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Dossier: Foreign language submissions


Director: Siddiq Barmak
Synopsis: A 12-year-old girl pretends to be a boy in order for her and her mother to survive in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Cast:: Marina Golbarhari, Khwaja Nader, Arif Herati
Fests: Cannes, London, Montreal, Valladolid, Telluride, Toronto, AFI Fest
Awards: Cannes’ youth jury prize and Camera d’Or jury special mention; London fest’s Sutherland Trophy; Montreal’s Louve D’Or for best feature; Valladolid Golden Spike
Distrib: United Artists


Director: Alejandro Agresti
Synopsis: A coming-of-age story told through the eyes of a precocious 10-year-old boy who lives with his grandmother in turbulent 1969 Argentina.
Cast:: Rodrigo Noya, Carmen Maura, Julieta Cardinali
Fests: Toronto, Rotterdam, Mar del Plata, Los Angeles Latino Film Festival, Munich, Cork, Seattle, Atlanta, Maui
Awards: Mar del Plata special jury prize; Netherlands Golden Calf for director; Newport Intl. Film Fest’s audience award
Distrib: Miramax Films

Vodka Lemon

Director: Hiner Saleem
Synopsis: People in an isolated Caucasus community find tentative connections with each other
Cast:: Lala Sarkissian, Romen Avinian, Ivan Franek, Armen Marouthian
Fests: Venice, Toronto
Awards: Venice (San Marco Prize)
Distrib: Dulcine, Paris

Free Radicals

Director: Barbara Albert
Synopsis: Chaos theory and fate’s random dictates shape the life of a young woman, her family and friends after she miraculously survives a plane crash.
Cast:: Kathrin Resetarits, Ursula Strauss, Georg Friedrich
Fests: Toronto, New York, Locarno, Viennale
Distrib: Kino Intl.

Sea of Silence

Director: Stijn Coninx
Synopsis: Against the backdrop of an Apollo space flight to the moon, pic follows the spiritual and emotional development of a 9-year-old girl and her father.
Cast:: Johanna ter Steege, Neeltje de Vree, Huub Stapel
Fests: Dutch Film Festival
Awards: European Films Awards selection list
Distrib: Celluloid Dreams

Sexual Dependency

Director: Rodrigo Bellott
Synopsis: Split-screen format pic about five teenagers in Bolivia and the U.S. who try to make sense of their sexuality, exposing the universal qualities inherent in human experiences.
Cast:: Alexandra Aponte, Roberto Urbina, Antonia Savedra
Fests: Chicago, Hamptons, Raindance, Telluride, Toronto, Locarno, AFI Fest
Awards: Fipresci prize at Locarno
Distrib: Cinemavault

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Director: Pjer Zalica
Synopsis: Black comedy about a provincial Bosnian town prepping for a visit by U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Cast:: Enis Beslagic, Bogdan Diklic, Sasa Petrovic
Fests: Locarno, Toronto, Sarajevo, Marrakech, Filmfest Hamburg, AFI Los Angeles
Awards: Locarno Silver Leopard, CICAE Award special mention; European Film Award nom (European Discovery of the Year); Sarajevo first feature prize; Marrakech actor, Golden Star prizes
Distrib: Flach Pyramide


Director: Hector Babenco
Synopsis: Story of the inmates of Carandiru, one of the biggest urban prison complexes worldwide, and Drauzio Varella, a physician who worked for 14 years as a volunteer in a cellblock occupied by 900.
Cast:: Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos, Milton Gonçalves, Ivan de Almeida
Fests: Cannes, Toronto, San Sebastian, London, Calgary, Lima Latin, Gramado, Athens, Hamburg, Edda, Ljubljana
Distrib: Sony Pictures Classics

Journey to Jerusalem

Director: Ivan Nichev
Synopsis: Set during WWII, two Jewish children escape Germany via Bulgaria, joining a company of performing artists along the way.
Cast:: Elena Petrova, Alexander Morfov, Vassil Vassilev-Zueka
Fests: Golden Chest Festival (Plovdiv, Bulgaria)
Awards: International prize at Plovdiv
Distrib: Cinemascope Nichev

