strength from diverse communities of international filmmakers, film students, film festival organizers and film industry professionals, the Hollywood-based CWB offers a unique online platform for peer reviews and information about movies and film-related events. www.cinemawithoutborders.com
The Italian Cultural Institute:
The Italian Cultural Institute (IIC), Los Angeles, established in 1984 by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, houses in its premises an art gallery, a theater for screenings, lectures, conferences, and concerts, as well as a library that contains over 6000 volumes and is open to the public. The Institute organizes Italian language classes at different levels, taught by native speakers. Events are produced in collaboration with local institutions in order to present Italy in all its cultural complexity, in the fields of visual arts, architecture and design, music, cinema and theater, literature, science, fashion and gastronomy.
ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America) is a Santa Monica based nonprofit organization dedicated to showcasing European movies. ELMA’s mission is to create new avenues for better cultural understanding between the people of Europe and the USA by celebrating alternative cinema. http://www.elma.org
The Annual Polish Film Festival Los Angeles is organized by the Polish American Film Society, a non- profit organization. The specific purpose of the Festival is to promote Polish cinema in Hollywood and educate and inform the American public about Poland and Polish culture and Polish history. Every year the Festival presents feature and short films, documentaries and animations. The Festival was founded in 1999 by Vladek Juszkiewicz, who, until present, serves as its director. www.polishfilmla.org
Shahrezad Restaurant features the very best and most authentic of Persian cuisine. Shaherzad food fits perfectly with today’s lightened eating style. From a cultural point of view, Persian food has always been considered to be an art of providing enjoyment to body and mind. Shahrzad Restaurant had been catering to numerous entertainment industries related events over the last decade. http://shaherzadrestaurant.com
Called “one of the wonders of world trance music” by the Los Angeles Times, Mamak Khadem draws from her roots in the ancient poetry and music of the Persian masters, creating a bold and revolutionary new sound. Tehran-born singer has created a vibrant body of work that she hopes will inspire a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity in general, and for Persian arts in particular at a time when the great beauty of Iran’s culture is too often eclipsed by its present-day politics. Her expressive, moving voice has been heard on numerous film and television score including those for the feature films The Peacemaker, Traffic, and Dracula 2000, and The Profiler, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Battlestar Galactica TV series. www.mamak-khadem.com
Giovanna Joyce Imbesi (that accompanies Mamak by playing piano in this event), is a composer, pianist and producer based in Los Angeles, California which is home to her recording studio, TuttoMedia. As a professional musician, Giovanna has performed around the globe with musicians such as Anita Baker, Dave Koz, Stanley Jordan, Yanni and Andy Summers of The Police. As a composer, her music has been broadcast on all major television networks and performed in India, Europe, the United Arab Emirates and Cuba. She released her CD “Short Stories – piano music for healing, meditation & relaxation” and believes in the healing power of music and the power of art as vital elements of our well-being. She founded Generate Possibility, a non-profit dedicated to supporting those affected by cancer through the healing arts.
www.tuttomedia.com – www.generatepossibility.org
Andréa Ferraz is a Brazilian vocalist/composer who started her career as an Opera singer and now, together with Emerson Ñ‘Cello (mandolin/guitar) and Simon Carrol (drums/percussion), embarks on a new project showcasing original songs and an eclectic mixture of Brazilian samba & choro. Andrea’s first professional recording, “Life Escapes-The world traveler”, was released by Target nationwide as a tribute to 50 years of Bossa Nova. Her solo album “D’agua” had the song “Porque” premiered in the FX-TV show “Damages”. Ferraz is proud to have participated in the Fox/Disney movie RIO and to have recently headlined the 2012’s Carnaval Exotica at Club Nokia. www.andreaferraz.com
Event Photographer was Dustin Neiderman, for more photos of the event, please check the Image Gallery on the right column.