The 7th annual South East European Film Festival, SEE Fest 2012 concluded Monday night at UCLA's Bridges Theater in Los Angeles with the screening of the Turkish epic FUTURE LASTS FOREVER, an exploration of the parallel pasts and Anatolian elegies directed by Ozcan Alper, which also won Bridging the Borders award for best feature film of the festival. Honorable Mention went to another Turkish film, DO NOT FORGET ME ISTANBUL, a collection of seven stories by seven directors under artistic direction of Turkey's auteur Huseyin Karabey. Both awards are traditionally presented by Cinema Without Borders, festival's media sponsor.
Seventeen industry people served as jury members, awarding diverse films and unique voices for which SEEFest is well known. Young Bulgarian-American filmmaker Kristina Nikolova won Best Debut Feature award for FAITH, LOVE AND WHISKEY, following an expat's journey between two homes; Slovak elegiac journal of music recordings of Roma singers CIGARETTES AND SONGS by Marek Sulik and Jana Kovalcikova won Best Documentary, with Honorable Mention going to Croatian GABRIEL by Vlatka Vorkapic; two shorts, THE VISIT from Slovenia's Miha Mazzini, and COLD SHOWER from Hungary's Orsy Nagypal shared Best Short (fiction) award, while German production MURDER REVISITED by Serbian filmmaker Milan Miletic won award for Best Documentary Short.
Cinematography jury's feature award went to DO NOT FORGET ME ISTANBUL, for overall excellence in visual storytelling, and in particular, the segment 'The Jewish Girl' and cinematographer, Baris Ozbicer. Best cinematography in documentary category was awarded to Momir Matovic from Montenegro whose images beautifully captured the spirit of the passing and irretrievable moment in his memorable documentary PERSEVERANCE...SPIRIT...BREATH.
Winner of this year's Audience Award was Romanian HELLO! HOW ARE YOU?, directed by Alexandru Maftei, romantic comedy which showed another face of Romania and South Eastern Europe not often seen on the big screen.
Juries and awards of the 7th South East European Film Festival included:
Bridging the Borders Award, with jurors Bijan Tehrani, editor-in-chief, Cinema Without Borders; Kevin Cassidy, international news editor, The Hollywood Reporter; and Fareed C. Majari, director of the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles.
Best Documentary Award, with jurors Margit Kleinman, director, Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades; Arnold Schwartzman, Oscar-winning filmmaker and designer; Valentina Ganeva, film editor;
Best Debut Feature Award, with jurors Ana Maria Bahiana, author and film critic; Matthew Mishory, filmmaker; and Zeljko Marasovich, film composer;
Best Short Film, Best Short Documentary Awards, with jurors Prince Gomolvilas, playwright; Jelena Mrdja, actress; Marsha Goodman, EMMY-winning casting director; and Jelena Erceg, visual effects artist.
Best Cinematography Award, feature and documentary film, with jurors Boris Schaarschmidt, cinematographer; Michael Pessah, cinematographer; Nicholas Fahey, cinematographer; and Hans Diernberger, visual artist.