Burbank, CA – January 2, 2013: Today, Cinema Without Borders has announced the five nominees for its Bridging The Borders Award at 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival. The Bridging The Borders Award at the 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival will be given to the most successful film in bringing the people of our world closer together.
The ten nominees for the Cinema Without Borders Bridging The Borders Award are selected by festival programmers are: Any Day Now (USA), Eat Sleep Die (Sweden), English Vinglish (India), Filmistaan (India ), Flying Blind (UK), Imagine (Poland), Jump (Ireland), Lore (Australia), The Intouchables (France) and When Day Breaks (Serbia). The Bridging The Borders Award winning film will be announced on Sunday, January 13th, at the Palm Springs International Film Festival award ceremony.
2013 Cinema Without Borders’ Bridging the Borders Award, Prize provided and Award sponsored by HP Workstations. Director of the winning film will receive an HP Elitebook 8770W mobile workstation with a built-in HP DreamColor display, an approximately $5000 value. The second place winner for Cinema Without Borders’ “Bridging the Borders” award will receive a certificate for an upcoming Method Acting Intensive provided by The Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in West Hollywood, valued at $2000. A jury of Cinema Without Borders decides the winners.
Any Day Now (USA)
Almanya – Willkommen in DeutschlandMeet Rudy Donatello (Alan Cumming), a cross-dressing crooner at an L.A. drag bar in the ‘70s who returns one night to find Marco, a young boy with Downs Syndrome, abandoned by his drug-addicted mother in the seedy apartment building he calls home. Perplexed about what to do with the boy, Rudy turns to Paul (Garret Dillahunt), a district attorney he’s recently had a brief fling with. To keep him out of social services Rudy offers himself as guardian, a generous gesture that moves the conservative Paul to volunteer his home – but even then the child’s fate is far from sure given the legal and societal impediments to gay adoption that existed in an era in which being gay was considered at least as much of an “affliction” as suffering from Down Syndrome.
Director/co-writer Travis Fine, (PSIFF 2011 favorite The Space Between) presents a deeply moving story that eschews political issues in favor of human drama. But it is the brilliant Cummings, in a career-peak performance as the tart-tongued drag performer Rudy, who provides the film with both wit and heart to spare. Winner: Audience Awards: Tribeca, Seattle, Chicago, Woodstock, Provincetown and L.A. Outfest Film Festivals
Director: Travis Fine
Producer: Travis Fine, Kristine Fine, Liam Finn, Chip Hourihan
Editor: Tom Cross
Screenwriter: Travis Fine, George Arthur Bloom
Cinematographer: Rachel Morrison
Music: Joey Newman
Principal Cast: Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, Frances Fisher, Isaac Leyva, Chris Mulkey, Gregg Henry
Eat Sleep Die (Sweden)
Gabriela Pichler, the daughter of a Bosnian and an Austrian, stresses the reality of contemporary Europe in her first feature as writer/director. Eat Sleep Die takes place in rural southern Sweden where lively, spontaneous Rasa Abdulahovic (a vivacious turn from Nermina Lukac) spends her evenings looking after her worn-out father and socializing with her fellow workers from the vegetable packing plant. Rasa can pack 12 bags of lettuce in 45 seconds, but when it’s time for the factory cut staff, she is one of first to go.
Without a job, Rasa is forced into an odd world where bureaucracy rules and “confidence coaching” is deemed imperative. Her sense of disorientation and loss of purpose increases when her beloved father goes to Norway to find work. The small-town life that she is clinging to just seems to be getting smaller. She begins to realize that there is a bigger world out there and ultimately she will have to face it.
Winner: Audience Award, Venice Film Festival Critics’ Week
Director: Gabriela Pichler
Producer: China Åhlander
Editor: Gabriela Pichler, Johan Lundborg
Screenwriter: Gabriela Pichler
Cinematographer: Johan Lundborg
Music: Andreas Svensson, Jonas Isaksson
Principal Cast: Nermina Lukac, Milan Dragišic, Jonathan Lampinen, Peter Falit, Ruzica Pichler
English Vinglish (India)
Shashi (Sridevi) is a beautiful, dedicated homemaker and devoted wife and mother. An accomplished cook, she sells her prized sweets out of her home.
Yet because of her poor English, she is made to feel insecure by her husband and teenage daughter, and by society at large. When she is called to New York to help prepare her niece’s wedding, Shashi overcomes her fears of traveling alone but is nevertheless overwhelmed. Humiliated for not been able to order a cup of coffee properly, she secretly enrolls in an accelerated English class and quickly becomes a dedicated student. With the other multiethnic students acting as a support system and boosted by the admiration of French classmate Laurent in particular, she rediscovers her own worth.
The feature debut of writer-director Gauri Shinde, this sweet, funny audience-pleaser proves a winning comeback vehicle for Indian megastar Sridevi after a lengthy hiatus. The Lahme, Mr India star is utterly charming, and you will see why Variety’s critic reached out the Audrey Hepburn comparisons.
