The Seattle International Film Festival, which takes place this year from May 23 to June 16, has named this year's four emerging masters - directors from around the world who have established themselves as potential cinematic masters - whose work will be spotlighted during the festival. They are Jacques Audiard from France, Julio Medem from Spain, Miike Takashi from Japan and Park Chan-wook from Korea.

'The mandate of film festivals should not lie in merely bringing good film to audiences who might not otherwise have the opportunity to see them,' said festival director Darryl Macdonald in a statement. 'These events are just as much about nurturing talent as nurturing audiences.'

Each of the emerging masters will fly to Seattle to receive their awards and present their latest work on successive weekends of the four-week festival. They joing previous emerging masters have included Tom Tykwer, Francois Ozon and Michael Winterbottom.

- Audiard, whose latest film is Read My Lips, won a Cesar in 1994 for best new director with See How They Fall and won the best screenplay award at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival for A Self-Made Hero.

- Park has become one of South Korea's most controversial directors with titles such as Trio and his latest Sympathy For Mr Vengeance.

- Medem, whose first film Vacas had its US premiere at Seattle, has achieved international renown with films such as The Red Squirrel, Tierra, Lovers Of The Arctic Circle and his latest Sex And Lucia.

- Takashi served as assistant director to film-makers such as Shohei Imamura before starting to make his own films in 1995 such as The Happiness Of The Katakuris and his latest Agitator.