Sixty-five countries vie for Oscar nom

Competish fierce for five foreign-language slots

(Artan Minarolli)
Synopsis: A carefree Albanian student gets drawn into an ancient blood feud when he returns home for a funeral, only to find himself a wanted man.
Awards: Belgrade Film Festival B2B development grant
Sales: Wildart Film

El secreto de sus ojos
(Juan Jose Campanella)
Synopsis: An ambitious, complex work that combines two generation-spanning love stories, a noirish thriller, some witty comedy and a sharp political critique.
Prodco: Haddock Films

Autumn of the Magician
(Rouben Kevorkov and Vaheh Kevorkov)
Synopsis: Docu about famed Italian poet, writer and screenwriter Tonino Guerra, who worked with such diverse filmmakers as Fellini, Antonioni and Tarkovsky.
Sales: Sharm Holdings

Samson and Delilah
(Warwick Thornton)
Synopsis: Romantic drama that details the chaotic existence endured by two Aboriginal teens on an Outback reserve, directed by a first-timer.
Awards: Cannes (Camera d’Or); Australian Writers Guild (original film, script); Art Film Festival, Slovakia (director);
St. Tropez (film, actor, actress)
Sales: Elle Driver

For a MomentFreedom
(Arash T. Riahi )
Synopsis: Heartfelt story of three disparate groups of Iranian immigrants struggling to cross borders and reach Europe and political asylum.
Awards: Montreal World Film Festival (Golden Zenith, first feature); Zurich (first feature)
Sales: Les Films du Losange

Beyond the Circle
(Golam Rabbany Biplob)
Synopsis: A naive potter and self-taught flautist from the provinces are exploited by a big-city “patron of the arts” in this political fable.
Sales: Impress Telefilm

The Misfortunates
(Felix van Groeningen)
Synopsis: A soon-to-be father looks back on his youth spent with dysfunctional relatives while he tries to understand the meaning of family.
Awards: Cannes (Art Cinema special mention); Hamptons Intl. Film Festival (film, screenplay, cinematography)
Sales: MK2

Zona sur
(Juan Carlos Valdivia)
Synopsis: The story of an upper-class family in La Paz coping with the economic downturn and political changes in the country.
Prodco: Cine Nomada

(Namik Kabil)
Synopsis: Two night watchmen discuss their relationships, lives, fears and dreams while patrolling a large furniture store in present-day Sarajevo.
Prodco: SSCA/

Time of Fear
(Sergio Rezende)
Synopsis: True-life crime drama set during a wave of gang violence that shook Sao Paulo in 2006. The $4.5 million pic opened in Brazil the day after the start of the trial of Marco Herbas Camacho, who allegedly ordered the attacks.
Sales: Toscana Audiovisual Ltda.

The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner
(Stephan Komandarev)
Synopsis: A boy suffering from amnesia after a car accident is cured by his grandfather, who uses backgammon to gradually reestablish his identity.
Awards: Bergen Intl. Film Fest (Grand Prix); Sofia (Bulgarian film, audience award); Warsaw (special jury award); Zurich (audience award)
Sales: RFF

I Killed My Mother
(Xavier Dolan)
Synopsis: Set in a nondescript Montreal suburb, Dolan’s semiautobiographical debut focuses on a teen’s stormy relationship with his single working-class mom.
Awards: Cannes (Art Cinema Award, Regards Jeunes, SACD); Namur (Bayard d’Or, actress, first screenplay); Reykjavik (Golden Puffin); Vancouver (Canadian feature); Zagreb (Golden Pram)
Distrib: Here Films/Regent

Dawson, Isla 10
(Miguel Littin)
Synopsis: True story of politician and political prisoner Sergio Bitar, sentenced to a concentration camp on a tiny island, unfolds during Chile’s 1973 coup.
Awards: Helmer Littin has been Oscar nominated twice before.
Sales: Azul Films (Chile)/VPC Cinema Video Prods. (Brazil)

Forever Enthralled
(Chen Kaige)
Synopsis: The “Farewell My Concubine” director returns to the world of Peking opera with this colorful biopic of opera star Mei Lanfang (Leon Lei).
Awards: Asian Film Awards (newcomer: Shaoqun Yu); Golden Phoenix Awards, China (new performer: Yu); Golden Rooster Awards (film, director, supporting actor)
Prodco: China Film Group

The Wind Journeys
(Ciro Guerra)
Synopsis: Accompanied by an aspiring young musician, an aging accordion player treks north in this bittersweet tale.
Awards: Bogota Film Festival (Colombian film, director); Cannes (City of Rome)
Sales: Elle Driver

