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Oscars 2013: foreign-language film profiles

Seventy-one films have been submitted for the foreign-language film Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards. Screen profiles them all, including festival winners and Kenya’s first ever entry

Profiles by Mark Adams, Leon Forde, Katherine Krueger, Wendy Mitchell, Ian Sandwell, Louise Tutt and Andreas Wiseman

AFGHANISTAN

The Patience Stone

Dir Atiq Rahimi

Afghan writer-director Rahimi has adapted, with Jean-Claude Carriere, his own award-winning novel about a woman’s monologue at the bedside of her wounded and comatose husband as she speaks openly to him for the first time. The Farsi-language film was a world premiere at Toronto this year.

What Screen said “Gently paced and by its nature extremely talky, The Patience Stone is a strikingly pertinent film.”

Contact Le Pacte - www.le-pacte.com

ALBANIA

Pharmakon

Dir Joni Shanaj

Pharmakon tells the story of a young man working as a pharmacist whose relationship with his father is called into question after his partner reveals she has been sexually harassed by him. The film is the debut feature from Shanaj.

Contact - info@pharmakonfilm.com

ALGERIA

Zabana!

Dir Said Ould Khelifa

The story of the life of Algerian freedom fighter Ahmed Zabana, whose execution in 1956 kick-started the Battle of Algiers and Algeria’s fight for independence. Zabana! made its world premiere at Toronto.

Contact Wide Management - www.widemanagement.com

ARGENTINA

Clandestine Childhood

Dir Benjamin Avila

Avila’s narrative debut is a drama about an Argentinian family living in secrecy during the dictatorship of the late 1970s. It made its world premiere in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes this year and went on to screen at Toronto and San Sebastian. Film Movement is releasing Clandestine Childhood in North America.

Contact Pyramide International - www.pyramidefilms.com

ARMENIA

If Only Everyone

Dir Natalya Belyauskene

This film takes place 20 years after Armenian independence and centres on a young Russian woman’s efforts to plant a tree on her father’s grave, only to discover the burial site lies on the other side of the border in Armenia. The film has screened at festivals including Moscow, Busan and the Romania International Film Festival, where Michael Poghosian won the best actor award.

Contact Michael Poghosian, Team Productions - info@michaelpoghosian.com

AUSTRALIA

Lore

Dir Cate Shortland

The second feature from Australian director Shortland after Somersault, Lore was shot entirely in German. It follows the daughter of Nazi parents who leads her younger siblings across war-torn Germany, when she meets a mysterious refugee. The film has screened at festivals including Sydney, Locarno (where it won the audience award), Toronto, Rio, London and Thessaloniki. Music Box Films has US rights.

What Screen said “Tense and unrelentingly gripping.”

Contact Memento Films International - www.memento-films.com

AUSTRIA

Amour

Dir Michael Haneke

The latest from Haneke has been widely acclaimed and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year. The French-language film sees Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant play an elderly couple forced to confront mortality and death when the wife suffers a stroke.

What Screen said “The pair give the performances of a lifetime, in that no other roles could possibly require them to work so directly with their own mortality and physical fragility. They rise formidably to the challenge.”

Contact Les Films du Losange - info@filmsdulosange.fr

AZERBAIJAN

Buta

Dir Ilgar Najaf

The story of the friendship between a lonely seven-year-old boy who lives in a mountain village and an old man, the former suitor of his grandmother. Buta won the best children’s feature film prize at last year’s Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Contact Asif Rustamov, Buta Film - butafilm@gmail.com

BANGLADESH

Pleasure Boy Komola

Dir Humayun Ahmed

The last film from the late Ahmed is about a teenage boy who performs with his father’s music group and attracts sexual attention from older men.

Contact Impress Tele Films - www.impresstelefilmltd.com

BELGIUM

Our Children

Dir Joachim Lafosse

A premiere in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, this is a harrowing family drama starring Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup and Emilie Dequenne, whose acclaimed performance is nominated in the European Actress category at this year’s European Film Awards. She was also the winner of Un Certain Regard’s best actress prize in Cannes.

