'Echo,' 'Brick' also on Directors sidebar

John Leguizamo starrer “Where God Left His Shoes,” Brit Conrad Clark’s “Soul Carriage” and “Echo” from “Princess” helmer Anders Morgenthaler will compete in San Sebastian’s Zabaltegi-New Directors section, one of the Spanish fest’s most important sidebars.

Sidebar also features Sarah Gavron’s “Brick Lane,” based on a celebrated British novel by Monica Ali, and a recent SPC North America pickup.

Lured by a considerable Euros 90,000 ($120,000) cash prize, the competish traditionally draws a strong lineup of first and second- time helmers. It also allows spectators to take the pulse of new filmmaking worldwide.

This year’s lineup offers an occasional genre piece. “Epitaph,” from South Korean brothers Jung Sik and Jung Bum-sik, is a 1940 hospital morgue-set chiller.

And thriller “Echo,” from Morgenthaler, who opened Cannes 2006 Directors Fortnight with “Princess,” has a divorced policeman increasingly loosing his marbles after kidnapping his six-year-old son.

Screened at Tribeca, and helmed by Salvatore Stabile, the neo-realist tinged “God” has Leguizamo as an homeless and jobless ex-boxer.

But largely 2007’s New Directors casts a concerned look at the state of contempo relationships, being peppered by entries featuring broken or warped families, dislocation, solitude or a lack of social solidarity.

Written by the Emirates-based Saleh Karama, Clark’s adventurous “Soul Carriage” reps an unusual road-movie trip through a heartless Chinese industrial heartland.

In “The Blue Hour,” Yank Eric Nazarian delivers a low-budget, downbeat Los Angeles-set cross-cutter. Tzahi Grad’s “Foul Gesture” plumbs the brooding violence in contempo Israel society, while in “Les fourmis rouges,” Belgian Stephan Carpiaux explores an ambiguous father-daughter relationship.

Aurelia Georges’ self-reflexive “The Walking Man” is a willfully imprecise portrait of a reclusive Russian writer in Paris.

Notably, five New Directors’ competitors turn on women.

In Threes Anna’s “The Bird Can’t Fly,” a South Africa-Netherlands-Ireland co-production, Barbara Hershey plays a grandmother attending her estranged daughter’s funeral. “The Calling Game,” from German Feliz Randau,” won lede Valeria Koch best actress at June’s Munich fest for her role as a lonely laundrette worker.

Johan Kling’s deb, “Darling,” which took top honors at Gothenberg, has a spoilt rich girl thankfully getting a life when she falls on tough times.”Brick Lane” portrays a disorientated Bangladeshi mother in East London.

One New Directors’ highlight could be “10+4,” the follow-up to Abbas Kiarostami’s milestone “10.” Sequel is directed by its lede, Mania Akbari, a groundbreaking Iranian filmmaker in her own right, whose character is now a victim not so much of difficult male-female relations in Iran as cancer.

Films join the already-announced Spanish pics, Max Lemcke’s “Casual Day,” Tom Fernandez’s “Suso’s Tower,” and “Cosmos” from Diego Fandos.

Fest also unveiled seven new documentaries in its Zabaltegi Specials spread, including Wayne Wang’s “The Princess of Nebraska,” about a young pregnant Chinese girl in the U.S.

The panorama also features the nearly three-hour, TCM-produced “Brando,” directed by Mimi Freedman and Leslie Greif, which played at Cannes; Chilean Carmen Castillo’s “Calle Sante Fe,” about the anti-Pinochet resistance; Danish TV miniseries “Performances” from Per Fly, a San Sebastian regular; Argentine Eduardo Feliz Wagner’s “Madres,” a tribute to the Plaza de Mayo Mother movement; “Young Yakuza,” about a wannabe Japanese mafioso; and “Lynch,” a playfully perverse portrait of the director, which David Lynch may or may not have directed himself.