The Barbarian Invasions

Director: Denys Arcand
Synopsis: A man spends the last days of his life making peace with his choices and exploring the ties that bind family and friends.
Cast:: Remy Girard, Stephane Rousseau, Marie-Josee Croze
Fests: Cannes, Toronto, Telluride, Savannah, Hamptons, New York, Denver, Chicago, Mill Valley, Aspen, Woodstock
Awards: Cannes’ screenplay and actress prizes; best Canadian feature at Toronto; 2 European Film Awards nominations
Distrib: Miramax Films

Los Debutantes

Director: Andres Waissbluth
Synopsis: A noirish film that traces a spiraling descent into a neon-lit underworld of strip joints and porn theaters, retold from the points-of-view of three protagonists.
Cast:: Antonella Rios, Nestor Cantillana, Alejandro Trejo
Fests: Montreal

Warriors of Heaven and Earth

Director: He Ping
Synopsis: An epic adventure set during the Tang Dynasty about a moral conflict between two opposing warriors, a rebellious officer and an imperial bounty hunter ordered to kill him.
Cast:: Jiang Wen, Nakai Kiichi, Zhao Wei
Fests: Tokyo
Distrib: Columbia Pictures

The First Night

Director: Luis Alberto Restrepo
Synopsis: After being evicted from their land in an isolated part of the jungle, two peasants are brutally dumped onto the unfamiliar streets of Bogota.
Cast:: Carolina Lizarazo, John Alex Toro, Hernan Mendez
Fests: San Sebastian, Moscow, Mar del Plata, Cartagena, Toulouse Latin American Festival
Awards: Toulouse (Rail d’Oc), Mar del Plata (Roberto Tato Miller Award), Cartagena (best first film, actor, cinematography, OCLAC Award)
Distrib: Restrepo


Director: Vinko Bresan
Synopsis: During the 1992 Serbo-Croatian hostilities, three young local militiamen murder a Serb living in a Croatian town.
Cast:: Mirjana Karanovic, Leon Lucev, Alma Rica
Fests: Pula, Motovun
Awards: Motovun (Regional Prize)
Distrib: Interfilm

Suite Habana

Director: Fernando Perez
Synopsis: The lives of 10 young, middle-age and older Havana residents are observed impressionistically and virtually without dialogue over a 24-hour period
Fests: San Sebastian, Huelva, Marrakech
Awards: San Sebastian’s Signis Award
Distrib: Wanda Vision

Czech Republic

Director: Ondrej Trojan
Synopsis: Inspired by a true story of a young woman who was part of the Nazi resistance movement and forced to live as the wife of a mountain man.
Cast:: Anna Geislerova
Distrib: Menemsha


Director: Christoffer Boe
Synopsis: A chance encounter is transformed into a meditation on love, memory and fate, the choices that we make and the courage required to follow through with them.
Cast:: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Maria Bonnevie, Krister Henriksson
Fests: Cannes, San Sebastian, Norway, Chicago, London, Telluride
Awards: Cannes’ Camera d’Or, Youth Prize; Fipresci Prize for new director of the year; Norwegian fest’s Amanda Award for Nordic debut; Chicago fest’s Golden Plaque for cinematography; European Film Awards Fassbinder Discovery Award nominee
Distrib: Palm Pictures

Sleepless Nights

Director: Hani Khalifa
Synopsis: In the most controversial and critically praised Egyptian film in recent years, a birthday party is the catalyst for an explosion of relationship problems involving infidelity and jealousy.
Cast:: Sherif Mounir, Khaled Abol Naga, Mona Zaki


Director: Klaus Haro
Synopsis: Themes of love, justice and integrity are woven through the tale of a Finnish schoolgirl living in Sweden and her rebellion against a conservative pedagogue trying to teach her Swedish.
Cast:: Natalie Minnevik, Maijala Marjaana, Bibi Andersson
Fests: Berlin, Haugesund, London, Lubeck Nordic Festival, Goteborg, Copenhagen
Awards: Special mention and youth jury prize at Berlin
Distrib: Nordisk Film