What Screen said “A devastating look at a young woman come undone.”

Contact Les Films du Losange - info@filmsdulosange.fr

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Children Of Sarajevo

Dir Aida Begic

The story of two orphans of the Bosnian war who struggle in the transitional Bosnian society, Children Of Sarajevo premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, where it received a special distinction from the jury. It subsequently opened the Sarajevo Film Festival.

What Screen said “This is a passionately stark story of the strength of family.”

Contact Pyramide International - www.pyramidefilms.com

BRAZIL

The Clown

Dir Selton Mello

The second feature from Mello, a renowned Brazilian actor, is a slightly surreal comedy drama that chronicles a father and son who work as clowns in a travelling circus. The son, played by Mello, dreams of finding his own identity and an end to constant travelling. The Clown was a hit in Brazil earlier this year.

Contact Bananeira Filmes - bananeira@bananeirafilmes.com.br

BULGARIA

Sneakers

Dirs Valeri Yordanov, Ivan Vladimirov

This debut feature is about six young people escaping the dreary city for a hedonistic summer break on the beaches of the Black Sea. Sneakers screened in Karlovy Vary and Moscow, where it was awarded a special mention. The directors say it is a “film about freedom”.

Contact Media Luna - info@medialuna.biz

CAMBODIA

Lost Loves

Dir Chhay Bora

Cambodia’s first Oscar entry in 18 years is a historical drama following a middle-class woman who loses many family members during Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. Director Bora, and his wife, Kauv Sotheary, who is the film’s lead actor, used 15 years of personal savings to produce Lost Loves, which draws from Sotheary’s own family history. The film has been a local hit in Cambodia.

Contact Orphanage Productions - www.theorphanageproductions.com

CANADA

War Witch

Dir Kim Nguyen

War Witch screened in official competition at the Berlinale earlier this year and earned a best actress Silver Bear for Congolese star Rachel Mwanza and a special mention from the ecumenical jury. It later won best narrative feature and best actress prizes at Tribeca. The film depicts the world of child soldiers and was shot entirely on location in the city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

What Screen said “The film is shot like a documentary and the anonymity and total availability of all the performers, who ignore the camera and do not play for its benefit, contributes to its authenticity.”

Contact Films Distribution - www.filmsdistribution.com

CHILE

No

Dir Pablo Larrain

Larrain’s third feature - after the lauded Post Mortem and Tony Manero - won the top prize at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and has been a festival favourite with other screenings in Telluride, Toronto and beyond. Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a youthful advertising executive working in the Pinochet era. Sony Pictures Classics has US rights.

What Screen said “It is clear the director wasn’t interested in making a rousing Hollywood movie about the victory of civil society against an evil dictator.”

Contact Funny Balloons - www.funny-balloons.com

CHINA

Caught In The Web

Dir Chen Kaige

Chen, one of China’s leading directors with credits including Oscar nominee Farewell My Concubine, here explores China’s internet generation. The film looks at social upheavals as seen through the eyes of three women. Chen Hong, Gao Yuanyuan and Yao Chen have drawn praise for their performances. The film had its international premiere in Toronto’s Special Presentations line-up.

What Screen said “This is a slick, contemporary, fast-moving, updated look showing present-day China at grips with its own mind-boggling social, economic and technological upheavals.”

Contact Moonstone Entertainment - www.moonstonefilms.com

COLOMBIA

The Snitch Cartel

Dir Carlos Moreno

This Colombia-Mexico co-production directed by Moreno, whose credits include Sundance selection Dog Eat Dog, was filmed in Bogota, Mexico City, New York and Miami. The crime thriller is based on the life of former drug trafficker Andres Lopez, who co-wrote the screenplay. Produced by 11:11 Films, the film stars Diego Cadavid, Kuno Becker and Tom Sizemore as a drug enforcement agent.

