The Sundance Institute and Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK have announced the 12 finalists for the 2004 Sundance/NHK International Film-makers Awards, created in 1996 to support emerging directors as they develop their next screenplays.

One winner from each of four global regions - Europe, Latin America, USA and Japan - will be selected by an international jury and announced before the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. The winning director from each region will receive $10,000 at the festival and a guarantee from NHK to purchase the Japanese television broadcast rights upon completion of their project.

The winner from Latin America will receive an additional cash prize of $10,000 and a pre-buy for all Spanish rights by Wanda Vision and Canal+ Spain. Sundance Institute staff will also work closely with award recipients throughout the year, providing ongoing support and assistance in seeking opportunities to finance and distribute their projects.

The twelve finalists for the 2004 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award are:

Christoffer Boe for Allegro (Denmark) about an internationally acclaimed pianist who forgets how to play when he meets a woman who claims to be his lost love; Alice Nellis' Loving Hell (Czech Republic), a stirring parable of emotional martyrdom, love and death; and Gyorgy Palfi's Taxidermia (Hungary), about three generations of Hungarian men told through the eyes of a taxidermist.

Eliane Caffa for Chasing Voices (Brazil), about a man's journey from the distant countryside of Brazil to the big city in search of redemption; Santiago Loza for Empty Rooms (Argentina), about four lonely women who bond through nights of insomnia and sleepwalking dialogues on the phone; and Andrucha Waddington for The House Of Sand (Brazil), the story of a woman's life spanning three generations.

Caran Hartsfield for Bury Me Standing, about five bereaved relatives struggling to reassemble their lives; Miranda July for Me And You And Everyone We Know, which centres on a group of children and adults with impossible desires in the digital age; and Elisabeth Subrin for Up, about a young dot com employee's descent into depression.

Kosuke Hosakai for Tepid Love, which follows the plight of a young student teacher who falls in love with an older colleague; Yoichi Kurokawa for Thirty Seconds: Three Victims, an account of intertwined lives that end in tragedy; and Tatsumori Natsui for Kunohe Village In The Kunohe District In The Kunohe Province, a portrait of a traditional village struggling to resist the advances of globalisation.

"This award is part of the Feature Film Programme's continuing support of international film-makers and screenwriters," said Michelle Satter, director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Programme. "We're thrilled to have such an inspired group of artists as this year's finalists. Their projects and stories represent a wide range of artistic voices that transcend geographic and political boundaries."