Sundance Institute and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) announced the winners of the 2009 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards. The four winners were selected from 12 finalists by members of an international jury which included Ira Sachs, Yesim Ustaoglu, Katherine Dieckmann, Fernando Eimbcke, Sebastian Cordero, and Ronan Bennett; and a Japanese Jury that included Masato Harada, Bong-Ou Lee, and Hiroyuki Takazawa.
The winning filmmakers and projects are: Diego Lerman, "Ciencias Morales" (Moral Sciences) from Argentina; David Riker, "The Girl" from the United States; Qurata Kenji, "Speed Girl" from Japan; and Lucile Hadzihalilovic, "Evolution" from France.
The winning director from each region will receive a $10,000 award and a guarantee from NHK to purchase the Japanese television broadcast rights upon completion of their project. NHK is Japan's largest broadcaster with five 24-hour TV and three radio channels. In addition, the Sundance Institute staff will work closely with the award recipients throughout the year, "providing ongoing support and assistance in seeking out opportunities to finance and distribute their projects."
"We are thrilled by the quality of this year's winning filmmakers, all of whom embody what the award is about. In an extremely competitive year, these projects are exceptionally original and challenging," said Alesia Weston, Associate Director of Sundance's Feature Film Program, International, in a statement.
The awards were created in 1996 by Sundance Institute in partnership with NHK"to celebrate 100 years of cinema and to honor and support emerging independent filmmakers." Each year the Award supports winners from four global regions (Europe, Latin America, the United States, and Japan) in realizing their next projects. The four winners are presented with the award at the annual Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony on Saturday, January 24.