Contact 11:11 Films - www.onceoncefilms.com

CROATIA

Vegetarian Cannibal

Dir Branko Schmidt

Not typical Oscar fare, this film is about an unscrupulous gynaecologist (Rene Bitorajac) who is entangled in the world of organised crime and human trafficking. The film won five Golden Arenas at Croatia’s national Pula Film Festival and had its international premiere at the Moscow International Film Festival before heading to Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.

Contact Telefilm - telefilm@telefilm.hr

CZECH REPUBLIC

In The Shadow

Dir David Ondricek

This 1950s-set crime drama stars veteran Czech actor Ivan Trojan as a member of Prague’s Communist police force who runs into a German specialist crime investigator (Sebastian Koch). Ondricek, Krystof Mucha and US-based Ehud Bleiberg produced the film.

Contact Bleiberg Entertainment - sales@bleibergent.com

DENMARK

A Royal Affair

Dir Nikolaj Arcel

This Berlinale award-winner is about a young queen who starts a dangerous affair with the king’s physician. Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander and Mikkel Boe Folsgaard lead the cast. The film has been both a festival and box-office hit (it sold to 78 countries). Magnolia has US rights.

What Screen said “Denmark’s much-heralded costume drama set in the royal court of King Christian VII is a richly satisfying affair that tells an extraordinary true story of political change and royal intrigue with impeccable production values, charismatic actors and gorgeous gowns and wigs.”

Contact TrustNordisk - info@trustnordisk.com

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Jaque Mate

Dir Jose Maria Cabral

This story follows a well-known game-show host who takes a phone call on air by a person who claims to have kidnapped his wife and son. The drama then unfolds on live TV. Cabral makes his feature debut.

Contact Antena Latina Films - www.antenalatinafilms.net

ESTONIA

Mushrooming

Dir Toomas Hussar

Hussar’s debut is about a politician who is foraging for mushrooms with his wife when a political scandal breaks back in the city. The satire attracted attention in Karlovy Vary and Toronto.

What Screen said “Some fun performances buoy everything along and Hussar has a good eye for physical comedy while allowing room for more thoughtful moments of social commentary.”

Contact Allfilm - www.allfilm.ee

FINLAND

Purge

Dir Antti J Jokinen

Based on the acclaimed Finnish novel and play of the same name by Sofi Oksanen, Purge is about two women from two different eras. One looks back to the Soviet occupation of Estonia, the other is a victim of human trafficking. The film made its international premiere at the Busan International Film Festival.

Contact TrustNordisk - info@nordisk.com

FRANCE

Intouchables

Dirs Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano

This box-office sensation has taken $400m-plus around the world, including more than $9m in the US where it was released by The Weinstein Company. Based on a true story, Intouchables stars Francois Cluzet as a wealthy tetraplegic and Omar Sy as his assistant from the other side of the tracks.

What Screen said “Intouchables has a well-defined commercial streak, hitting all the notes for this genre with a practiced deftness.”

Contact Gaumont - abuhl@gaumont.fr

GEORGIA

Keep Smiling

Dir Rusudan Chkonia

Debut director Chkonia’s psychological drama looks at life across the social spectrum in contemporary Georgia. It is the story of 10 women who enter a beauty contest to find the ‘Georgian Mother of the Year 2010’. The winner will receive an apartment and a substantial sum of money. Keep Smiling made its world premiere at Karlovy Vary and screened in Venice Days.

Contact Doc and Film International - sales@docandfilm.com

GERMANY

Barbara

Dir Christian Petzold

Petzold’s 11th film is set in a claustrophobic small town in East Germany where a doctor has been sent to work as punishment for applying for an exit visa. As she waits to escape, she dedicates herself to her patients and forges some uneasy friendships, all under the watchful eye of the local secret-police officer. Barbara made its world premiere at the Berlinale, and won the best director Silver Bear. It has two nominations at the European Film Awards.

