Sterlin Harjo’s “Four Sheets to the Wind,” Emily Hubley’s “The Toe Tactic” and Richard Press’ “Virtual Love” were selected by the Sundance Institute Thursday as U.S. contenders for next year’s Sundance/NHK Intl. Filmmakers Awards.
The Sundance Institute further unveiled nine international films to vie for the NHK kudos, to be handed out at the Sundance fest’s finale.
Harjo’s “Sheets” follows a Native American character whose life changes drastically after his father commits suicide. In Hubley’s similarly themed “Toe Tactic,” which combines animated and live-action filmmaking, a woman searches for her wallet while being haunted by her dead father.
Press’ “Virtual Love” is adapted from Paul Monette’s National Book Award winner.
European finalists include Jens Jonsson’s Swedish exploration of brotherhood “The Ping-Pong King,” Salvatore Mereu’s Italian Western-love story “Sonetaula” and Catalin Mitulescu’s “The Way I Spent the End of the World,” about a boy who conquers Romanian dictatorship.
From Latin America, two Argentine films — Alejandro Chomski’s “Asleep in the Sun” and Rodrigo Moreno’s “The Minder” — will compete with Rodrigo Pla’s Mexican entry, “The Desert Within.”
In the Japanese category, two stories about young women finding their way in the world — Akemi Miyazawa’s “Natural Life” and Tomofumi Tanaka’s “A Girl for all Seasons” — were picked, as was Mipo Oh’s “YomoYama Blues,” about an ordinary family dealing with the challenges of everyday life.
One film from Europe, Latin America, the U.S. and Japan is picked, with each helmer receiving $10,000 and a guarantee from Japanese broadcaster NHK to purchase TV rights to winning films upon their completion.
Past winners of the award include Michael Burke’s “Mudge Boy,” DeMane Davis and Khari Streeter’s “Lift” and Chris Eyre’s “Smoke Signals.”