Director: Gauri Shinde
Producer: Sunil Lulla, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, R.K. Damani, Balki
Editor: Hemanti Sarkar
Screenwriter: Gauri Shinde
Cinematographer: Laxman Utekar
Music: Amit Trivedi
Principal Cast: Sridevi, Adil Hussain, Mehdi Nebbou, Priya Anand, Cory Hibbs
Film fanatic Sunny (Sharib Hashmi) is dying to act but gets turned down at every turn. A friend suggests that he takes a job as an assistant director instead and he goes on assignment with an American crew shooting a commercial in a remote area of Rajasthan near the Pakistani border.
Mistaken for an American, he is kidnapped by a terrorist group and spirited to a Pakistani border village. When the inept terrorists discover their mistake, they decide to keep him hostage even though he is “not worth a sparrow’s fart”. The house where he is detained belongs to a Pakistani who smuggles pirated DVDs from India. Immediately, they find a common passion – Hindi films.
In this touching comedy, the outgoing and charming Sunny gets to be the actor he always wanted to be – acting scenes from Bollywood films for the delight of the local villagers.
An irrepressible optimist, he easily breaks down barriers having found a common language: the love of movies. But will that help him get back home?
Director: Nitin Kakkar
Producer: Subhash Choudhary, Shaila Tanna
Editor: Sachindra Vats
Screenwriter: Nitin Kakkar
Cinematographer: Subhransu Das
Music: Arijit Datta, Urvi Ashar, Shipra Rawal
Principal Cast: Sharib Hashmi, Inaamulhaq, Kumud Mishra, Gopal Dutt, Sanjay Mehta, Ravi Bhushan, Waseem Khan, Tushar Jha, Saroj Sharma
Flying Blind (United Kingdom)
A mystery inside a love (or lust) story, Katarzyna Klimkiewicz’s debut feature stars the criminally underused Helen McCrory (Cherie Blair in The Queen) as Frankie, a confident, hyper-intelligent aerospace engineer in her 40s who works on secret government projects. While delivering a lecture at the university, she meets young Muslim student Kahil (Najib Oudghiri) and an initial spark ignites a conflagration. As their passionate romance grows, however, Kahil’s mysterious ways begin to raise questions about the young man’s intentions.
McCrory, one of the UK’s leading theater actors with a fistful of awards to her name, is in total command on the big screen, perfectly essaying Frankie’s journey from the heights of self-assurance – her success has made Frankie more than a little self-obsessed – to the rather more grounded role of doubting lover. McCrory’s spot-on performance is complemented by Klimkiewicz’s intelligent handling of the film’s slow-burning mystery. We can’t help but share McCrory’s growing unease as things are shown to be not quite what they seem…
Director: Katarzyna Klimkiewicz
Producer: Alison Sterling
Editor: Ewa J. Lind
Screenwriter: Naomi Wallace, Bruce McLeod, Caroline Harrington
Cinematographer: Andrzej Wojciechowski
Music: Jon Wygens
Principal Cast: Helen McCrory, Najib Oudghiri, Kenneth Cranham, Tristan Gemmill
Ian, a spatial orientation instructor, arrives at a world-renowned Lisbon clinic for the visually impaired to work with blind patients. It is his task to help them become more confident and allow them to explore their surroundings without feeling vulnerable or afraid – and without a white cane. The clinic’s international community greets his unorthodox methods with both anticipation and skepticism.
For Ian, orientation flows from the mind and imagination – then sensory perception follows. He quickly wins the trust of his patients: a small group of children and young adults of various nationalities. His techniques intrigue them and embolden them to explore their surroundings. He even motivates the reclusive Eva to engage on a social, possibly romantic level. But are his techniques as safe as he claims? Director Andrzej Jaimowski’s finds imaginative ways to put the audience in a blind person’s shoes in this engrossing and original drama.
Winner: Audience Award, Best Director, Warsaw Film Festival
Director: Andrzej Jakimowski
Producer: Andrzej Jakimowski, Vladimir Kokh, Francois d’Artemare
Editor: Cezary Grzesiuk
Screenwriter: Andrzej Jakimowski
Cinematographer: Adam Bajerski
Music: Tomasz Gassowski
Principal Cast: Edward Hogg, Alexandra Maria Lara, Melchior Derouet, Francis Frappat
An intricate and deliciously twisted tale of fractured fate, Jump traces the lives of several characters whose paths weave and intersect, jumping back and forth in time over the course of one wildly eventful New Year’s Eve in contemporary Northern Ireland.