What Screen said “The drama offers a mesmerisingly taut showcase for Petzold’s regular muse, Nina Hoss.”

Contact The Match Factory - info@matchfactory.de

GREECE

Unfair World

Dir Filippos Tsitos

A black comedy about a disillusioned policeman who sets out to distribute justice by his own humanitarian standards. The film world premiered at San Sebastian in 2011, where Tsitos picked up the best director prize and Antonis Kafetzopoulos won the best actor award.

What Screen said “Filippos Tsitos rides the Greek new wave with Unfair World.”

Contact Films Boutique - info@filmsboutique.com

GREENLAND

Inuk

Dir Mike Magidson

This debut feature is billed as a ‘road movie on ice’. A 16-year-old boy from Greenland’s capital city is sent to a children’s home on a remote island and befriends a hunter who takes him on an epic journey. Non-professional Inuit actors star in the film, which has won a slew of awards at US film festivals from Nashville to Rhode Island.

Contact TriCoast Worldwide - tricoast@tricoast.com

HONG KONG

Life Without Principle

Dir Johnnie To

The latest from Hong Kong veteran To made its world premiere at Venice in 2011 and follows three individuals - a bank officer, a police officer and a criminal - as they are forced to betray their personal morals and principles in the midst of a global financial crisis. Lo Hoi Pang and So Hang Suen won the best supporting actor and actress prizes at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards.

What Screen said “The film renders, with a certain ironic detachment, the human side of the profits and losses generated by stock-market meltdown in a money-oriented urban hothouse like Hong Kong.”

Contact Media Asia Group - wwdist@mediaasia.com

HUNGARY

Just The Wind

Dir Bence Fliegauf

Inspired by true-life events, this drama revolves around a gypsy family in Hungary who are targeted by a gang of racists. The film premiered in competition at Berlin, where it won the Grand Jury Silver Bear, and also screened at Toronto.

What Screen said “This looks very much like a documentary, but it isn’t. Patiently, Fliegauf’s camera piles up evidence that, as destitute as they are and living on the edge of society as they have to, these people are not different from anyone else in their social class.”

Contact The Match Factory - info@matchfactory.de

ICELAND

The Deep

Dir Baltasar Kormakur

The latest Iceland-set drama from Kormakur (Jar City, Contraband) tells the true story of a man who survived deadly conditions after a shipwreck. The Deep had a well-received premiere at Toronto. Focus World has US rights.

What Screen said “The tremendous response at the Toronto world premiere of The Deep made it clear this will be successful with the general public as well as aesthetes who have appreciated the tremendous talent Kormakur has displayed in seven earlier features.”

Contact BAC Films - www.bacfilms.com

INDIA

Barfi!

Dir Anurag Basu

An homage to the cinema of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and early Hollywood musicals, Barfi! is an uplifting story about human frailty, set in Darjeeling and Calcutta of the 1970s. Starring Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D’Cruz, the film was released worldwide in September and screened at the Busan International Film Festival.

Contact UTV Software Communications - neha.kaul@disney.com

INDONESIA

The Dancer

Dir Ifa Isfansyah

This film is set in a rural village in the midst of political turmoil in the 1960s. Two teenagers fall in love, but the girl is a talented dancer and, due to local custom, cannot leave the village. The boy joins the army and a coup threatens to separate them forever. The Dancer played at the Busan International Film Festival.

Contact Salto Film Company - nauval@saltofilmcompany.com

ISRAEL

Fill The Void

Dir Rama Burshtein

This widely acclaimed debut feature tells the story of an 18-year-old girl in an orthodox Hasidic family who is torn between following her heart and family duty after her older sister dies in childbirth. Sony Pictures Classics picked up US rights to the film, which screened at the Venice, Toronto, London and New York film festivals.

