Celebrating its 10th anniversary,San Sebastian's Films InProgress initiative is this year backing some of the lesser lights in LatinAmerican cinema who hope to make a name for themselves on the international circuit,including controversial Chilean director Luis Vera.

Films InProgress has already launched several Latin American and Spanish films,including Tristan Bauer's Falkland War drama Blessed By Fire (Iluminados Por El Fuego) in 2004, which went on to win the special jury prize at last year's San Sebastian Film Festival and closed sales to more than 20 territories.

This year's Industry Award winner, fellow Argentinean Ana Katz, hopes to do the same with her film A Wandering Girlfriend (Una Novia Errante). She has been awarded with enough funding and support from various European companies, including Titra Film and EstudiosEXA to complete post-production.

Brazil dominates the remaining films chosen for Films InProgress awards. This year's Casa de America award of$11,420 (Euros 9,000) towards post-production was given to Lina Chamie for her film The Milky Way (A Via Lactea), a $190,335 (Euros 150,000) dramatic feature shot in Sao Paulo and starring emerging actress Alice Braga, who was previously seen in City of God.

Chamie told ScreenDaily.com: "It is very difficult tofind funding for independent films in Brazil. Films In Progress is proving vital for films like mine looking for completion funding and advice from the industry to gain international recognition."

Milky Way is Chamie's second feature after 2001's Dominant Tonic, whichwas a part of the Film in Progress initiative at the Toulouse Latin America film festival.

Brazil's Chico Teixeira receivedthe CICAE award for his film Alice's House (A Casa DeAlice), which will be promoted across France at more than 2,000 arthousecinemas. The film also attained the TVE award from the Spanish televisioncompany, which bought the rights to the film for the Spanish and Andorranregions.

Another recipient of the TVEaward is Chilean director Luis Vera for his film Fiestapatria.Exiled from his home country during the Pinochet regime, Vera worked as adirector across Europe and Central America before returning toChile a few years ago to make his latest film.

Vera told ScreenDaily.com:"The Chilean government refused to help fund this film, so I had to fund most of it myself. TVE's support - around $76,122 (Euros 60,000), although still in negotiation - is extremely important to getthe film completed and seen in Europe, where people need to know more about what happenedin my home country."

Vera's next project will tackle US involvement in the coup that overthrew Chile's former president SalvadoreAllende and brought General Pinochet to power.