Greta and Pearce meet distinctly non-cute on a night that will become a turning point in both their lives, as Greta, spoiled by her rich con-man father but bedeviled by a sense of purposelessness in life, is poised to jump off the bridge above Derry Harbour. Coming upon the distraught young woman – dressed as an angel and about to take flight from the bridge’s railing – Pearce, a young man in flight from his own devils, attempts to talk her down. What starts as a seeming struggle of wills evolves into a complex, wildly inventive and occasionally giddy mix of crime caper, star-crossed romance and fateful moral tale.
Director: Kieron J. Walsh
Producer: Brendan J. Byrne
Editor: Eimear Reynolds, Jake Roberts
Screenwriter: Steve Brookes, Kieron J. Walsh
Cinematographer: David Rom
Music: Edith Progue
Principal Cast: Nichola Burley, Martin McCann, Richard Dormer, Ciaran McMenamin, Charlene McKenna, Valene Kane, Lalor Roddy.
Australian director Cate Shortland created a stir with her debut, Somersault, eight years ago. Among other things, it introduced Abbie Cornish and Sam Worthington to the world. Her belated follow up is unexpected, a German-coproduction set in Europe, 1945. As Allied forces sweep across the Motherland, Lore and her four younger siblings are stranded after their high-ranking SS officer father and disdainful mother are imprisoned. To survive, the five children embark on an incredible journey across the devastated country, from Bavaria to their grandmother’s house in Hamburg, 900 km to the north.
On the road, the Nazi-indoctrinated children struggle to survive the punishing postwar conditions. Food is hard to come by, dead bodies proliferate, and their safety seems threatened at every turn. In this dire circumstances the imperious Lore eventually starts to understand the reality and consequences of her parents’ actions, their support of Hitler and his disastrous war. When the mysterious and resourceful Thomas, who is carrying papers identifying himself as a Jew, joins their tattered group and takes on the role of leader, Lore loses her sexual innocence as well.
Winner: Audience Award, Locarno Film Festival
Director: Cate Shortland
Producer: Karsten Stöter, Liz Watts, Paul Welsh, Benny Dreschel
Editor: Veronika Jenet
Screenwriter: Robin Mukherjee, Cate Shortland
Cinematographer: Adam Arkapaw
Music: Max Richter
Principal Cast: Saskia Rosendahl, Kai Malina, Nele Trebs, Ursina Lardi, Hans-Jochen Wagner, Mika Seidel, André Frid, Eva-Maria Hagen.
The Intouchables (France)
France’s biggest international hit ever (at $370 million and counting – it has grossed three times what The Artist did), Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s immensely entertaining odd-couple tale dissects issues of class and race and ignited a national re-examination of liberté, égalité and fraternité at home. But its unprecedented success is much more easily explained – the film is utterly irresistible on all levels.
Born and bred in the poor suburbs of Paris, young ex-con Driss (Omar Sy, electric) backs into a job as minder for the rich, middle-aged quadriplegic Philippe (François Cluzet). Driss is black and under-educated; Philippe and the world he inhabits are very white and sophisticated to a fault. As a warm, funny and genuinely moving friendship develops, Driss’s energy and can-do spirit open Philippe’s eyes to future possibilities while Philippe’s love of art and music finds an enthusiastic student in the ebullient Driss. Anchored by fantastic work from both Sy and Cluzet and brightened by an unfashionable optimism, The Intouchables is both a welcome tonic and pure cinematic pleasure.
Winner: Best Actor (Sy), César Awards
Director: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Producer: Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou, Laurent Zeitoun
Editor: Dorian Rigal-Ansous
Screenwriter: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Cinematographer: Mathieu Vadepied
Music: Ludovico Einaudi
Principal Cast: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Clotide Mollet, Adurey Fleurot
When Day Breaks (Serbia)
One day retired music professor Misha Brankov receives a letter requesting him to contact the Jewish Museum in Belgrade. There he learns that during an excavation at the city’s Old Fairgrounds, previously the site of an infamous concentration camp where some 48,000 Serbian Jews and Gypsies perished during the Second World War, an iron box was found.
The box contains personal documents and an unfinished musical score. It belonged to the composer Isaac Weiss, a concentration camp inmate in 1941. Eventually, the professor discovers that when he was an infant, his real parents, the Weisses, entrusted him to their friends, the Brankovs, just before they were taken into the camp.
The initial shock of the professor’s discovery gives way to a determination to fulfill the shattered dreams that he has inherited. It is something that infuses him with new purpose and provides him with a second lease on life. If director Paskaljevic has his way, this moving film will inspire an official memorial to the Jewish and Romany victims of Serbia’s shameful past.
Director: Goran Paskaljevic
Producer: Goran Paskaljevic, Damir Teresak, Ilann Girard
Editor: Kristina Pozenel
Screenwriter: Goran Paskaljevic, Filip David
Cinematographer: Milan Spasic
Music: Vlatko Stefanovski
Principal Cast: Mustafa Nadarevic, Predrag Ejdus, Nebojsa Glogovac, Nada Sargin, Zafir Hadzimanov, Meto Jovanovski