Bon Voyage

Director: Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Synopsis: Elaborate personal schemes and political plots escalate, intersect and fly off in all directions, as a young man must choose between a beautiful diva and an impassioned student, politicians and hoodlums, and carefree youth and adulthood.
Cast:: Gerard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani, Virginie Ledoyen
Fests: Cairo, Toronto, AFI Fest, Calgary, Cabourg Romance, Copenhagen, Moscow
Awards: Cabourg Romance’s director prize
Distrib: Sony Pictures Classics (SPC)

Good Bye, Lenin!

Director: Wolfgang Becker
Synopsis: When an East German mother wakes from a coma after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, her children try to prevent further shock by pretending socialism isn’t dead.
Cast:: Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sass, Chulpan Khamatova
Fests: Berlin, Toronto
Awards: nommed for five European Film Awards (film, actor, actress, director, screenplay)
Distrib: SPC

Think It Over

Director: Katerina Evangelakou
Synopsis: While lying unconscious on a sidewalk after a fall, a woman flashes back on her life of disappointments in a provincial town.
Cast:: Maria Papadimitriou, Yvonne Maltezou, Christos Stergioglu
Fests: Thessaloniki, La Rochelle
Awards: Thessaloniki audience, actor and Greek technicians prizes
Distrib: Greek Film Center

Hong Kong
Infernal Affairs
Directors: Andrew Lau and Alan Mak
Synopsis: A gang’s police department mole and an undercover cop infiltrating the same gang have the same objectives.
Cast:: Andy Lau, Tony Leung, Anthony Wong
Awards: 7 Hong Kong Film Awards, including picture, actor, director; 2 Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards for actor and film
Distrib: Miramax Films


Director: Benedek Fliegauf
Synopsis: Seven vignettes of chance encounters, characters in crisis and friendships growing strange in a Budapest shopping mall.
Cast:: Rita Braun, Barbara Csonka, Edit Lipcsei
Fests: Berlin, Toronto, Hungarian Film Week, Jerusalem, Montreal, Athens, Chicago, Ljubljana
Awards: Berlin’s Wolfgang Staudte prize, Hungarian Film Week director and foreign critics’ prizes
Distrib: Mokep Co.

Noi Albinoi

Director: Dagur Kari
Synopsis: On a remote fjord in Iceland, the quintessential misunderstood youth longs for escape only to have the awesome powers of nature leave him with a fate even his particular genius could not have forseen.
Cast:: Tomas Lemarquis, Throstur Leo Gunnarsson
Fests: Telluride, Toronto, Rotterdam, AFI, Chicago, London, Edinburgh, Pusan
Awards: 11 kudos, including Moviezone Award at Rotterdam, Fipresci prize at Gothenburg, new director award at Edinburgh; nommed for actor and 3 people’s choice awards at the European Film Awards
Distrib: Palm Pictures

The Stringless Violin

Director: Sekar Ayu Asmara
Synopsis: A former ballet dancer, having endured rape and abortion, transforms a house she’s inherited into an orphanage for handicapped babies.
Cast:: Ria Iwaran, Nicholas Saputra, Jajang C. Noer
Fests: Cairo, Asia Pacific
Awards: Debut film at Cairo; Asia Pacific’s actress prize

Deep Breath

Director: Parviz Shahbazi
Synopsis: Two bored young slackers — one rich, the other poor — drive through Tehran looking for cheap thrills, and encounter a young female hitchhiker.
Cast:: Mansour Shahbazi, Maryam Palizban, Saeed Amini
Fests: Cannes, Fajr Film Festival, Pusan, Vancouver, Montreal, Hamburg, Asia Pacific
Awards: Fipresci prize at Pusan
Distrib: Behnegar

Nina’s Tragedies

Director: Savi Gavison
Synopsis: 13-year-old Nadav tells us about his broken family, his parents’ divorce, his dying father, his wild mother and — more than anything else — his great love for his beautiful aunt, Nina.
Cast:: Ayelet July Zurer, Yoram Hatav, Aviv Eklabets
Fests: Jerusalem Intl. Film Festival (film and screenplay prizes)
Awards: 11 Israeli Academy Awards, including picture, director and screenplay
Distrib: Love Sick Ltd.

