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The 26th edition of FESTROIA: TROIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL will be held from June 4 to 13 in the beautiful coastal resort town of Setubal, Portugal. The Festival, the country's oldest and most prestigious, is known as the "Cannes of Portugal" and showcases international talents from around the world, with competition sections, special events and a program  of new works from emerging North American independent filmmakers from the U.S.A.


ENTRE NOS Wins North American Independents Competition


by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor 


ENTRE NOS, a hard-hitting and emotionally involving drama about the struggles of an illegal immigrant to make a life for herself and her children on the mean streets of New York City, was chosen as the Best Film in the North American Independents Competition of the 25th edition of FESTROIA: The Troia International Film Festival. The Festival, the oldest and largest in Portugal, ran from September 4 to 13 in the coastal resort of Setubal, giving it the reputation as the “Portuguese Cannes”.  


The film is co-written and co-directed by Paola Mendoza, who also stars as Mariana, a Colombian refugee wife and mother living in Queens, New York. After her notorious womanizing husband abandons her and their family for a job in Miami, she finds that she must fend for herself and her children. Not being legal and therefore unable to go the authorities for help, Mariana begins a sobering journey of survival on the streets and in grimy hotel rooms as she tries to keep a sense of normalcy for her son and daughter. The film, which is co-written and co-directed with her partner Gloria LaMorte and produced by Joseph LaMorte, cuts close to the bone for Paola Mendoza, delving into her own troubling past to create a universal story of perseverance and triumph. Mendoza gives a powerful and knowing performance as the mother. It becomes clear why she knows this story so intimately. In the film’s final credits, it is revealed that Mendoza herself was the young daughter in this true drama, and the film is a hommage to her struggling mother who gave her and her brother a foothold in a new life in America.    


ENTRE NOS had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and made its International Premiere at FESTROIA last week before screening at the Deauville Film Festival in France. Many future festival dates around Europe and North America are in the works.  For more information on the film, log on to: To view the trailer, log on to:   


FESTROIA has presented a competition section for American Independents for the past decade, being one of the few international events to consistently do so. This year, Canadian films were added to the mix (specirfically Michael MacKenzie’s ADAM’S WALL, a Romeo-and-Juliet tale set in contemporary Montreal, and WEST OF PLUTO, Canadian writer/director team of Myriam Verreault and Henry Bernadet’s semi-documentary look   at what is on the mind of suburban Quebecois teenagers). WEST OF PLUTO received an Honorable Mention from the International Jury.   


Other American Independent films screened in the section included: THE GOOD GUY, writer/director Julio DePietro’s comedic satire on Wall Street high-flyers; LYMELIFE, an expose of American sexual mores in the New York suburbs of the 1970s, that featured the directorial debut of Derick Martini; THE MISSING PERSON, a film noir set in the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks, written and directed by Noah Buschel; THE NARROWS, a Scorsese-like drama set in the Italian section of Brooklyn, directed by Francois Velle; and YOU WON’T MISS ME, an emotionally resonant story of a lost downtown bohemian, written and co-directed by Ry Russo-Young  


For more information on the full program of the 25th edition of FESTROIA: The Troia International Film Festival, visit: 

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Sandy Mandelberger
(International Media Resources)

United States

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