Wayne Wang’s A Thousand Years of Good Prayers won the Golden Shell for Best Film at this year’s edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival.
Written by Yiyun Li from her own short story, Wang’s film depicts the difficult relationship between a Beijing widower and his recently divorced daughter living in the US. As the widower, American performer Henry O, 79, was given the Silver Shell for Best Actor.
The jury was presided by author and director Paul Auster, with whom Wang had previously worked on the meandering 1995 dramatic comedy Smoke and its sequel, Blue in the Face. The duo reportedly had a falling out a few years later while working on another project.
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers was also the top pick of the World Catholic Association for Communication and of the Spanish Film Critics.
The Special Jury Award went to 18-year-old Hana Makhmalbaf’s feature-film debut, Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame, the tale of a six-year-old Afghan girl who wants to go to school despite opposition from traditionalists in that rabidly patriarchal society. Jury members were impressed with the film’s “exquisite cinematography and the remarkable performance by the child actress Nikbakht Noruz. A promising debut by a filmmaker who we hope will go on to create important works in the future.”
Nick Broomfield won the best director prize for the British Iraq war drama Battle for Haditha, the story of the 2005 slaughter of 24 Iraqi civilians by US marines.
“I think this film can play a role, provide information at a time when there is very little information coming out of Iraq that is not from official sources,” Broomfield stated at the Battle for Haditha screening. “This is a war with very little information.”
Blanca Portillo, best known internationally for her role as the woman dying of cancer in Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver, was chosen best actress for her performance as a morally conflicted ex-con in Gracia Querejeta’s Seven Billiard Tables. Querejeta and co-screenwriter David Planell shared the screenwriting award with John Sayles for Honeydripper, the story of a nightclub owner who must fight the system in 1950s Alabama in order to keep his club going.
According to John Hopewell’s report for Variety, “San Sebastian jury decisions are often stomped by the local press. So jury chairman Paul Auster pulled off something of a feat … by drawing strong applause from Spanish critics for almost all plaudits.” (A feat indeed, but Auster shouldn’t have led the jury when a film by friend/foe Wang was in competition.)
Nadine Labaki’s French-Lebanese beauty salon drama Caramel (above) won both the Audience and the Youth awards, while the International Film Critics choice was Anahí Berneri’s Argentinian drama Encarnación, which follows an aging, fading actress who travels to the countryside. Julian Schnabel’s tedious (though, admittedly, well-received) French-made drama The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, based on the real-life struggles of stroke victim Jean-Dominique Bauby, was the Audience Award runner-up.
David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, the festival’s opening night gala film – and perhaps the most high-profile entry in the official selection – came out empty-handed. (“An absence as ridiculous as it is understandable,” wrote E. Rodríguez Marchante in the Spanish newspaper ABC (Google translation), adding “it’s a Cronenberg film, so why bother giving it any awards?”)
Conrad Clark’s Anglo-Chinese co-production Soul Carriage, about a young man whose boss orders him to take care of the dead body of a co-worker, received the Altadis New Directors Award, while Enrique Fernández and César Charlone’s Uruguayan comedy The Pope’s Toilet, about the furor caused by the pope’s visit to a small Uruguayan town, received the Horizontes Award for Best Iberian/Ibero-American film.
Richard Gere, 58, and Liv Ullmann, 69, were honored with the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award. (Donostia is the Basque name for San Sebastian.)
“We’ve lost two of the greatest film directors, [Ingmar] Bergman and [Michelangelo] Antonioni – both died this summer – and those two people did much more for the world with their cinema than the majority of politicians,” Ullmann remarked at a press conference. “It’s thanks to them that I’m proud to make movies.”
Ullmann added that she and Bergman had “a magnificent relationship for 40 years, a friendship, and he’s the father of my child.” According to a moncinema.ca report, the (Tokyo-born) Norwegian actress-director was visibly moved and was warmly applauded by the journalists present.
The 2007 edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival also included a comprehensive retrospective of director Henry King’s career, ranging from his early silents – Tol’able David, Stella Dallas, The Winning of Barbara Worth – to his lengthy stint at 20th Century Fox, where he was one of the studio’s top directors from the mid-1930s to the late 1950s.
Henry King’s films, in fact, served as launching pads and/or major career boosts for the likes of Tyrone Power (In Old Chicago, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Jesse James, The Black Swan, etc.), Alice Faye (In Old Chicago, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Little Old New York), Jennifer Jones (The Song of Bernadette, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing), Gregory Peck (Twelve O’Clock High, The Gunfighter, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, etc.), and Susan Hayward (I’d Climb the Highest Mountain, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, David and Bathsheba).