(Antonio Nuic)
Synopsis: As war winds down in 1995, a dysfunctional family of macho men in a remote Herzegovinan village sort out their differences.
Sales: Propeler Film

Fallen Gods
(Ernesto Daranas)
Synopsis: Social drama revolving around the story of Ponce de Leon, the infamous Havana pimp and politician who was murdered in 1910.
Awards: Cine Ceara (actress, art direction)
Prodco: ICAIC

(Marek Najbrt)
Synopsis: World War II thriller about a radio journalist living in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia who tries to protect his actress wife after her Jewish heritage is discovered.
Prodco: Negativ

Terribly Happy
(Henrik Ruben Genz)
Synopsis: A tightly wound cop transferred to the boondocks after a mental breakdown finds himself enlisted by a local beauty trying to escape her abusive husband.
Awards: Bodil Awards, Denmark (six awards, including film); Chicago Intl. Film Festival (director); Troia (screenplay); Flanders (Grand Prix); Karlovy Vary (film); Robert (seven awards, including film); Valladolid (screenplay, music)
Distrib: Oscilloscope

December Heat
(Asko Kase)
Synopsis: An epic about the birth of national independence in Estonia, based on the events of December 1924 when Communist Russia threatened to take over the small Baltic state.
Sales: NonStop Sales

A Prophet
(Jacques Audiard)
Synopsis: An illiterate young Arab-Corsican man is condemned to six years in prison, where he works his way up the ranks while secretly planning his own future.
Awards: Cannes (Grand Prix); London Film Festival (film)
Distrib: Sony Pictures Classics

Letters to Father Jacob
(Klaus Haro)
Synopsis: A murderess, pardoned and released early from a life sentence, serves as a secretary to a blind pastor and finds redemption.
Sales: Filmsharks Intl./Kinotar Oy

The Other Bank
(George Ovashvili)
Synopsis: A 12-year-old Georgian boy, pretending to be deaf and dumb, embarks on a dangerous mission to find his father in the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia.
Awards: Golden Orange Film Festival (actor, director); goEast (film, Fipresci); Paris Cinema (jury award); Yerevan (film)
Sales: Intercinema

The White Ribbon
(Michael Haneke)
Synopsis: Drama about unsettling events affecting a small village in northern Germany on the eve of World War I for which the local children may be responsible.
Awards: Cannes (Palme d’Or, Fipresci)
Distrib: Sony Pictures Classics

Slaves in Their Bonds
(Tony Lykouressis)
Synopsis: In early 20th century Corfu, a young couple’s love is sacrificed when the girl’s aristocratic family marry her off to a rich doctor to help salvage their dwindling fortune.
Awards: Thessaloniki (five awards)
Sales: Nik-S Movies

Prince of Tears
Synopsis: A family drama, reportedly based on real-life characters, set against Taiwan’s infamous (yet seldom discussed) communist witch-hunt of the ’50s.
Sales: Fortissimo Films

(Krisztina Goda)
Synopsis: When a con man who preys on emotionally vulnerable women falls for an injured ballerina, he must choose between love and money.
Awards: Hungarian Film Week (audience award)
Sales: Hungaricom

(Oskar Jonasson)
Synopsis: A thriller (tapped for U.S. remake) about an ex-con trying to go straight who is inexorably pulled back into a life of crime.
Awards: Edda Awards, Iceland (director, screenplay, sound, music, makeup)
Prodco: Blueeyes Prods.

B>Harishchandrachi Factory
(Paresh Mokashi)
Synopsis: The story of the making of India’s first pic in 1913 and only the second Marathi-lingo film India has sent to the Oscars, after 2004’s “Shwaas.”
Awards: Pune Intl. Film Festival (director)
Sales: UTV Motion Pictures

Jamila and the President
(Ratna Sarumpaet)
Synopsis: A prostitute admits to killing a senior politician, refuses legal representation and is sentenced to death, becoming a cause celebre and forcing the government to intervene.
Sales: MVP Pictures

About Elly
(Asghar Farhadi)
Synopsis: A drama about upper-middle-class Tehranis on a disastrous seaside holiday and the heavy price exacted by their elaborate culture of deceit.
Awards: Berlin Film Fest (director); Fajr (director, audience award); Tribeca (film)
Distrib: Regent Releasing

(Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani)
Synopsis: Gritty crime drama (named after a Jaffa neighborhood) about a revenge killing with tragic results was co-directed by Israeli Shani and Palestinian Copti.
Awards: Ophir Awards, Israeli Film Academy (film, director, screenplay, music, editing); Flanders Intl. Film Festival (Young Jury Xplore award)
Distrib: Kino

(Giuseppe Tornatore)
Synopsis: Epic, multigenerational tale of a Sicilian family marks the fourth time a pic by “Cinema Paradiso” director Tornatore has been selected to rep Italy in the race.
Sales: Summit Entertainment

Nobody to Watch Over Me
(Ryoichi Kimizuka)
Synopsis: A police detective is assigned to protect a schoolgirl whose brother has been arrested for the brutal murders of two classmates.
Awards: Montreal World Film Festival (screenplay)
Sales: Pony Canyon

(Ermek Tursunov)
Synopsis: Two suitors fight to the death for the hand of a young woman in this dialogue-free drama set in the second century A.D.
Sales: Helix Films

(Bong Joon-ho)
Synopsis: Arty thriller about a mother’s primal love for her son, whom she believes to be wrongly accused of murder, and her efforts to prove his innocence.
Awards: Busan Film Critics Assn. Awards (film, actress, cinematography); Buil Film Awards (film, actress, cinematography, music)
Distrib: Magnolia Pictures

(Gytis Luksas)
Synopsis: Austere B&W coming-of-age tale about a boy in a small village who loses his father and then best friend during the Soviet occupation.
Awards: Silver Crane Awards — Lithuania (actress, supporting actors)
Sales: Studija 2

(Nicolas Steil)
Synopsis: A young man goes into hiding rather than serve in the German army during the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg.
Sales: Iris Prods.

(Ivo Trajkov)
Synopsis: Drama about a man, whose death at 29 has been prophesied, trying to rebuild his life after his wife leaves with their son just before his 29th birthday.
Sales: Kaval Films

(Carlos Carrera)
Synopsis: Two female characters put a human face on the recent, real-life unsolved murders of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Sales: Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia/ Lightning Entertainment Group

(Nour-Eddine Lakhmari)
Synopsis: A noirish tale of two small-time hustlers with big dreams looking to escape their dead-end lives in Casablanca.
Sales: Tardan/Berman

Winter in Wartime
(Martin Koolhoven)
Synopsis: A young boy secretly helps a downed Brit pilot escape the occupying Nazis while his town mayor father is happy to keep the status quo with the Germans.
Awards: Netherlands Film Festival (actor, supporting actor, production design); Rome Intl. Film Festival (Silver Marc’Aurelio); Rembrandt Awards (film, actor, actress); PZC Audience Award.
Sales: Isabella Films

Max Manus
(Espen Sandberg and Joachim Roenning)
Synopsis: True story of the celebrated Norwegian WWII resistance fighter, touching on both his exploits and the problems he suffered in later life.
Awards: Kanon Awards, Kosmorama (film); Amanda Awards, Norwegian Intl. Film Festival (film ,actor, supporting actor, screenplay, cinematography)
Sales: Trust Nordisk

The Milk of Sorrow
(Claudia Llosa)
Synopsis: A woman, the product of rape during Peru’s decades of political violence, is determined to bury her dead mother in her native village.
Awards: Berlin (Golden Bear)
Sales: Wanda Vision

Grandpa Is Dead
(Soxie H. Topacio)
Synopsis: Dysfunctional-family comedy illuminates the unusual Filipino superstitions and rituals revealed during a six-day wake and funeral.
Sales: APT Entertainment

(Borys Lankosz)
Synopsis: A 30-year-old woman still living with her mother falls for a handsome man whose secret changes their lives in this dark, 1950s-set suspense story.
Awards: Gdynia Polish Film Fest (film, actress, supportin actress, cinematography, music); Warsaw Film Fest (Fipresci)
Sales: Studio Filmowe KADR

Doomed Love
(Mario Barroso)
Synopsis: This tragic love story was adapted from Camilo Castelo Branco’s 19th-century Portuguese novel and transposed to modern times.
Awards: Locarno (nominated for Golden Leopard)
Sales: Clap Filmes

Kabo and Platon
(Edmundo H. Rodriguez)
Synopsis: Two wannabe music stars struggle to get ahead in the industry and find their friendship survives all the artistic and financial ups and downs.
Sales: Propaganda Films

Police, Adjective
(Corneliu Porumboiu)
Synopsis: Cannes Camera d’Or winner Porumboiu (“12:08 East of Bucharest”) returns with a black comedy about a young cop’s crisis of faith about arresting a drug-dealing teen after shadowing him for several days.
Awards: Cannes (Un Certain Regard, Fipresci); Transilvania Film Festival (Transilvania Trophy)
Distrib: IFC Films

