Eighteen films will compete in the New Directors'competition at this year's Donostia-San SebastianInternational Film Festival (September 21-30).

The films come largely from Europe,although Asia, Latin America andthe United Statesare represented as well.

First and second-time feature directors competing in the festival's official selection are also eligible for awards.

Prizes include the lucrative $117,000 (Euros 90,000) Altadis-New Directors Award, shared by the director andSpanish distributor, and the Montblanc Award for NewScreenwriters, which comes with a $19,000 (Euros 15,000) purse for the screenwriter ofthe winning film.

The festival highlights the fact that many of this year's"new directors" have already made a name for themselves in shortfilms, including the UK'sOscar-nominated Sean Ellis, who brings comedy Cashback about an art student whotakes a job at an all-night grocery to solve his insomnia problems following abreak-up with his girlfriend.

David Strathairn stars in Aaron J.Wiederspahn's TheSensation Of Sight, the sole entry from the US,about an introverted English teacher who gives up his career to become adoor-to-door salesman in search of redemption after witnessing a terribletragedy.

UK-Spain-France co-production The Backwoods by award-winning Basque director KoldoSerra shot partially in San Sebastian.

The thriller stars Gary Oldman,Paddy Considine and VirginieLedoyen in the tale of a British couple whosetroubled relationship takes a turn for the worse on a nightmarish ruralvacation.

Another San Sebastian-shot feature is one of three moreSpanish entries in the line-up: Fernando Bernuesand Mireia Gabilondo'sBasque-language Kutsidazu BideaIxabel,, a literary adaptation about a young man'sexperiences learning about his native language and culture.

Also from Spain: Judith Colell'ssophomore effort 53 Dias De Invierno, a trio of intimate tales of love, loss andfear; and Inaki Dorronsoro'sfilm noir La Distancia,about a jailed boxer forced to murder another prisoner who upon his releasebefriends the dead man's prostitute wife.

Three Latin American entries include two Films in Progressalumni: Ruben Imaz Castro's Familia Tortuga, from Mexico,about a day in the life of a family getting over the death of the mother; and Brazil'sProibido Proibir fromJorge Duran, a student love triangle based loosely on Truffaut'sJules et Jim.

The third is Argentinian Daniela Goggi's Visperas, about a womanawaiting the results of a biopsy with her family.

European titles include: Ragnar Bragason's Born/Children(Iceland), a tragicomedy about awoman fighting for custody of her children; Sven Taddicken'sEmmas Bliss (Germany), a melodrama about a cancerpatient's adventures when a wrong turn lands him on a pig farm run by a lonelygirl; Lionel Bailliu's Fair Play (France-Belgium-Czech Republic), about aruthless group of sports-loving yuppies fighting for control of a company; PeterSchonau Fog's TheArt Of Crying (Kunsten At GraedeI Kor) (Denmark), a 70s-set tale about a depresseddairy farmer and his callous grown children; Erik Richter Strand's Sons (Sonner) (Norway),a drama turning on the issue of child abuse; and Oliver Paulus& Stefan Hillbrand's So Long! (Wir WerdenUns Wiederseh'n) (Sweden), a story of life and death set in an old peoples' home.

Finally, three entries from Asia are: Mesde Guzman's Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong (Phillipines),a quasi-documentary about two orphans' fight for survival in a rural hut; Yen Yen Woo & Colin Goh's Singapore Dreaming (MeiMan Ren Sheng) (Sing),a gentle comedy about a middle class family in dog-eat-dog capitalism; and ChenDaming's OneFoot Off The Ground (Ji QuanBu Ning) (China), a comedy about a group of operasingers forced to eke out a living elsewhere.