And the last word goes to Hana Makhmalbaf:
“Thank you very much,” the young filmmaker said upon accepting her award. “I was just thinking that if cinema and poetry didn’t exist the world would only be violence.”
San Sebastian Film Festival Awards
2007 San Sebastian Film Festival: Sept. 20–29.
GOLDEN SHELL FOR BEST FILM: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by WAYNE WANG (USA)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: Buda az sharm foru rikht / Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame by HANA MAKHMALBAF (Iran-France)
SILVER SHELL FOR BEST DIRECTOR: NICK BROOMFIELD for Battle for Haditha (UK)
SILVER SHELL FOR BEST ACTOR: HENRY O. for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (USA)
SILVER SHELL FOR BEST ACTRESS: BLANCA PORTILLO for Siete mesas de billar francés / Seven Billiard Tables (Spain)
JURY PRIZE FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: CHARLIE LAM for Ceot oi kap gei / Exodus (Hong Kong)
JURY PRIZE FOR BEST SCREENPLAY (ex aequo): GRACIA QUEREJETA and DAVID PLANELL for Siete mesas de billar francés / Seven Billiard Tables (Spain) and JOHN SAYLES for Honeydripper (USA)
DONOSTIA PRIZE: Liv Ullmann, Richard Gere
ALTADIS NEW DIRECTORS AWARD: Soul Carriage (China-UK) by Conrad Clark
HORIZONTES AWARD: El baño del Papa, by Enrique Fernández and César Charlone (Uruguay-Brazil-France)
SPECIAL MENTIONS: Párpados azules (Mexico) by Ernesto Contreras, and Satanás (Colombia) by Andrés Baiz, for the excellent performance of Marcela Mar in the part of Paola.
TCM-AUDIENCE AWARD: Caramel by Nadine Labaki (Lebanon-France)
RUNNER-UP: Le Scaphandre et le papillon / The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Julian Schnabel (France)
YOUTH AWARD: Caramel by Nadine Labaki (Lebanon-France)
PANAVISION (FILM SCHOOL) AWARD: Vita de Giacomo by Luca Governatori (France)
SPECIAL MENTIONS: Idioma by Ian Menoyot (Belgium); De las relaciones by Jorge Acebo (Spain); La Invención by Andrés García Franco (Mexico)
FIPRESCI Film of the Year: 4 Luni, 3 Saptamini si 2 Zile / 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days by Cristian Mungiu
FIPRESCI AWARD: Encarnación, Anahí Berneri (Argentina)
SIGNIS AWARD: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, Wayne Wang (USA)
SPECIAL MENTION: Battle for Haditha, Nick Broomfield (UK)
CICAE AWARD: Brick Lane, Sarah Gavron (UK)
CEC AWARD: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, Wayne Wang ( USA)
GUIPUZCOAN BLOOD-DONORS’ ASSOCIATION CORRESPONDING TO THE SOLIDARITY AWARD: JAKOB BRONSKI, the leading character played by Max von Sydow in Emotional Arithmetic, by Paolo Barzman (Canada)
SEBASTIANE AWARD: Caramel by Nadine Labaki (Lebanon-France)
Film in Progress Awards
SIGNIS AWARD: La Extranjera by Fernando Díaz (Argentina)
CICAE AWARD: Gasolina by Julio Hernández Cordón (Guatemala)
FILMS IN PROGRESS INDUSTRY AWARD: Gasolina by Julio Hernández Cordón (Guatemala)
TVE AWARD: Acné by Federico Veiroj (Uruguay-Argentina-Spain-Mexico) and Sol na Neblina by Werner Schumann (Brazil)
CINEMA IN MOTION AWARDS: Salt of this Sea by Annamarie Jacir (France, U.S., Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, U.K.) and Recycle by Mahmoud Al Massad (Jordan)
Official Selection Jury: PAUL AUSTER Chairman, PERNILLA AUGUST, NICOLETTA BRASCHI, BAHMAN GHOBADI, EDUARDO NORIEGA, SUSÚ PECORARO, PETER WEBBER
New Directors Jury: MARK PEPLOE Chairman, JANNIKE ÅHLUND, CARMEN CASTILLO, ESPIDO FREIRE, JEAN-CLAUDE LAMY, DENNIS LIM, PABLO MALO
Horizontes Jury: KARL BAUMGARTNERE, INGRID RUBIO, IVÁN TRUJILLO
San Sebastian Film Festival: Official Selection
Battle for Haditha, directed by Nick Broomfield
Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame / Buda az sharm foru rikht, directed by Hana Makhmalbaf
Exodus / Ceot oi kap gei, directed by Pang Ho-Cheung
Daisy Diamond, directed by Simon Staho; with Noomi Rapace, Thure Lindhardt, Benedikte Hansen, Morten Kirkskov
Encarnación, directed by Anahí Berneri; with Silvia Pérez, Martina Juncadella, Luciano Cáceres, Inés Saavedra
Reclaim Your Brain / Free Rainer - Dein Fernseher lügt, directed by Hans Weingartner; with Moritz Bleibtreu, Elsa Sophie Gambard, Milan Peschel, Gregor Bloéb
Shadows in the Palace / Goong-nyeo, directed by Meejeung Kim
Honeydripper, directed by John Sayles; with Danny Glover, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Yaya DaCosta, Charles S. Dutton, Stacy Keach
