Sister cities to the rescue! French Riviera Film Fest held stateside, at Beverly Hills Hotel


host Jezlan Moyet


co-hosts Tony Potts, Jezlan Moyet, Vincent De Paul


Nicole Muj & Beverly Hills Hotel's Catherine Johnson


Yasmine Al Massri, Ion Muj


Brandt Andersen, Yasmine Al Massri 'Refugee'


Robert Mardo, Yasmine Al Massri, Brandt Andersen


Brandt Andersen, Yasmine Al Massri, Larry Namer


Tony Potts, Paulina Aguirre




Ion & Nicole Muj, Grammy winners Paulina & Pablo Aguirre

Tony Potts and Shalini Vadhera Potts

Tony Potts, Shalini Vadhera Potts


FRFF co-founder Nicole Muj, jury member Claude Brickell

Larry Namer and Vincent De Paul

Larry Namer, Vincent De Paul


Yasmine Al Massri

French Riviera Film Festival co-founders Nicole Muj and Gotham Chandna were in a quandary. Every link in the chain of staging their second annual film festival in the south of France concurrent to the Cannes Film Festival was disrupted. “Due to the pandemic, we couldn’t hold our festival and awards this year live in Cannes,” said Ms. Muj. Then came the flash. In a startling realization, she remembered that Cannes and Beverly Hills are sister cities.

And sisters did what sisters do. They helped each other. “We were delighted to partner with the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel to host our awards virtually.” And with that clever solution, a chic, virtual award ceremony took place at The Pink Lady last weekend.

A small COVID-appropriate gathering of COVID-compliant cinephiles, industry veterans, film fans and one arts blogger hobnobbed on the Hotel’s lush grounds. The five-star hotel, itself an icon of Hollywood history, galvanized its renowned and exceptional wait staff to add rose wine and canapes to the party buzz. Guests clustered, at a distance and out-of-doors around the charming private pool of the stand-alone Presidential Bungalow. Most guests expressed their utter joy to go out and do anything, but especially to attend as lovely an affair as this.

And the winners were:

Best Director: Brandt Andersen (Refugee)
Best Actress: Yasmine Al Massri (Refugee)
Best Actor: Amos Nzamba (Zoo)
Best Drama Short: Refugee
Best Comedy Short: Oddly Popular
Best Documentary Short: The Power of Beauty
Best Experimental Short: Huo Zhe
Best Animation Short: The Bird & the Whale
Best Sci-Fi/Horror Short: Just A Moment
Best Fashion Short: Film Me
Best Music Video: anpu-ZOEA and Childhood

Lifetime Achievement Award: Larry Namer
Special Industry Award: Sue Vicory

Photo credit: Eric Minh Swenson

Dance critic Debra Levine is founder/editor/publisher of arts●meme.

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