Ward No. 6
(Karen Shakhnazarov)
Synopsis: This contempo adaptation of the Chekhov short story concerns a doctor who ends up as a patient at his own mental facility.
Awards: Moscow Intl. Film Fest (actor)
Sales: Mosfilm

St. George Shoots the Dragon
(Srdjan Dragojevic)
Synopsis: Sprawling pre-WWI drama — reportedly the third most expensive Serbian film ever produced — is refracted through a romantic triangle.
Awards: Montreal World Film Fest (artistic contribution)
Sales: Wild Bunch

Broken Promise
(Jiri Chlumsky)
Synopsis: True Holocaust story of a Jewish Slovak youth’s harrowing fight for survival in a world of increasing anti-Semitism, deportations and death camps.
Awards: Festroia, Portugal (actor); L.A. Jewish Film Fest (audience award)
Sales: Film Europe

Landscape No. 2
(Vinko Moderndorfer)
Synopsis: Two art thieves steal a mysterious document that then unleashes diabolical powers from the past.
Sales: Vanguard

White Wedding
(Jann Turner)
Synopsis: Road comedy-romance centers on about-to-be-married man and his best man, who endure various setbacks as they travel to Cape Town for the wedding.
Awards: Mill Valley Film Fest (audience award)
Sales: Portobello/Fandango

The Dancer and the Thief
(Fernando Trueba)
Synopsis: An ex-con safecracker tries to reconnect with his wife and son while another young ex-con in love with a mute ballet dancer tries to involve him in a heist.
Awards: Trueba won for “Belle Epoque”
Sales: 6 Sales

The Road From Elephant Pass
(Chandran Rutnam)
Synopsis: Two adversaries in Sri Lanka’s ongoing ethnic conflict are forced to depend on each other during a dangerous trip across the country.
Sales: Taprobane Pictures

(Ruben Ostlund)
Synopsis: Offbeat dark comedy examines the nature of group dynamics in unconnected stories about characters ranging from teens to late middle age.
Awards: Brussels Film Fest (film); Mar del Plata Film Fest (jury award); Miami (Fipresci); Stockholm (audience awards)
Sales: The Coproduction Office

(Ursula Meier)
Synopsis: Isabelle Huppert stars in the story of a French family’s attempt to cling to their quiet, isolated rural life despite a new expressway invading their backyard.
Awards: Swiss Film Prize (film, screenplay, emerging actress); Lumiere Awards, France (cinematography); Mar del Plata Film Fest (actress, cinematography)
Sales: Lorber HT Digital

No puedo vivir sin ti
(Leon Dai)
Synopsis: A down-and-out man, abandoned by his child’s mother years ago, is left to bring up his daughter.
Awards: Alba Intl. Film Fest (two awards), Taipei (film, actor, supporting actor); Skip City, Japan (film)
Sales: Good Films Workshop

Best of Times
(Yongyoot Thongkongtoon)
Synopsis: Romance centers on two couples and how even the briefest encounter with true love can leave lifelong memories.
Sales: GMM

I Saw the Sun
(Mahsun Kirmizigul)
Synopsis: A family is tracked over a quarter-century as its members are forcibly relocated from a mountain village to Istanbul and Norway.
Sales: Boyut Film

Afghan Star
(Havana Marking)
Synopsis: Timely docu follows the dramatic stories of four young finalists as they battle it out in the Afghan version of “American Idol.”
Awards: Sundance (directing, audience); Prix Italia (TV docu)
Distrib: Zeitgeist Films

Bad Day for Fishing
(Alvaro Brechner)
Synopsis: Dark comedy concerns a washed-up wrestler and his shifty manager whose attempt to cash in on a wrestling exhibition spells trouble.
Awards: Warsaw Intl. Film Festival (Free Spirit Award); Lima Latin American Film Festival (screenplay)
Sales: Bavaria Film Intl.

Libertador Morales, el justiciero
(Efterpi Charalambidis)
Synopsis: Debut film follows a motorcyclist, played by Rafael Gil, on a Robin Hood-style mission to defend good people from bad.
Sales: Fundacion Villa del Cine

Don’t Burn It
(Dang Nhat Minh)
Synopsis: This poignant true story is based on the war diary of a 24-year-old volunteer female Viet Cong army medic that survived her death in 1970.
Awards: Fukuoka Intl. Film Fest (audience award)
Sales: Hoda Film

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