What Screen said “Burshtein conveys everything she needs with the utmost love, care and attention, helped by a well-chosen cast, intelligent use of camera and a meticulous choice of sets and costumes.”

Contact The Match Factory - info@matchfactory.de

ITALY

Caesar Must Die

Dirs Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani

Inmates at a high-security prison in Rome prepare for a public performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The Berlin Golden Bear winner has sold widely, including to New Wave Films in the UK and Adopt Films for the US and has three European Film Awards nominations.

What Screen said “A remarkable, fresh and moving drama.”

Contact Rai Trade - info@raitrade.it

JAPAN

Our Homeland

Dir Yang Yonghi

Yang’s debut feature is about a Korean man’s visit to his family in Japan after a long exile in North Korea. After premiering in Berlin’s Forum section this year - where it won the CICAE award - the film has played at festivals including Sydney, Paris, Busan and Stockholm.

Contact Star Sands - www.starsands.com

KAZAKHSTAN

Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe

Dir Akan Satayev

A $7m historical epic depicting the overthrow of Zungharian oppressors, Myn Bala is the highest grossing local release of all time and sold to a host of territories, including 108 Media for the US, where Paladin will handle the theatrical release.

Contact 108 Media - info@108mediacorp.com

KENYA

Nairobi Half Life

Dir David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga

Winner of the audience award in the Breakthrough section at this year’s AFI Fest, Nairobi Half Life follows an aspiring actor from rural Kenya who dreams of success and fame in the big city. A Kenya-Germany co-production made through the One Fine Day Films workshop, Nairobi Half Life also screened at the Durban Film Festival.

Contact One Fine Day Films - info@onefinedayfilms.org

KYRGYZSTAN

The Empty Home

Dir Nurbek Egen

The second feature from director Egen, The Empty Home follows a Kyrgyz girl who moves to Moscow in search of a better life. The drama has screened at the Seattle International Film Festival, the Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival and the Montreal World Film Festival.

Contact Kinoglaz - kinoglaz@aha.ru

LATVIA

Gulf Stream Under The Iceberg

Dir Yevgeny Pashkevich

A philosophical parable inspired by the work of writer Anatole France, this is about Lilith, Adam’s first wife. Set across the 17th, 19th and 20th centuries, the film has screened at festivals including Moscow, Kaunas and Riga, where it won the best director award.

Contact Loic Magneron, Wide Management - lm@widemanagement.com

LITHUANIA

Ramin

Dir Audrius Stonys

From acclaimed documentary maker Stonys - whose credits include Earth Of The Blind - Ramin follows an elderly former wrestler in Georgia who decides to seek out the girl he loved some 50 years earlier. The film made its world premiere at Visions du Réel last year.

Contact Taskovski Films - info@taskovskifilms.com

MACEDONIA

The Third Half

Dir Darko Mitrevski

A premiere at the International Cinematographers’ Film Festival Manaki Brothers in Bitola, The Third Half is based on a true story about the Macedonian football team led by German-Jewish coach Rudolph Spitz during the Second World War.

Contact Little Film Company - info@thelittlefilmcompany.com

MALAYSIA

Bunohan

Dir Dain Iskandar Said

A premiere at Toronto in 2011, action drama Bunohan sold to Universal Pictures for a slew of territories including the UK, Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand, and to Oscilloscope for North America. It follows three brothers whose fates become tragically intertwined.

What Screen said “Writer-director Dain Said has a flair for blending the gritty and the elegiac.”

Contact Traction Media - tma@traction-media.com; Easternlight - gary@arclightfilms.com

MEXICO

After Lucia

Dir Michel Franco

Franco’s second feature has attracted critical praise for addressing bullying as well as for Tessa Ia’s portrayal of Alejandra, desperate to protect her father from further grief. Franco’s drama picked up the top prize at Un Certain Regard in Cannes.

What Screen said “Franco is a validated talent and he puts a unique spin on his unusual subjects.”

