The SundanceInstitute and Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK have announced the 12finalists for the 2005 Sundance/NHK International Film-makers Awards, createdin 1996 to support emerging directors develop their screenplays.

One winner fromeach of four global regions - Europe, Latin America, USA and Japan - will be selectedby an international jury and announced before the festival in Jan. The winningdirector from each region will receive $10,000 and a guarantee that NHK willpurchase the Japanese television broadcast rights upon completion of theirproject.

Sundance Institutestaff will work closely with award recipients throughout the year to provideongoing support and seek opportunities to finance and distribute the projects.

"This award, anintegral part of the Sundance Institute's Feature Film Programme, providessignificant support for international artists," Sundance Institute Feature FilmProgramme director Michelle Satter said in a statement.

"We're thrilledby the quality and authentic voices of this year's finalists. Their projectsand stories represent a wide range of artistic voices that transcend geographicand political boundaries."

The twelvefinalists for the 2005 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award are:


Jens Jonsson's ThePing-Pong King (Sweden),which explores the brotherly ties between two boys; Salvatore Mereu's Sonetaula (Italy), a part Western-part love storyabout a boy torn from his father by false accusations; and Catalin Mitulescufor The Way I Spent the End Of The World (Romania), which tells of a seven-year-old boy living in aBucharest suburb in the last year of Ceausescu's tyrannical rule who saves hiscountry from dictatorship.


AlejandroChomski's Asleep In The Sun (Argentina), about a married couple who become involved in aconspiracy to traffic bodies and souls; Rodrigo Moreno's The Minder (Argentina), about a bodyguard whoendangers the life of his client when he loses sight of his own identity; andRodrigo Pla's The Desert Within (Mexico), which centres on a son who takes himself and his familyinto exile to atone for his father's sins.


Sterlin Harjo's FourSheets To The Wind,about a Native American who leaves the reservation for the city following hisfather' suicide; Emily Hubley's The Toe Tactic, in which a young woman pursues her lostwallet through a surreal world; and Richard Press' Virtual Love, in which a harrowing friendship betweentwo people may not actually exist.


Akemi Miyazawa's Natural Life, about an actress who finds meaning in her life bynursing her sick father; Tomofumi Tanaka's A Girl for All Seasons, which follows a chubby elementary school girl whosenaivete empowers those around her; and Mipo Oh's Yomo Yama Blues, a bittersweet portrayal of an ordinary familydealing with the challenges of everyday life.