ZABALTEGI – NEW DIRECTORS

“10+4″ (“Dah Be Alaveh Chahar”)
Iran
Director: Mania Akbari.
Cast: Mania Akbari, Amin Maher, Behnaz Jafari, Roya Akbari, Mina Hamidi, Maedeh Tahmasebi, Bahareh Mosadeghiyan, Jinous Azadegan, Ramin Rastad

“Die Anruferin” (“The Calling Game”)
Germany
Director: Felix Randau
Cast: Valerie Koch, Esther Schweins, Franziska Ponitz

“The Bird Can’T Fly”
Sudáfrica-Holanda-Irlanda
Directora: Threes Anna.
Intérpretes: Barbara Hershey, Yusuf Davids,Tony Kgoroge, John Kani

“The Blue Hour”
USA
Director: Eric Nazarian.
Cast: Emily Rios, Alyssa Milano, Yorick Van Wageningen, Clarence Williams Iii, Derrick O’Connor, Paul Dillon.

“Brick Lane”
UK
Director: Sarah Gavron.
Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik, Christopher Simpson, Naeema Begum, Lana Rahman, Harvey Virdi, Lalita Ahmed, Zafreen

“Casual Day”
Spain
Director: Max Lemcke
Cast: Juan Diego, Javier Ríos, Luis Tosar, Estíbaliz Gabilondo, Alberto San Juan, Alex Angulo, Arturo Valls, Secun De La Rosa, Malena Alterio, Marta Etura

“Cosmos”
Spain
Director: Diego Fandos
Cast: Oihana Maritorena, Xabier Elorriaga, Ramón Barea.

“Darling”
Sweden
Director: Johan Kling.
Cast: Michelle Meadows, Michael Segerström, Richard Ulfsäter, Mikael Lindgren, Natalie Sannerman.

“Ekko / Echo”
Denmark
Director: Anders Morgenthaler.
Cast: Kim Bodnia, Villads Milthers Fritsche, Stine Fischer Christensen, Peter Stomare

“Les Fourmis Rouges (Red Ants)”
Luxembourg-Belgium-France
Director: Stéphan Carpiaux
Cast: Déborah François, Frédéric Pierrot, Arthur Jugnot, Julie Gayet, Claire Johnston.

“Gidam” (“Epitaph”)
Korea
Director: Jung Brothers (Jung Bum-Sik, Jung Sik)
Cast: Jin Goo, Lee Dong-Kyu, Kim Tae-Woo, Kim Bo-Kyung

“L’Homme Qui Marche” (“The Walking Man”)
France
Director: Aurélia Georges.
Cast: Cesar Sarachu, John Arnold, Judith Henry, Mireille Perrier, Florence Loiret-Caille.

“Soul Carriage”
China-UK
Director: Conrad Clark
Cast: Yan Feng Yung, Jia Hong, Chen Jiao Ying

“Tnuah Meguna” (“Foul Gesture”)
Israel
Director: Itshak (Tzahi) Grad
Cast: Gal Zaid, Keren Mor, Asher Tsarfati, Ya’acov Ayaly, Ania BUKshtein, Tal Grushka, Rivka Michaeli, Menashe Noi, Vladimir Friedman.

“La Torre De Suso”
Spain
Director: Tom Fernández.
Cast: Javier Cámara, Gonzalo De Castro, César Vea, José Luis Alcobendas, Malena Alterio, Mariana Cordero, Fanny Gautier And The Special Collaboration Of Emilio Gutiérrez Caba

“Where God Left His Shoes”
USA
Director: Salvatore Stabile.
Cast: John Leguizamo, Leonor Varela, David Castro, Samantha Rose.

ZABALTEGI-SPECIALS

“Brando”
USA
Directors: Mimi Freedman, Leslie Greif.

“Calle Santa Fé-Rue Santa Fé”
France-Chile-Belgium
Director: Carmen Castillo

“Forestillinger” (“Performances”)
Denmark
Director: Per Fly.
Cast: Mads Wille, Sonja Richter, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Pernilla August, Jesper Christensen, Dejan CUKic

“Lucio”
Spain
Directors: Aitor Arregi And Jose Mari Goenaga

“Lynch”
USA-Denmark
Director: Blackandwhite

“Madres” (“Mothers”)
Argentina
Director: Eduardo Félix Walger.

“The Princess Of Nebraska”
USA
Director: Wayne Wang.
Cast: Ling Li, Brian Danforth, Pamelyn Chee, Patrice Binaisa

“Querida Bamako”
Spain
Directors: Omer Oke And Txarli Llorente.
Cast: Djédjé Apali, Esther Vallés, Gorsy Edu.

“Young Yakuza”
France
Director: Jean-Pierre Limosin

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