I’m Not Scared

Director: Gabriele Salvatores
Synopsis: In 1978, a 10 year-old boy’s idyllic summer in a remote southern Italian village is filled with the familiar routines of childhood, but a chance discovery leads to a shocking revelation.
Cast:: Giuseppe Cristiano, Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, Dino Abbrescia
Fests: Montreal, Toronto, Aspen, Denver, Berlin
Awards: 3 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbons, including director
Distrib: Miramax Films

The Twilight Samurai

Director: Yoji Yamada
Synopsis: A mellow, stately, contemplative study of a brave but reluctant low-level samurai warrior yearning for a simpler life
Cast:: Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa, Mitsu Fukikoshi
Fests: Berlin, Hong Kong, Chicago, Montreal, Cambridge, Jerusalem, Hawaii, Oslo
Awards: 11 Japanese Academy Awards, including picture, director and actor
Distrib: Shochiku

The Kite

Director: Randa Chahal Sabag
Synopsis: Two Arab villages separated by the Israeli-Lebanese border provide a backdrop for a Lebanese girl’s dreams of freedom as she is betrothed to her cousin living on the Israeli side of the fence.
Cast:: Flavia Bechara, Maher Bsaibes, Ziad Rahbani
Fests: Venice, Montreal, Valladolid
Awards: Special jury, Magic Lantern and CinemAvvenire Peace prizes at Venice
Distrib: Flach Pyramide

I Always Wanted to Be a Saint

Director: Genevieve Mersch
Synopsis: A compassionate 17-year-old girl’s discovery that her long-lost mother is alive and well upsets her well-ordered existence but leads to life-altering events.
Cast:: Marie Kremer, Thierry Lefevre, Janine Godinas
Fests: Montreal, Gijon, Mannheim
Awards: First film at Montreal
Distrib: Brussels Avenue

Aro Tolbukhin: In the Mind of a Killer
Directors: Agustin Villaronga, Lydia Zimmermann and Isaac P. Racine
Synopsis: Docu and narrative combine to trace the life of an Hungarian man who was sentenced to death for murder but whose guilt was questioned when case files revealed major inconsistencies.
Cast:: Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Carmen Beato
Fests: Rotterdam, San Sebastian, New York, Kolkata, Leeds, Alexandria, Sitges, Karlovy Vary, Miami Latin Film Festival, Chicago Latino Film Festival
Awards: 7 Ariel Awards (Mexico), including actor, actress and screenplay; 5 prizes at Alexandria, including picture; picture and screenplay prizes at Ibero-americano de Santa Cruz fest
Distrib: Grupo Pi/Nuvision

The Story of the Weeping Camel
Directors: Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni
Synopsis: The adventures of a family of herders who face a crisis when a mother camel rejects her newborn calf following a particularly difficult delivery.
Fests: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Munich
Awards: Docu nominee, European Film Awards
Distrib: ThinkFilm

Muna Madan

Director: Gyanendra Bahadur Deuja
Synopsis: A screen adaptation of Laxmi Prasad Devkota’s epic 20th century poem about a young husband who travels to Tibet on business, only to return to Nepal to find that his beloved wife is dead.

