Filmmaker, Poet, Musician Fella Cederbaum Receives IndieFEST Humanitarian Award
Fella Cederbaum does it again:
The IndieFEST Film Awards Humanitarian Award of Distinction cites Fella Cederbaum’s short film A Test
Several prestigious awards celebrate the timely work of the genre-defying filmmaker,
poet, and musician Fella Cederbaum
A spectrum of honors shine a light on Cederbaum’s prodigious talents and her unique understanding of our increasingly complex world
Sometimes a passionate and talented artist has exactly the right voice for a specific moment in time. That’s the case with Fella Cederbaum. Through her art, the filmmaker, poet and musician communicates a magical blend of wisdom and comfort, offering a healing balm in this troubling and often confusing era.
Multimedia artist Cederbaum is the writer and director of close to two dozen short films featuring her alter egos MahnoDahno and MahniDahni, characters she invented. The films share a lifetime of insights on how to transcend disruption—and thrive. The shorts have been screened—garnering coveted awards—at numerous festivals around the globe, including the IndieFEST Film Awards, which recently presented Cederbaum with a Humanitarian Award of Distinction for A Test.
The organization notes that all its awards winners are “committed to making a difference in the world, ” which describes Cederbaum to a T. With its annual Humanitarian Awards, the IndieFEST Film Awards aim to “honor filmmakers who are bringing awareness to issues of Ecological, Political, Social Justice and Equality, Health and Wellness, Animals, Wildlife, Conservation and Spiritual importance and combining that with quality filmmaking craft.” Other IndieFEST winners include the likes of Liam Neeson, Jeff Bridges, Will McCormack and Michael Govier. To learn more, go to www.theIndieFEST.com.
The Humanitarian Award is far from the only prize Cederbaum earned for A Test. It also received Film of the Month honors from Cult Critic magazine (https://www.hlc-cultcritic.com/a-test-by-fella-cederbaum/), which describes the short film as “a crafty piece that will keep you thinking of its core message long after you finish watching it.” The Luis Bunuel Memorial Awards (LBMA) awarded A Test top honors for Best Film Score and Best Short Film. Other Cederbaum films, including Thud and Destiny, have also earned high-level LBMA awards. (https://liaff.com/monthly-selection-february-2020/).
Who? Cares, another Cederbaum short, has attracted abundant critical acclaim. At its annual Golden Fox Awards, the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival (CICFF) admired it so much that the organization not only awarded it Best Music Video of the Year but also created a special award for it and honored Cederbaum with the title Baron in Motion Pictures. “Fella’s work has been a standout exception among others and created a long-lasting impression in the arena of independent filmmaking, ” the organization notes. Who? Cares is also a Cult Critic magazine Film of the Month selection, cited for its deft questioning of every aspect of life, and wondering who we are and what we stand for.
The coming months should prove equally exciting for this widely admired Renaissance woman. Cederbaum just learned that her film Fear is on NYC’s Independent Film Festival’s newly announced list of official selections for this year’s festival. The multitalented artist has made more than a dozen appearances at the NYCIFF festival, where she took home top honors in her category in 2021.
Not all of her acclaimed artistic endeavors are film related. Truth And Destiny, the debut recording of the artistic polymath Fella Cederbaum, continues to garner rave reviews, most recently from O’s Place Jazz Magazine. Inspired by the isolation of the covid lockdown, the author recites a dozen of her poems while performing her original compositions on piano and keyboards. Accepting the past, cherishing the present and facing the future with lifted spirits are among the themes she explores on Truth And Destiny. “Fella does a great job of pushing us to accept ourselves and to embrace reality, ” declares D. Oscar Groomes in O’s Place. “The next chapter should celebrate the results of heeding her advice!”
Fella Cederbaum also looks forward to releasing her third book of poetry, More Other Such Matters, in the coming year. Her previous books of poetry, the well-reviewed Of Life And Other Such Matters, Volumes 1 and 2, came out in 2018 and 2019.
Cederbaum built an enthusiastic global following for her poetry as a regular guest on WABC radio, broadcast in the New York tri-state area. She has been featured regularly on the station’s weekly Poetry Corner segment, as well as on international streams and widely available podcasts, creating a burgeoning social media presence and earning kudos from the likes of coaching guru Tony J. Selimi.
Many readers have found her uplifting poetry to be a welcome guide in navigating difficult times, and finding opportunities for self-discovery, challenging us to look at ourselves—and others—with acceptance and kindness.
Cederbaum’s exquisitely distinct music has won her numerous international film score awards. While the raw power of her music provides an emotional backbone for her poetry, her calm, measured tones invite the listener on a guided meditation along the pathway to introspection and reflection, celebrating the essence of the human spirit. The poetry reveals deep empathy for the universality of life’s experiences, as the poet considers ways of navigating the world, both micro and macro, addressing what dwells in the heart as well as in the halls of power.
When you consider her background, perhaps it’s not surprising that Cederbaum has proved herself so adept at sharing the wisdom gained in a lifetime of pondering life’s hard questions: What is the meaning of life; what is truth, what is destiny, what is happiness?
The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Cederbaum was raised in post-World War II Germany. As a teen, she moved to England, and later to Israel where she revealed her broad spectrum of interests by not only earning a degree in psychology but also becoming deputy director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra. After moving to Boston, where she is still based, Cederbaum earned her graduate degree and enjoyed a successful career as psychotherapist. As if that were not enough, she also took up painting. Her paintings been shown at exhibitions at Germany’s Münchner Stadtmuseum and at a Boston Holocaust Memorial event and they continue to be creatively animated within her award-winning films.
As far as the answers to life’s tough questions, Cederbaum summed up her worldview during an interview with WABC’s Yola Nash: “All questions lead to love, heart, our own compass, ” the poet revealed.