La maison, directed by Manuel Poirier; with Sergi López, Bruno Salomone
Mataharis, directed by Icíar Bollaín; with Najwa Nimri, Tristán Ulloa, María Vázquez, Nuria González
Kill Them All / Matar a todos, directed by Esteban Schroeder
Our Father / Padre Nuestro / Sangre de mi sangre, directed by Christopher Zalla; with Jesús Ochoa
Seven Billiards Tables / Siete mesas de billar francés, directed by Gracia Querejeta; with Maribel Verdú, Blanca Portillo, Amparo Baró, Enrique Villén, Ramón Barea, Jesús Castejón, Víctor Valdivia
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, directed by Wayne Wang; Henry O, Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Feihong Yu, Vida Ghahremani
San Sebastian Film Festival: Out of Competition movies
Earth, Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield
The Inner Life of Martin Frost, directed by Paul Auster; with David Thewlis, Irène Jacob, Michael Imperioli, Sophie Auster
Movie photos: San Sebastian Film Festival
Middle East Film Festival
The Middle East International Film Festival, to be held in Abu Dhabi between Oct. 14–19, has announced its Official Competition line-up for the Black Pearl awards. Most of the films in competition were directed by new talent.
The movie synopses/info below are from the MEIFF press release.
BEN X (Belgium) directed by Nic Balthazar. With Greg Timmermans, Marijke Pinoy, Laura Verlinden, Pol Goossen, Titus De Voogdt, Maarten Claeyssens.
Ben is a mildly autistic boy, frequently the target of school bullies. Inspired by his token online computer game, ArchLord, and Scarlite, a mystery girl he met in the game, Ben devises a plan.
**Official Belgian submission for the Academy Awards® Foreign Language Film. Received the Most Popular Film, the Grand Prix des Amériques, and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2007 Montreal World Film Festival.
CARAMEL (France/Lebanon) directed by Nadine Labaki. With Nadine Labaki, Adel Karam, Yasmine Al Masri, Joanna Moukarzel, Gisele Aouad, Sihame Haddad.
A warm-hearted comedy following the lives of women working in a Lebanese beauty salon, where love, laughter and tears fight for attention.
THE COUNTERFEITERS (Die Fälscher) (Germany/Austria) directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky. With Karl Markovics, August Diehl, Marie Bäumer, Devid Striesow.
In the biggest counterfeit money scam of all time, over 130 million sterling pounds are printed by a team of prisoners from German concentration camps.
**Official Austrian submission for the Academy Awards® Foreign Language Film. 2007 German Film Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Award - Devid Striesow. Screened in Competition at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival and the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival.
ECHO (Denmark) directed by Anders Morgenthaler. With Peter Stormare, Kim Bodnia, Sine Fischer Christensen, Villads Milthers Fritsche.
Simon is a police officer who recently lost custody of his six-year-old son in a divorce. In his desperation, he abducts his son and takes him to the country where they hide in a vacated summerhouse.
**Screened at the 2007 San Sebastian Film Festival and 2007 Danish Film Institute Festival.
THE GOOD NIGHT (USA/United Kingdom) directed by Jake Paltrow. With Penélope Cruz, Martin Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Simon Pegg, Danny DeVito.
Gary Shaller is at a crossroads in his life. As a former pop star who now writes commercial jingles for a living, he experiences a mid-life crisis. Set in London and New York, the film follows a man’s search for perfection in a world where life rarely measures up to idealized images.
**Premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and screened at 2007 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the 2007 Moscow Film Festival.
GRACE IS GONE (USA) directed by James Strouse. With Nathan Adloff, John Cusack, Doug Dearth, Gracie Bednarczyk.
Upon hearing his wife was killed in the Iraq war, a father takes his two daughters on a road trip.
**Screened in Competition at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
LA ZONA (Spain/Mexico) directed by Rodrigo Plá. With Daniel Giménez Cacho, Maribel Verdú, Daniel Tovar, Alan Chávez.