Twin Sisters

Director: Ben Sombogaart
Synopsis: The lives of twin sisters, who were separated in early childhood, intersect during the WWII years and then separate again until finally they meet one last time.
Cast:: Thekla Reuten, Nadja Uhl, Jeroen Spitzenberger
Fests: Nederlands Film Festival
Awards: Netherlands fest’s Golden Calf for feature
Distrib: Miramax Films

Kitchen Stories

Director: Bent Hamer
Synopsis: Set in post-WWII Scandinavia, researchers unobtrusively try to collect data on the kitchen habits of confirmed bachelors in a rural Nowegian town.
Cast:: Joachim Calmeyer, Tomas Norstrom, Bjorn Floberg
Fests: Tromso, Cannes, Toronto, AFI Fest, Copenhagen, Flanders, Valladolid, Sao Paulo, Banff
Awards: Fipresci prize at Tromso; Cannes’ Regard Jeune prize, Paysages de Cineastes audience and cinematography prizes; Copenhagen’s Golden Swan for director; Norwegian Film Fest’s Amanda prize for feature; Festival du Cinema Europeen’s students prize; Flanders screenplay prize; Nordic Film Days Lubeck, Baltic film prize; Valladolid Silver Spike and cinematography prizes; Sao Paulo director prize
Distrib: IFC Films

Divine Intervention

Director: Elia Suleiman
Synopsis: Separated by a checkpoint, Palestinian lovers from Jerusalem and Ramallah arrange clandestine meetings.
Cast:: Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader, Nayef Fahoum Daher
Fests: Cannes, Chicago, Cinemanila
Awards: Cannes jury and Fipresci prizes, Chicago’s Silver Hugo; Cinemanila screenplay and Netpac prizes; European Film Award (2002)
Distrib: Avatar Films

Paper Dove

Director: Fabrizio Aguilar
Synopsis: After his father is killed, a boy is forced to join a terrorist group, returning to his childhood town years later.
Cast:: Antonio Callirgos, Eduardo Cesti, Aristoteles Picho
Distrib: Luna Llena Films

Dekada 70

Director: Chito S. Rono
Synopsis: A year-by-year account of the slow political awakening of a middle-class Filipino family over a decade of repression and martial law.
Cast:: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Piolo Pascual
Fests: New York Asian American, Cinemanila
Awards: Cinemanila actress and Netpac prizes; FAP actress award; 4 Gawad Urian awards, including actress and picture


Director: Jan Jakub Kolski
Synopsis: During WWII, two priviledged men go and visit their friends in the Polish countryside; based on the Witold Grombrowicz novel.
Cast:: Krzysztof Majchrzak, Adam Ferency, Krzysztof Globisz
Fests: Venice, New York, AFI Fest
Distrib: Heritage Films

A Talking Picture

Director: Manoel de Oliveira
Synopsis: A history prof takes her daughter on a cruise around the Mediterranea.
Cast:: Leonor Silveira, Filipa de Almeida, John Malkovich
Fests: Venice
Awards: Signis prize at Venice
Distrib: Kino Intl.

The Return

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Synopsis: Two young brothers are taken on an adventurous tour of the Russian wilderness by a father they never knew.
Cast:: Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov, Konstantin Lavronenko
Fests: Toronto, Venice
Awards: Golden Lion and best first film prizes at Venice
Distrib: Kino Intl.

Serbia & Montenegro
The Professional

Director: Dusan Kovacevic
Synopsis: A publisher meets the man who shadowed him for a decade under the Milosevic regime.
Cast:: Bora Todorovic, Branislav Lecic, Natasa Ninkovic
Fests: Montreal, Viareggio EuropaCinema
Awards: film and screenplay prizes at Viareggio; Fipresci and screenplay prizes at Montreal; European Film Award screenplay nom
Distrib: Vans

King of Thieves

Director: Ivan Fila
Synopsis: A modern-day Oliver Twist.
Cast:: Heinz Hoenig, Katharina Thalbach

Spare Parts

Director: Damjan Kozole
Synopsis: A pair of small-time Slovene criminals smuggle illegal immigrants over the Italian border.
Cast:: Peter Musevski, Aljosa Kovacic, Primoz Petkovsek
Fests: Berlin, Festroia
Distrib: MDC Intl.

