International Filmmaker Award Finalists Announced (1)
This year’s projects range from Slovenia and Bosnia to Chile, Japan and the United States. The twelve finalists for the 2008 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards are:
Janez Burger / CIRCUS FANTASTICUS (Slovenia) - After losing his wife and home to the ravages of war, Stevo and his two children discover a new beginning when a circus arrives at their demolished home to stage a final performance.
Born in Slovenia, Janez Burger studied directing at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. His first feature IDLE RUNNING was a box office hit in Slovenia. It was shown at more than 60 festivals worldwide and received more than 20 awards. His second feature RUINS received 13 awards at the Slovenian Film Festival and was selected as Slovenian nominee for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Burger also produced GRAVEHOPPING, directed by Jan Cvitkovi, which received 23 festival awards, has been sold in 15 European countries and was also Slovenian nominee for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Radu Jude / The HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD (Romania) – When working class teenager Delia wins a luxury car in a promotional campaign, she and her parents travel to Bucharest to shoot a commercial in which she must thank the sponsoring company for the car. As the shoot wears on, the car slowly becomes both the object and catalyst of an absurd clash of desire, values, and will between Delia’s cash-strapped parents and her youthful self.
Radu Jude was born in Bucharest in 1977. He graduated in 2003 from the filmmaking department of Media University. He worked as an assistant director for feature films shot in Romania, such as AMEN by Costa Gavras and THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU by Cristi Puiu. He has directed several commercials and short films including THE TUBE WITH A HAT (2006), which won the Short Filmmaking Award at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, the Golden Gate Award at San Francisco Film Festival, and the Best Narrative Short at Los Angeles Film Festival. THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD is his first feature film.
Jasmila Zbanic / ON THE PATH (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – A young married couple’s love is put to the test as the wife searches for salvation from her war-ravaged past, and her alcoholic husband attempts to find salvation by joining a radical sect of Islam.
Born in Sarajevo in 1974, Jasmila Zbanic is a graduate of her native city’s Academy of Dramatic Arts, in the Department of theater and film directing. Zbanic began making films in 1997 when she founded the artists’ association Deblokada, through which she produced, wrote and directed numerous films, such as BIRTHDAY (part of the omnibus film LOST & FOUND), RED RUBBER BOOTS, IMAGES FROM THE CORNER, AFTER AFTER, and WE LIGHT THE NIGHT.