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First works shine at Troia Film Fest

The Troia International Film Festival, which runs through this weekend in the picturesque coastal town of Setubal, Portugal, has a commitment to first time directors. One of its most well-attended sections includes a competition for First Works. In addition, this year’s American Independents competition boasts directorial debuts from a group of talented directors.

First works from Europe dominate the section, which includes the local premieres of the films RED COLOURED, GREY TRUCK (Srdjan Koljevic Serbia/Slovenia/Germany), UNO (Aksel Hennie, Norway), PRODUCING ADULTS (Aleksi Salmenpera, Finland), A WAY OF LIFE (Amma Asante, United Kingdom) and SAMIR (Francesco Munzi, Italy).

Other films competing in the First Works Section include SARATAN (Ernest Abdyshaparov, Kirguistan/Germany), CARIBE (Esteban Ramírez, Costa Rica) and EARTH AND ASHES (Atiq Rahimi, Afghanistan).

The sole North American film in the First Works competition is the Festival favorite HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS SPEND THEIR SUMMER (Georgina Ridel, USA), a dramatic comedy about Latina sisters living in Los Angeles.

Jury members who will determine the top prize in the First Works section are Irena Taskovski (producer, Czech Republic), Gabriel Giandinoto (Director, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Argentina) and João Aldeia (film critic, Portugal).

Director Georgina Ridel is one of four US directors attending the Festival. Her compatriots include Hal Salwen, the director of Cannes Film Festival favorite DENISE CALLS UP (1997), who is showing his latest film DUANE INCARNATE; Douglas Sadler, the director of Berlin Film Festival coming-of-age sleeper SWIMMERS; and Nikhil Karnkolkar, the director of the multi-cultural comedy INDIAN COWBOY.

Other films competing in the American Independents Competition include the documentary WEAPONS OF MASS DECEPTION, a chronicling of the Bush administration’s campaign of misinformation regarding the Iraq War, directed by Danny Schechter; SEVEN TIMES LUCKY, a film noir caper starring Kevin Pollack and directed by Gary Yates; and 50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER, a comic meditation on looking for love in Los Angeles, written and directed by Jordan Hawley.

The jury deliberating for the American Independents prize includes Cezary Pazura (actor, Poland), Fernando Carvalho (designer, Portugal) and Henri Behar (programmer, Cannes Film Festival).

“We see it as an important part of our mission to create awareness of young talents”, Artistic Director Fernanda Silva declared. “Perhaps the most important part of a Festival is the discovery of new directors who need encouragement to continue with their careers.”

Awards will be announced at a Gala Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 4 and will be reported here on Monday.

Sandy Mandelberger
Industry Editor

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