Contact Bac Films - www.bacfilms.com

MOROCCO

Death For Sale

Dir Faouzi Bensaidi

In Tetouan, a Moroccan port city, three small-time crooks decide to rob the town’s biggest jewellery store to escape from a hopeless future. The drama played at Berlin and Toronto and picked up the Golden Iris award at the Brussels Film Festival.

Contact Urban Distribution International - info@urbandistrib.com

NETHERLANDS

Kauwboy

Dir Boudewijn Koole

Kauwboy follows 10-year-old Jojo who has a difficult home life but builds a special friendship with an abandoned bird. The film had its world premiere at Berlin, where it was awarded best first feature and best youth film. The family drama also picked up the inaugural young audience award at the European Film Awards.

Contact Attraction Distribution - info@attractiondistribution.ca

NORWAY

Kon-Tiki

Dirs Joachim Roenning, Espen Sandberg

Norway’s most expensive feature, shot on a budget of $16.2m, Kon-Tiki follows Norwegian anthropologist and explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 raft expedition with five fellow scientists, which sailed from South America to the Polynesian Islands. After breaking local box-office records on opening, Kon-Tiki has grossed more than $13m to date in Norway. The film has been picked up by The Weinstein Company for North America, the UK and Italy.

What Screen said “Norwegian directors Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg deliver an old-fashioned adventure yarn that revels in its gorgeous photography.”

Sales HanWay Films - info@hanwayfilms.com

PALESTINE

When I Saw You

Dir Annemarie Jacir

Jacir’s second film to be submitted for the Oscars, following her debut Salt Of This Sea, When I Saw You is set in Jordan in 1967 and tells the story of an 11-year-old boy who runs away from a Palestinian refugee camp in his search for freedom. It had its world premiere at Toronto and won the New Horizons award for Best Film From The Arab World at Abu Dhabi.

Contact The Match Factory - info@matchfactory.de

PERU

The Bad Intentions

Dir Rosario Garcia-Montero

The Bad Intentions is an offbeat drama about Cayetana, a solitary Peruvian girl with a vivid imagination, who convinces herself that she will die the day her brother is born. The film was a world premiere at Berlin.

Contact Barry Films - mail@barryfilms.com

PHILIPPINES

Bwakaw

Dir Jun Robles Lana

Bwakaw stars local icon Eddie Garcia as a grumpy, ageing gay man, living alone with a stray dog, who has only come out while in old age. The film won prizes for best actor, the Netpac award and the audience choice award at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and received its international premiere in Toronto’s Contemporary World Cinema section.

Contact Fortissimo Films - info@fortissimo.nl

POLAND

80 Million

Dir Waldemar Krzystek

Set in Wroclaw in 1981, 80 Million centres on events that took place 10 days before martial law was introduced in Poland. The film had its international premiere at this year’s Moscow International Film Festival.

Contact MediaBrigade - biuro@mediabrigade.pl

PORTUGAL

Blood Of My Blood

Dir Joao Canijo

Centred on a mother who tries to end her daughter’s relationship with an older man, Blood Of My Blood screened at Toronto and San Sebastian in 2011 and was the most-watched local film in Portugal last year with almost 21,000 admissions. Earlier this year, it received the grand jury discretionary prize at Miami.

Contact Abril Filmes - www.abril-filmes.pt or FiGa Films - contact@figafilms.com

ROMANIA

Beyond The Hills

Dir Cristian Mungiu

An austere drama about two troubled young women in a convent, Beyond The Hills premiered in Cannes this year, where Mungiu won the best screenplay prize and the film’s co-stars Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur shared the best actress prize. Mungiu, who previously won the Palme d’Or in 2007 for 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, is also nominated in the screenwriter category at the European Film Awards.

What Screen said “Spare, unadorned and strikingly shot, Mungiu’s film is an unusual rendering of a Romanian exorcism case and is bound to split both audience and critical opinions.”

