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SFIFF52 New Directors Competition Films

The 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23 - May 7) will award over $100,000 in total prizes this year. The New Directors Prize of $15,000 is given to a narrative first feature that exhibits a unique artistic sensibility and deserves to be seen by as wide an audience as possible. An independent jury will select the New Directors Prize winner, to be announced at the Golden Gate Awards on May 6.

SFIFF52 New Directors Competition Films:

directed by Özcan Alper, Turkey 2008
In this first full-length feature in the Hemsin language of northeast Turkey, Yusuf struggles to find purpose after serving ten years as a political prisoner.

Can Go Through Skin
directed by Esther Rots, Netherlands 2008
North American Premiere
A woman reeling from an act of violence hopes to shake it off by buying and moving into a remote cottage. Embarking on a new relationship, she finds that the past has its way of informing the present.

directed by Ivy Ho, Hong Kong 2008
North American Premiere
Karena Lam delivers one of her best performances in this sensitive portrayal of a simmering office romance set in contemporary Hong Kong. Screenwriter Ivy Ho's feature debut is intelligently crafted and loaded with double meanings, looks and hidden passions.

Don't Let Me Drown
directed by Cruz Angeles, USA 2008
New York's vibrant Mexican and Dominican communities take center stage in this lyrical look at the love between a young Mexican boy and a Dominican girl, set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

French Girl
directed by Souad El-Bouhati, France/Morocco 2008
Exploring issues of identity, origin and family with a deft touch, French Girl details the life of Sofia, who spends a happy childhood in France, is relocated to Morocco by her family and longs to return to the country where she grew up.

directed by Julio Hernández Cordón, Guatemala 2008
Three middle-class teenage boys, stealing gasoline to go on an all-night joyride, are headed on the highway to hell in this provocative, nuanced story of adolescent angst.

directed by Ursula Meier, Switzerland 2008
Intriguingly stylized, Home explores the gradual deterioration of a family's peaceful existence when the long-unused stretch of highway that borders their house suddenly opens for public use.

Kabuli Kid
directed by Barmak Akram, France/Afghanistan 2008
In Kabul, a young mother leaves her infant child in the back seat of a taxicab and it is up to the driver to try and track her down in this lovingly observed neorealist-style film.

Mid-August Lunch
directed by Gianni di Gregorio, Italy 2008
U.S. Premiere
On the Pranzo di Ferragosto (Feast of the Assumption), money troubles compel Gianni, a middle-aged Roman living with his elegant, elderly mother, to take in three other nonnas (grandmothers). Their wiliness and lively warmth keep Gianni on his toes and friendship unexpectedly blossoms.

The Paranoids
directed by Gabriel Medina, Argentina 2008
U.S. Premiere
In this hilarious comedy of errors from Argentina, an unaccomplished screenwriter who works children's birthday parties for a living tries not to sleep with his best friend's girlfriend, but fails at that too.

directed by Aida Begic, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008
A remote mountain top village of strong-willed widows and orphans provides the atmospheric setting of this Bosnian magical film, which investigates the memories of war and the everyday pleasures of life.

In addition to these 11 films in competition, the New Directors section of SFIFF52 includes 17 out-of-competition films, which will be announced at the opening press conference on Tuesday, March 31.

For tickets and information go to or call 925-866-9559.

52nd San Francisco International Film Festival
The 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 23 - May 7, 2009 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, the Castro Theatre and Landmark's Clay Theatre in San Francisco; and the Pacific Film Archive Theater in Berkeley. Held each spring for 15 days, the International is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in the country's most beautiful city, featuring 25 juried awards, 200 films and live events with upwards of 100 participating filmmakers and diverse audiences of 75,000+ people.


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