With Fest Linuep Announcement Due Today, Sundance/NHK Announces Annual Selections
by Eugene Hernandez
With Sundance Film Festival organizers due to unveil the feature film lineup for the 2005 event today and tomorrow, the Sundance Institute has named twelve finalists for the 2005 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards. Since 1996, Sundance and the Japanese broadcaster NHK have nominated three filmmakers from each of four regions of the world, selecting one project from each region to receive a $10,000 grant and a guaranteed TV deal with NHK once the movie is finished. Award-winners will be announced in January at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
[Competition sections of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival feature lineup will be announced today (Monday) at 5 p.m. ET on indieWIRE.com, with more lineups tomorrow at the same time.]
Previous winners of the Sundance/NHK prize include Juan Pablo Rebello & Pablo Stoll's "Whisky" from Uruguay and Sebastian Cordero's "Cronicas" from Ecuador. Among the recipients with projects completed or currently in production are Miranda July's "Me and You and Everyone We Know" from the U.S., Andrucha Waddington's "The House of Sand" from Brazil, and György Pálfi's "Taxidermia" from Hungary.
A complete list of nominated projects, including descriptions, follows below.
"This award, an integral part of the Sundance Institute's Feature Film Program, provides significant support for international artists. We're thrilled by the quality and authentic voices of this year's finalists. Their projects and stories represent a wide range of artistic voices that transcend geographic and political boundaries," said Michelle Satter, Director, Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, in a statement.
The finalists are (information provided by Sundance Institute):
Jens Jonsson - "The Ping-Pong King" (Sweden)
"The Ping-Pong King" is a film about the bonds, and the limits of brotherhood as told through the story of a heavyset outcast forced to rely on his little brother to defend him.
Salvatore Mereu - "Sonetaula" (Italy)
Part Western, part love story, "Sonetaula" is about a boy torn from his father by false accusations. Raised by his grandfather, he learns to follow a primitive code that ultimately makes him an outlaw.
Catalin Mitulescu - "The Way I Spent the End of the World" (Romania)
Set in a Bucharest suburb in the last year of Ceausescu's tyrannical rule, "The Way I Spent the End of the World" is the story of a seven-year-old boy who saves the Romanian people from dictatorship.
Alejandro Chomski - "Asleep in the Sun" (Argentina)
"Asleep in the Sun" tells the story of a man and his wife who become entangled in a conspiracy to traffic bodies and souls.
Rodrigo Moreno - "The Minder" (Argentina)
"The Minder" is about a bodyguard so committed to his profession that he loses his identity - a failing that ultimately endangers the life he would die to protect.
Rodrigo Plá - "The Desert Within" (Mexico)
"The Desert Within" is about a son who exiles himself and his family to a remote desert to atone for his father's sins and make amends with God.
Sterlin Harjo - "Four Sheets to the Wind"
In "Four Sheets to the Wind," a young Native American's previously uneventful life is turned upside down after his father's untimely suicide. He flees the security of his life on the reservation to visit his sister in the city, and thus begins his unusual journey towards a more fulfilling existence.
Emily Hubley - "The Toe Tactic"
"The Toe Tactic" follows a young woman's search for her wallet through an animated and live-action world that is haunted by her dead father, populated by living objects and flawed individuals, and manipulated by a pack of capricious dogs.
Richard Press - "Virtual Love"
"Virtual Love" is the true story (National Book Award winner) of Paul Monette's harrowing friendship with Tony Johnson, a charismatic 15-year-old abuse survivor and cause celèbre who became one of the most important people in Paul's life - until it began to seem that maybe he didn't actually exist.
Akemi Miyazawa - "Natural Life"
"Natural Life" is the story of a stage actress who, having lost her way in Tokyo, returns home to find meaning in her life by nursing her ill father.
Tomofumi Tanaka - "A Girl for All Seasons"
"A Girl for All Seasons" a chubby elementary school girl whose simplicity and innocence, even in a difficult family situation, empowers the people around her.
Mipo Oh - "YomoYama Blues"
"YomoYama Blues" is a humorous and bittersweet portrayal of an ordinary family dealing with the challenges of everyday life.