A teenager living inside an isolated residential ‘Zone,’ guarded by private security, finds himself protecting a boy accused of murder by his vigilante father and neighbors.
**Received the 2007 Toronto FIPRESCI International Critics’ Award and the Luigi De Laurentiis Award at the 2007 Venice Film Festival.
LUCKY MILES (Australia) directed by Michael James Rowland. With Kenneth Moraleda, Rodney Afif, Srisaco Sacopraseuth, Don Hany, Glenn Shea, Sean Mununggurr, Sawung Jabo, Arif Hidayat.
When a group of Iraqi and Cambodian refugees are abandoned in a remote part of Western Australia, three of the men escape arrest and begin an epic journey through the desert.
**Received the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2007 Sydney Film Festival and the Special Jury Prize at the 2007 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
THE MILKY WAY (A Via Láctea) (Brazil) Directed by Lina Chamie. With Marco Ricca, Alice Braga, Fernando Alves Pinto.
Heitor and Júlia are deeply in love. After a heated phone conversation, he decides to go and see her face-to-face. On his way through the streets of São Paulo at sunset, Heitor observes the city as it begins to interfere in his thoughts.
**Received Casa de América Award at the 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival and screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
NOT BY CHANCE (Não Por Acaso) (Brazil) directed by Philippe Barcinski and produced by Fernando Meirelles. With Rodrigo Santoro, Leonardo Medeiros, Letícia Sabatella, Branca Messina, Rita Batata, Graziela Moretto, Cássia Kiss, João Paulo Zucatelli.
Two men have never met, but they have a common lifestyle based on precision, control and method, until an unpredictable accident involving two women will forever change the course of their lives.
**Received the Alfred P. Sloan Grant at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and the Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress Awards at the 2007 Recife CE PE Audiovisual Festival. Developed at Sundance Screenwriters Lab.
THE OWL AND THE SPARROW (Cú và chim se se) (United States/Vietnam) directed by Stephane Gauger. With Cat Ly, Le The Lu, Pham Thi Han.
A beautiful flight attendant looking for love; a lonely zookeeper hiding within his animal kingdom from a changing society; a little orphan girl selling roses on the streets. It’s modern-day Saigon, where eight million people are just trying to keep up with the pace.
**Received the Audience Award and Best Narrative Feature at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival and the Best Narrative Feature at the 2007 San Francisco Asian American Film Festival. Screened at the 2007 Rotterdam International Film Festival.
A poignant coming-of-age story about a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic revolution.
** Official 2008 French submission for the Academy Awards® Foreign Language Film. Awarded the 2007 Cannes Jury Prize. Screened at the 2007 Telluride Film Festival, in Special Presentations at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, and will be the Closing Night Film at the New York Film Festival.
The festival will be held in Abu Dhabi between Oct. 14–19, 2007. Synopses/info from the Middle East Film Festival press release.
HEAR AND NOW (USA) directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky. With Paul Taylor, Sally Taylor.
A documentary memoir following a filmmaker’s deaf parents as they receive a complex surgical implant that allows them to experience sound for the first time.
**Received the Audience Award at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
I LOVE HIP HOP IN MOROCCO (Morocco/USA) directed by Joshua Asen and Needleman. With Achraf Aarab, Adil Benchakeroune, Amine Yahyaou, Azzedine Bouhoute, Fatima Medaoui, Hatim Bensaleha, Joshua Asen, Khalid Douache, Khalid Filalli, Khalifa Mennani, Khalil Belkas, Mohassine Tizaf, Othman Benhami, Ouassim Addoula, Taofik Hazeb.
A group of Moroccan Hip Hop artists dream of organizing a professional concert in their hometown, but resistance is strong and money scarce.
**Received the Best Documentary at the 2007 Atlanta Hip Hop Festival and the Jury Award at the 2007 Thin Line Fest. Screened at the 2007 H20 International Hip Hop Festival and the 2007 Rhode Island International Film Festival.
NEW YEAR BABY (USA/ Cambodia) directed by Socheata Poeuv. With Nin Poeuv , Houng Poeuv, Socheata Poeuv, Scott Poeuv, Leachena Poeuv, Mala Poeuv.
A window into the lives of six Cambodians who escape the Khmer Rouge genocide and become Americans.
**Received the ‘Movies That Matter’ Award at the 2006 Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival, the Best Documentary at the 2007 AFI Dallas International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the 2007 Los Angeles VC Film Festival, Best Documentary at the 2007 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
THE POWER OF THE GAME (USA) directed by Michael Apted. With Danny Jordaan, Landon Donovan, Bruce Arena, Malin Gorji, Fabian Ferraro, Zeshan Rehman, Jimmy Adjovi-Bocco.