Contact Wild Bunch - cbaraton@wildbunch.eu

RUSSIA

White Tiger

Dir Karen Shakhnazarov

After an army sergeant almost dies in battle from an encounter with a mysterious white Tiger tank during the Second World War, he becomes obsessed with bringing about its destruction. The film grossed more than $3m from its Russian release in May.

Contact Mosfilm - orel@mosfilm.ru

SERBIA

When Day Breaks

Dir Goran Paskaljevic

This film, which screened at Toronto this year, follows a modern-day music professor who finds out his real parents were Jewish, and had given him away to Serbian friends before being sent to a Nazi concentration camp in 1942. Paskaljevic’s credits include Cabaret Balkan (aka Powder Keg), which won the Fipresci prize at the European Film Awards in 1998.

Contact Ilann Girard, Arsam International - info@arsam.biz

SINGAPORE

Already Famous

Dir Michelle Chong

The directorial debut of Singaporean actress Chong, Already Famous is a comedy about a girl from a small town in Malaysia who dreams of fame in Singapore. Released locally in December 2011, the film went on to gross more than $1m.

Contact Pauline Yu, Huat Films - pauline@huatfilms.com.sg

SLOVAK REPUBLIC

Made In Ash

Dir Iveta Grofova

A young girl struggles to free herself from exploitation after seeking work at a Czech textile factory. Grofova’s feature debut world premiered in the East of the West competition section at this year’s Karlovy Vary.

What Screen said “An uncompromising but highly watchable film, [which] marks Grofova out as a talent to watch.”

Contact endorfilm - endorfilm@endorfilm.cz

SLOVENIA

A Trip

Dir Nejc Gazvoda

A Trip follows three childhood friends who embark on a road trip but soon realise things have changed since high school. Gazvoda’s feature debut world premiered at Sarajevo in 2011, going on to win awards at the likes of the Nashville Film Festival and Cleveland International Film Festival.

What Screen said “An impressively made dramatic road trip, rich in its story of summer friendships destined to be tested and torn.”

Contact Insomnia World Sales - contact@insomnia-sales.com

SOUTH AFRICA

Little One

Dir Darrell James Roodt

Director Roodt - whose film Yesterday was Oscar nominated in 2005 in the foreign-language category - has called Little One “a film for the new South Africa”. The drama traces the story of a middle-aged woman who finds a six-year-old child beaten, raped and left for dead in a township near Johannesburg. After nursing the girl back to health, the woman’s love for the child leaves her willing to take desperate measures to adopt her and launch an investigation into the attack.

Contact Thaba Media - www.thabamedia.com

SOUTH KOREA

Pieta

Dir Kim Ki-duk

The latest from prolific South Korean auteur Kim won the Golden Lion for best film at the Venice Film Festival. Pieta dwells on the peculiar relationship between a brutal loans collector and the woman who claims she is his mother. The film stars Jo Min-soo and Lee Jeong-jin.

What Screen said “Meticulously composed frames shot in dark, narrow spaces… it all serves Kim to forge ahead obsessively, revealing with every step yet another ignominious facet of human nature.”

Contact Finecut - www.finecut.co.kr

SPAIN

Blancanieves

Dir Pablo Berger

Blancanieves (the Spanish name for Snow White) is an evocative silent melodrama that sets the Snow White story against the 1920s backdrop of Spain’s bullfighting arenas. The film was a world premiere at Toronto and also screened at San Sebastian.

What Screen said “The performances, especially from a trio of terrific Spanish actresses, are excellent and the black-and-white cinematography atmospheric.”

Contact Dreamcatchers - www.6sales.es

SWEDEN

The Hypnotist

Dir Lasse Hallstrom

Hallstrom’s return to Swedish film-making after 25 years of English-language projects is based on Lars Kepler’s crime bestseller. A cop and a disgraced hypnotist look to solve the case of a teen left in shock and unable to be questioned after his parents and sister are killed. Hallstrom received Oscar nominations in the directing and adapted screenplay categories for My Life As A Dog in 1987 and The Cider House Rules in 1999 as best director.

