Los Angeles, CA–Sundance Institute and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) today announced the winners of the 2007 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards. The four winners were selected from among 12 finalists by members of an international jury which included: Guillermo Arriaga, Carlos Diegues, Toshio Endo, Bent Hamer, Yoshio Kakeo, Mitsuo Yanagimachi, Pawel Pawlikowski, Brad Silberling, and Rafael Yglesias.
These annual awards were created in 1996 to honor and support visionary film directors from four global regions (Europe, Latin America, the United States, and Japan) in realizing their next projects. The four winners are presented with the award at the annual Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony on Saturday, January 27.
The winning director from each region will receive a $10,000 award and a guarantee from NHK to purchase the Japanese television broadcast rights upon completion of their project. NHK is Japan’s largest broadcaster with five 24-hour TV and three radio channels. In addition, the Sundance Institute staff will work closely with the award recipients throughout the year, providing ongoing support and assistance in seeking out opportunities to finance and distribute their projects.
The winning filmmakers and projects are: Lucía Cedrón, AGNUS DEI from Latin America; Caran Hartsfield, BURY ME STANDING from the United States; Tomoko Kana, TWO BY THE RIVER from Japan; and Dagur Kári, THE GOOD HEART from Europe.
“Our winners’ projects represent incredibly unique work by filmmakers from around the world and we are especially proud to be supporting three extraordinary women directors among them this year,” said Alesia Weston, Associate Director of the Feature Film Program, International.
“The Sundance/ NHK award is part of the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program which provides year-round creative and strategic support to U.S. and international filmmakers. We are thrilled by the vision and diversity of the winning directors,” stated Michelle Satter, Director, Sundance Institute Feature Film Program.
Past recipients of the award include: Miranda July, ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW (USA); Andrucha Waddington, THE HOUSE OF SAND (Brazil); Lucrecia Martel, LA CIENAGA (Argentina); Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll, WHISKY (Uruguay); Walter Salles, CENTRAL STATION (Brazil); Chris Eyre, SMOKE SIGNALS (USA); György Pálfi, TAXIDERMIA (Hungary) and Catalin Mitulescu, THE WAY I SPENT THE END OF THE WORLD (Romania). Recent winners include Fernando Eimbcke with LAKE TAHOE and Patrice Toye with THE SPRING RITUAL.
The Winners of the 2007 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award are:
Lucía Cedrón / AGNUS DEI (Argentina)
A young woman’s elderly grandfather is kidnapped for ransom during a crime wave following the Argentinean economic crisis of 2002. She learns about his role in the military dictatorship of the 1970’s and must then consider one of the paradoxes of Argentinean society: what can we forgive and how much can we forget?
Born in Argentina, Lucía Cedrón and her family moved to France when her father died under mysterious circumstances. At the Sorbonne, Cedrón received degrees in Literature, History and Film Studies. Following graduation, Lucía produced documentaries for French television but decided to return to Buenos Aires in 2002 where she made her first short film, EN AUSENCIA, winner of the Silver Bear in Berlin in 2003. AGNUS DEI will be her first feature-length film.
Dagur Kári / THE GOOD HEART (Iceland)
Jaques, an ailing middle-aged bar owner, and Lucas, a young homeless man recovering from an attempted suicide, become friends during their stay in the hospital. Their friendship is tested when a drunken stewardess comes between them as Jaques trains Lucas to take over the bar.
Icelandic, but born in France, Dagur Kári studied directing at The National Filmschool of Denmark. He graduated in 1999 with the award winning short LOST WEEKEND. His feature debut NOI ALBINOI became an international hit in 2003. His second feature, DARK HORSE (2005), was selected for “Un Certain Regard” at the Cannes Film Festival. Kári also works as a musician with the band Slowblow, which has released 4 albums and scored both of Dagur’s feature films.
Tomoko Kana / TWO BY THE RIVER (Japan)
An elderly man has an increasingly hard time caring for his infirm wife until finally, with only memories of their life together to offer solace, he feels compelled to make a very difficult choice.
Formally a producer at NHK, Tomoko Kana has become a crusading filmmaker whose travels in Southeast Asia inspired MARDIYEM (2001) a documentary about Indonesian “comfort women” who had been forced into prostitution by Japanese troops. Later, during a trip to China, she was inspired to make NIGAI NAMIDA NO DAICHI KARA (FROM THE LAND OF BITTER TEARS) (2004) which chronicles the plight of Chinese victims still affected by old, discarded Japanese ordnance. BITTER TEARS was awarded a Rookie Award from the Japanese Congress of Journalists.
Caran Hartsfield / BURY ME STANDING (USA)
A random act of violence triggers a change within a bizarre family dynamic, as each member reexamines the ignored, the hidden and the things left unsaid.
Caran Hartsfield received her MFA from the Graduate Film Department of New York University where she made the short films DOUBLE-HANDED and KISS IT UP TO GOD. Her short films went on to win many awards including second place at the Cannes Film Festival Cinéfondation, the DGA Award, the Martin Scorsese Fellowship, and the Spike Lee Fellowship. Her first feature screenplay, BURY ME STANDING, was developed at the Cannes Film Festival's Cinéfondation Residency in Paris and was workshopped at the
Sundance Screenwriter's and Director’s Labs, earning numerous awards including the IFP Gordon Parks Screenplay Award and The Media Arts Grant. She is currently in post-production on a segment of 7 THINGS I NEVER TOLD YOU, which is being made collectively by seven directors.
NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is Japan’s largest broadcaster. Since 1925, it has continued to offer fair, impartial reporting and high quality programs, earning the viewers’ trust as the nation’s sole public broadcaster. Through its five 24-hour TV channels (two terrestrial/three satellite) and three radio channels, NHK provides programs of all genres from news and education to sports and entertainment and serves as the
hub of Japanese visual culture. NHK’S arts and entertainment satellite channel, which was introduced in 1989, broadcasts more than 600 high quality international films each year. In order to contribute to the development of film culture and the promotion of cultural exchange, NHK is devoted to supporting burgeoning filmmakers who have the potential to guide the industry’s future development. Along with the “Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award,” NHK also produces the “Asian Film Festival” which offers opportunities to emerging film directors in Asia.
The Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award is part of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. The Feature Film Program was established in 1981 to identify and foster a new generation of leading film artists and support them throughout the creation of a specific film project. The program features lab residencies in writing, directing and producing, year-round creative and business support, and the Annenberg film fellowship which provides strategic financial support to filmmakers during the development and completion stages of a project. Over the years, the Feature Film Program has supported the early visionary work of Josh Marston (MARIA FULL OF GRACE), Peter Sollett (RAISING VICTOR VARGAS), Tamara Jenkins (SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS), Walter Salles (CENTRAL STATION), Paul T. Anderson (HARD EIGHT), Quentin Tarantino (RESERVOIR DOGS), and Kimberly Peirce (BOYS DON'T CRY), among many others.
Dedicated year-round to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work, Sundance Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006. Since its inception, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Sundance Film Festival and artistic development programs which provide a range of concentrated creative and financial support for screenwriters, directors, documentary filmmakers, composers, playwrights and theatre artists. The original values of independence, creative risk-taking, and discovery continue to define and guide the work of Sundance Institute, both with US artists and increasingly, with artists from other regions of the world.