South Korea
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring

Director: Kim Ki-duk
Synopsis: Against the dreamlike background of a monastery floating on a pond in a forest, panoramic portraits of life flow by in accordance with the four seasons.
Cast:: Oh Young-soo, Kim Jong-ho, Seo Jae-kyung
Fests: Pusan, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Toronto, Venice, San Sebastian
Awards: City of Karlovy Vary prize, Locarno Junior Jury, Don Quixote Prize, CICAE/ARTE Prize, Netpac Prize; San Sebastian audience award
Distrib: SPC

Soldiers of Salamina

Director: David Trueba
Synopsis: A jaded femme novelist investigates a real-life episode in the Spanish Civil War when a young soldier spares the life of Francoist writer and politician Rafael Sanchez Mazas.
Cast:: Ariadna Gil, Ramon Fontsere, Maria Botto
Fests: Cannes, Santo Domingo, Karlovy Vary, Copenhagen, San Sebastian, Bogota
Awards: Screenplay at Copenhagen
Distrib: Lolafilms

Sri Lanka
Mansion by the Lake

Director: Lester James Peries
Synopsis: A formerly wealthy, expatriate Sri Lankan family returns from England to the magnificent country estate they left behind.
Cast:: Malini Fonseka, Wasanthi Chathurani, Sanath Gunatillake
Fests: Cannes, Edinburgh, New York, Fukuoka Asian, La Rochelle
Distrib: National Film Corp. of Sri Lanka


Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Synopsis: A 16-year-old plagued by violence and an abusive stepfather fights back.
Cast:: Andreas Wilson, Henrik Lundstrom, Gustaf Skarsgard
Fests: AFI Fest, Viareggio
Awards: Fipresci prize at Viareggio
Distrib: Nordisk Film

Goodbye, Dragon Inn

Director: Tsai Ming-liang
Synopsis: An old movie theater facing demolition in Taiwan plays host to a cast of social misfits, or are they really ghosts of movies past?
Cast:: Kang-sheng Lee, Shiang-chyi Chen, Kiyonobu Mitamura
Fests: Venice, New York
Awards: Fipresci prize at Venice
Distrib: HomeGreen Films

Last Life in the Universe

Director: Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Synopsis: Two lonely souls who are brought together by two accidental deaths and find their lives inextricably linked as they hide out together hoping to find love and redemption.
Cast:: Asano Tadanobu, Sinitta Boonyasak, Matsushige Yutaka
Fests: Venice, Toronto, Bangkok, London, Pusan, Vancouver
Awards: Actor award at Venice (Upstream), Bangkok fest’s best film
Distrib: Palm Pictures


Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Synopsis: Literal and figurative distance is explored when two down-on-their-luck cousins — one a city-based photographer, the other a laid-off rural factory-worker — reconcile their very different lives.
Cast:: Muzaffer Ozdemir, Emin Toprak, Zuhal Gencer Erkaya
Fests: Cannes, Cinemanila, San Sebastian, Istanbul, New York, Ankara, Antalya
Awards: Cannes’ director and grand jury prizes; Fipresci film of the year at San Sebastian; picture, director and Fipresci prizes at Istanbul; Lino Brocka prize at Cinemanila; European Film Award director nom
Distrib: New Yorker Films


Director: Oles Sanin
Synopsis: Based on Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar epics.
Cast:: Viktoria Spesivtseva, Nazl Seytablayeva, Andriy Bilous
Fests: Molodist Festival (Kiev),
Distrib: Ministry of Culture and Arts of Ukraine

Seawards Journey

Director: Guillermo Casanova
Synopsis: A group of villagers embark on a journey to see the sea for the first time.
Cast:: Hugo Arana, Julio Calgagno, Julio Cesar Castro
Fests: Gothenburg, Huelva, Mannheim, Montreal, Neuvo Cine Latinoamericano (Havana), Sao Paulo
Awards: Colon de Oro for feature and actor at Huelva
Distrib: Guazu Media


Director: Leonardo Henriquez
Synopsis: Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” is adapted to the setting of rural Venezuela at the turn of the 20th century.
Cast:: Daniel Alvarado, Karina Gomez, Francisco Alfaro
Fests: Venice, Tokyo, Mar Del Plata, Chonju, Los Angeles Latino Festival, Bogota, Calcutta, Chicago Latino Festival
Awards: Venezuela Academy Awards (actor, sound)

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