Contact Svensk Filmindustri - international@sf.se

SWITZERLAND

Sister

Dir Ursula Meier

This drama follows a boy who supports his sister by stealing from wealthy guests at a high-altitude Swiss ski resort, selling the items to his friends in the valley. The film premiered in competition at the Berlinale, where it received a special mention from the jury. Adopt Films has US rights.

What Screen said “French-Swiss director Meier weaves a compelling Dardenne-style drama out of two contrasting worlds.”

Contact Memento Films International - sales@memento-films.com

TAIWAN

Touch Of The Light

Dir Chang Jung Chi

Blind Taiwanese piano prodigy Huang Yu-Siang is the subject and star of this partly fictionalised drama, which is presented by Wong Kar Wai. The film - an update of Chang’s 2008 short The End Of The Tunnel - has been a box-office success in Taiwan and screened at the Busan International Film Festival.

Contact Fortissimo Films - info@fortissimo.nl

THAILAND

Headshot

Dir Pen-ek Ratanaruang

A Bangkok police officer (Nopachai ‘Peter’ Jayanama) turns hitman for a crime organisation. After being shot in the head, he wakes from a three-month coma to find he sees things upside down and is soon recruited by an underground vigilante group. Loosely based on Win Lyovarin’s novel, Headshot premiered at Toronto in 2011.

What Screen said “As usual in Ratanaruang’s work, the cinematography is crisp and appealing.”

Contact Memento Films International - sales@memento-films.com

TURKEY

Where The Fire Burns

Dir Ismail Gunes

The final part of Gunes’ trilogy on violence, Where The Fire Burns focuses on a tightly knit family whose affection is tested when the daughter falls pregnant and refuses to reveal the father’s name. Clan leaders decide she must die for her sins, and her father is appointed as executioner. The pair embark on an ominous road trip as he packs a pick and shovel, and a bottle of poison. The film won the Grand Prix at the Montreal World Film Festival, as well as the Fipresci prize.

Contact Sarmasik Sanatlar/Ismail Gunes Film - baranseyhan@sarmasiksanatlar.com

UKRAINE

The Firecrosser

Dir Mykhailo Illienko

Based on a true story, The Firecrosser follows a Soviet fighter pilot captured by the Nazis during the Second World War, who is charged with high treason by the Soviets and sent to Siberia. He escapes and against all odds makes his way to Canada where he joins the First Nation. The film premiered in competition at the Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix.

Contact Insightmedia Producing Center - insightmedia@ukr.net

URUGUAY

The Delay

Dir Rodrigo Pla

A world premiere at Berlin, this film is about the relationship between an elderly and impaired man living with his daughter, who is a single mother. As his health deteriorates and pressure builds in her life, their relationship grows increasingly tense.

What Screen said “A moving social study of penury at work, destroying the fabric of a family.”

Contact Artscope/Memento Films International - sales@memento-films.com

VENEZUELA

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Dir Hernan Jabes

Jabes’ second feature relates how a child’s game unveils a dark betrayal that will have serious implications for two people, putting in danger the things they love most. Director Alejandro Bellame, president of the Venezuelan committee which decided to put the film forward, said it was “a searing portrait of Venezuela today”.

Contact CNAC - festivalesint@cnac.gob.ve

VIETNAM

The Scent Of Burning Grass

Dir Nguyen Huu Muoi

In 1971, four Hanoi students join the Vietnamese army during the country’s war with the US. Three of them die in combat during a battle at Quang Tri citadel and only one returns home on Vietnam’s Reunification Day on April 30, 1975. The Scent Of Burning Grass won the Vietnam Cinema Association’s Golden Kite award for best film, as well as script, cinematography and music prizes.

Contact Vietnam Feature Film Studio - www.vietnamfilm.com.vn

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