New Directors contenders added to fest

Kim Ki-duk’s latest feature, “Amen,” will world preem at September’s San Sebastian Film Festival as a late competition entry, the fest announced Wednesday.

“Amen,” backed by South Korea’s Fine Cut, centers on a Korean girl’s mysterious voyage and her encounters with a man on her trail.

Pic, shot under the radar in Europe, comes just months after Kim’s docudrama “Arirang” shared Cannes’ Un Certain Regard prize. The film offered a self-portrait of Kim as a purportedly nearly washed-up filmmaker.

“Amen” is joined in competition by helmer Oren Moverman’s “Rampart,” based on a James Ellroy script that Moverman adapted. It toplines Woody Harrelson as an LAPD cop under investigation and co-stars Ice Cube, Ben Foster, Robin Wright, Sigourney Weaver and Steve Buscemi.

Among other titles announced, South Korean Lim Woo-seong’s “Scars,” Chilean Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’ “By the Fire” and Brit Dexter Fletcher’s “Wild Bill” will compete for the Kutxa New Directors’ Award, which carries a €90,000 ($130,000) cash prize.

Relating the sufferings of a woman with an unfaithful husband, “Scars” is Lim’s follow-up to 2010 Sundance screener “Vegetarian.”

Fernandez Almendras’ “Fire,” about the love story between a man and a terminally ill woman, received a $72,000 award from Berlin’s World Cinema Fund and played the Toulouse Festival’s Films in Progress showcase this year. It is the helmer’s second pic at the fest, following “Huacho.”

“Wild Bill,” the directorial debut of actor Fletcher (“Kick Ass”), is a comic take on an ex-con’ tribulations after he becomes a single parent.

Ranging widely, the New Directors’ lineup also takes in American Simon Arthur’s first feature “Silver Tongues,” a tale of deceit and sexual control, which split critics at Slamdance; docu “Ending Note (Death of a Japanese Salesman),” from Japan’s Mami Sunada, relating the last months in the life of the director’s father; and German helmer Jan Zabeil’s “The River Used to Be a Man,” about a German man lost in Africa, seen at this year’s Munich fest.

Iceland’s Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurosson competes with youngster buddy dramedy “Either Way,” and Austrian director Sebastian Meise with family strife drama “Still Life.”

The kibbutz-set “A Beautiful Valley,” from Israel’s Hadar Friedlich rounds up the nine just-announced New Directors contenders.

Fest runs Sept. 16-24.

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