Sundance Institute and Japanese broadcaster NHK have unveiled the 12 finallists in the 2010 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award.

Now in its fourteenth year, the partnership offers emerging film-makers from four global regions an annual $10,000 cash award and a purchase guarantee from NHK for Japanese TV broadcast rights upon completion of the project.

Additionally, each of the four recipients will receive ongoing mentorship and assistance from the Sundance Institute throughout the year to find finance and distribution.

The winners will be announced on January 28, 2010, at the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award reception at the Sundance Film Festival, which runs in Utah from January 21-31.

“We have an excellent group of finallists, and we look forward to inviting the four winners to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and working with them throughout the year,” Sundance Institute Feature Film Programme director Michelle Satter said.

The 12 finallists are:


Pablo Berger for Snowhite (Spain)
In 1920s Spain, an orphaned girl is kidnapped by a wicked stepmother but escapes to join a troupe of dwarf matadors who help her claim her legacy as Spain’s top bullfighter.

Maria Saakyan for I’m Going To Change My Name aka Alaverdy (Armenia)
A neglected teenager struggles with her blossoming sexuality and suicidal thoughts while searching for the father she has never known.

Andrei Zviagintsev for Elena (Russia)
An elderly woman who has lived with her rich husband in a large, comfortable home tries to rescue her alcoholic son from poverty and give his family the opportunity for a better life that she alone could not provide.


Amat Escalante for Heli (Mexico)
In a small Mexican town where most citizens work for an automobile assembly plant or the local drug cartel, Heli is confronted with police corruption, drug trafficking, sexual exploitation, love, guilt and revenge in the search for his missing father

Rodrigo Pla for La Demora (The Delay) (Uruguay/Mexico)
Maria, unable to cope with taking care of her elderly father who is losing his memory and becoming a burden to her family, secretly abandons him in a public square.

Manuel Nieto Zas for El Lugar Del Hijo (The Militant) (Uruguay)
A college student involved in militant activism is faced with difficult decisions when his father suddenly dies, leaving him in charge of their troubled ranch and forcing him to take on the role of a middle class bourgeois.


Benh Zeitlin for Beasts Of The Southern Wild
In the Louisiana Delta, a ferocious ten-year-old girl refuses to evacuate her home without her dying father as the Southern Apocalypse descends upon them.

So Yong Kim for For Ellen
When an aspiring young rock musician agrees to sign divorce papers for his estranged wife, he discovers he is not ready to forfeit all custody of his six-year-old daughter.

Andrew MacLean for On The Ice
On the snow-covered arctic tundra, at the top of the world in Barrow, Alaska, two Inuit teenagers try to get away with murder.


Tamako Hioki for No Woman No Cry

A 30-year-old woman employed at a factory in the outskirts of town leads a quiet mundane life, but she gradually begins to feel a sense of community among her co-workers when she starts noticing their small kindnesses.

Ryo Nakajima for Sleeping Beauty
A patient in a vegetative state receives cutting-edge deep brain stimulation treatment, enabling the attending nurse to see the patient’s memories and discover her secret.

Daisuke Yamaoka for The Wonderful Lives At Asahigaoka
A young woman’s suicide attempt leaves her in a coma but stirs up the lives of the people around her in the sleepy riverside town of Asahigaoka.