Three films from South Korea, three from Australia, two from Japan and one from China, all by debut directors, are competing for the 52nd Melbourne International Film Festival's FIPRESCI Award, director James Hewison announced today.

From South Korea comes Byun Young-Joo's Ardor, Park Chanok's Jealousy Is My Middle Name, and Kim In-Sik's Road Movie. The Australian films are Tony McNamara's The Rage In Placid Lake, Kathryn Millard's Travelling Light and brothers Peter and Michael Spierig's Undead. The Japanese titles are Iseya Yusuke's Kakuto and Hidenori Sugimori's Woman Of Water, and the Chinese film is Li Yang's Blind Shaft.

This year's jury comprises Eduardo (Quintin) Antin, critic for Argentina's El Amante Cine and Buenos Aires Film Festival director, Gautaman Bhaskaran, critic for India's The Hindu newspaper and academic Mike Walsh, critic for Australian arts magazine RealTime. The winner will be announced on Friday, August 8.

The award is open to emerging filmmakers from South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and is a partnership between MIFF, the International Federation of Film Critics and the Film Critics Circle of Australia.

Hewison is also boasting that a record 20 feature and short films will be coming from the 56th Cannes Film Festival and that many will be having their second-ever public screenings at Melbourne.