Twenty-fourfilms from almost as many countries will compete for the Altadis New Directorsprize at the upcoming 53rd edition of the Donostia-San Sebastian InternationalFilm Festival (Sept 15-24).

Social themes -from Tibetan exiles and Mongolian nomads to unemployed and illegal workers inSpain - reign across genres and from around the world in the selection, whosecontenders vie for the prize's hefty Euros 90,000 purse.

Telmo Esnal andAsier Altuna's black comedy about a bankrupted local political candidate, AupaEtxebeste!, provides acuriosity, having shot entirely in the local Basque language Euskera. Alsocompeting from Spain are Pedro Perez Rosado's Agua Con Sal, about illegal workers trying to makeends meet, and Jo Sol's ultra-indie El Taxista Ful, about an unemployed man who "borrows"parked taxis at night to support his family.

English-languageentries include two producers turned directors: the UK's Stephen Wooley, whose Stonedfollows the final daysin the life of former Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones; and the US's LeeDaniels, whose Shadowboxer about a hit-man and woman who take in the baby of one of theirvictims stars Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. Australia's Sarah WattoffersLook Both Ways, about the inhabitants of a village following a local trainwreck.

ByambasurenDavva's follow-up to the Oscar-nominated The Story Of The Weeping Camel, TheCave Of The Yellow Dog (Die Hoehle Des Gelben Hundes), is a pseudo-documentary about Mongoliannomads, while India-UK co-production Dreaming Lhasa by Sarin Ritu and Sonam Tenzing followsa documentary director's travels to the Tibetan exiled community in Dharamsala.

Fariborz Kamkaridirects serial killer thriller The Forbidden Chapter, an Iran-Italy co-production. PelinEsmer's Oyun is aboutnine women in a small Turkish village who decide to put on a theatre play.Korean Kang Yi-Kwan's Sa-Kwa is about a woman who runs to the arms of a man she doesn't lovewhen her longtime boyfriend dumps her.

There are twofilms each from France, Belgium and Latin America.Brazilian RobertoGervitz's Jogo Subterraneo isa literary adaptation about a man whose love affairs don'tmeet his fantasies; and Argentine Juan Villegas' Los Suicidas stars a lost man about to reach the sameage as his father when the latter committed suicide.

French shortfilm directorJose Alcala offersfemale thirty-something portrait Alex, and Fabienne Godet bringsdrama SaufLe Respect Que Je Vous Doit about a man's fight for justice after his unjustly-fired friendcommits suicide.

The two Belgianentries are Fien Troch's character-driven mystery Someone Else's Happiness(Een Ander Zijn Geluk)and director-actors Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy's offbeatcomedy L'Icebergabout an unloved woman who abandons her cold life in search of a real iceberg.

AntoninSvodoba's You Bet Your Life (Spiele Leben), about the downward spiral of a gambling addict, comesfrom Austria; while Piotr Trzaskalski's road movie The Master (Mistrz) follows a Russian knife-thrower, andtortured Afghanistan war veteran, across the backroads of Poland.

Five of the 24new directors prize competitors were already unveiled in the officialcompetition selection, including Fabian Bielinsky's The Aura (Arg-Sp), Stephane Brize's Je Ne SuiPas La Pour Etre Aime (Fr),Manuel Martin Cuenca's Malas Temporadas (Sp), Jan Cvitkovic's Gravehopping (Slov) and Bohdan Slama's SomethingLike Happiness (Cz).