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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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The first Sundance awards were announced

The first Sundance awards were announced today, beginning a process that will culminate with the announcement of the major awards in the US Independent and World Cinema categories on Saturday evening. The Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards were created in 1996 to honor visionary film directors from four global regions (Europe, Latin America, the United States and Japan) in realizing their next projects. The prizes are a collaboration between the Sundance Institute and NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. One of last year's winners, SLEEP DEALER, a futuristic tale across the US/Mexican border by American director Alex Rivera, premiered in competition at this year's Festival.

Four winners were selected from among 12 finalists by members of an international jury that included film veterans Gregg Araki, Jeremy Pikser, Erin Cressida Wilson, Martin Rejtman, Andrucha Waddington, Shekhar Kapur, and Anand Tucker. The winning director from each region will receive a $10,000 cash award and a guarantee from NHK to purchase the Japanese television rights upon completion of their project. In addition, the Sundance Institute will work closely with the honorees throughout the year, providing ongoing support and assistance in seeking out opportunities to finance and distribute their projects.

This 2008 Sundance/NHK International Filmmaker Awards winners:

Alejandro Fernández Almendras / HUACHO (Chile) - Set in the Chilean countryside, HUACHO presents a day in the life of a small rural family struggling to adjust to changing economic realities and a modern world that continues to move on without them.

Radu Jude / THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD (Romania) – In this tale, a working class teenager wins a luxury car in a promotional campaign and travels with her parents to Bucharest to shoot a commercial in which she must thank the sponsoring company. As the shoot wears on, the car slowly becomes both the object and catalyst of an absurd clash of desire, values, and will between the girl and her cash-strapped parents.

Tomoko Kana / TWO BY THE RIVER (Japan) – In this compelling human drama, an elderly man has an increasingly hard time caring for his infirm wife until finally he feels compelled to make a very difficult choice.

Braden King / HERE (USA) – In this intensely visual road movie, measurement and orientation break down in a story that chronicles the relationship between an American mapmaker and a foreign art photographer who impulsively decide to travel together into deeply uncharted territory.

Past recipients of the award, which include some of the most striking international cinema of the past decade: Andrucha Waddington, THE HOUSE OF SAND (Brazil); Miranda July, ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW (USA); Lucrecia Martel, LA CIENAGA (Argentina); Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll, WHISKEY (Uruguay); Walter Salles, CENTRAL STATION (Brazil); Chris Eyre, SMOKE SIGNALS (USA); György Pálfi, TAXIDERMIA (Hungary) and Catalin Mitulescu, THE WAY I SPENT THE END OF THE WORLD (Romania).

Sandy Mandelberger, Sundance FF Editor


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