An examination of the social impact of soccer across the world. Six stories are followed from five continents, each one connected to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, all bound together with a passion for the game.
**Screened at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
SALATA BALADI (Egypt/France/Switzerland) directed by Nadia Kamel. With Nadia Kamel, Mary Kamel, Sa’ad Kamel.
A multilingual and multiethnic documentary about director Nadia Kamel’s family’s century-old history of mixed marriages.
** Premiered at 2007 Locarno Film Festival.
WE ARE TOGETHER (United Kingdom) directed by Paul Taylor. With Mbali, Mthobisi Moya, Nonkululeko Moya, Sifiso Moya, Slindile Moya, Swaphiwe Moya, Zodwa Mqadi, Paul Simon, Kanye West.
A documentary about life in an African orphanage where the children are united by a love of singing.
**Received the Audience Award at the 2007 Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Audience Award and the Special Jury Prize at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, and the Audience Award and the First Appearance Award at the 2007 Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival.
Short Film Competition
AND LIFE WENT ON (United Kingdom) directed by Maryam Mohajer. With Azadeh Sepehri, Houman Hajiabdollahi, Katayoun Ghalandarha, Kaveh Ghalandarha, Leyla Hosseini, Rojin Bitaraf, Roshan Hooshmand, Salimeh Ghotbi. Animation.
As an air raid siren resonates in Tehran, neighbors rush to the basement shelter, where we see how people react…. and it’s not always as one might expect!
**Premiered at theEksjö Animation Festival 2007, the DOK-Leipzig Animation and Documentary Festival 2007, London International Animation Festival 2007.
AQUARIUM (USA) directed by Rob Meyer. With Jeremy White, Kaitlin Kiyan, Zachary Brian, Matthew Simpson, James Lurie, Maggie Phillips, Christopher Smith, Matt Campbell, Barbara Ann Davidson, Kurt Braunohler, PK Egersheim, Denn Wise.
David, a 15-year-old social misfit, escapes the trials of Boston suburban life to the exotic world of breeding aquarium fish. David and his friends make their way to a Boston Aquarium Society meeting where David finds legitimacy when he shares a tender moment with his secret crush.
** Received the Best Narrative Short at the Hollyshorts Film Festival 2007 and the Best Student Short at the Las Vegas Film Festival 2007.
AVATAR (Spain) directed by Lluis Quilez. With Sebastian Haro, Rosana Pastor, Gerard Villegas.
An intimate portrait of a quadriplegic man and his embittered wife in her newfound role as his caregiver. The strain of his injury on their marriage comes to the ultimate showdown in a sadistic game of life and death.
** Best Short Jury Award at the 2006 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Screened at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival and the 2006 Cardiff Film Festival.
BAWKE (Norway) directed by Hisham Zaman. With Broa Rasol, Sedar Ahmad Saleh.
Two Kurdish refugees from Iraq, a father and his son are on the run. With hope for a better life for his son, the father is forced to make a challenging sacrifice to provide for him.
** Received the Best Live Action Short at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, the Best of Festival at the 2006 Palm Springs International Film Festival, the Youth Award at the 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival, the Best Short at the 2007 Tokyo Film Festival.
BENDE SIRA (It’s My Turn) (Germany/Turkey) directed by Ismet Ergün. With Semih & Samet Aslan, Mert Metin Ozdemir, Kadir Tezer, Lorin & Tuana Merhard, Coskun Duz and Sadi Somer.
A group of children listen, enchanted, to a friend who has had the good fortune of going to the cinema and recounts the film to them. Then one day they are all able to go together. Or almost…
** Received the Silver Leopard Award and the Eastman Kodak Award at the 2007 Locarno International Film Festival.
THE BRASS TEAPOT (USA) directed by Ramaa Mosley. With Traci Dinwiddie, Ben Weber.
When a British housewife and her husband buy a magic antique teapot, they get more than they bargained for.
HOY NO ESTOY (Argentina) directed by Gustavo Taretto. With Ines Efron, Norma Maldonado, Esmeraldo Mitre, Martin Piroyansky, Fabian Talin.
One day, Martin decides to fade into the urban landscape and completely disappear from view.
**Received the Golden Leopard Award at the 2007 Locarno International Film Festival and screened at the 2007 São Paulo International Film Festival.
I MET THE WALRUS (Canada) directed by Josh Raskin. With Jerry Levitan, John Lennon. Animation.
In 1969, 14-year-old Beatle fanatic Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview.
**Received the Spirit Award at the 2007 Brooklyn International Film Festival and the Outstanding Animation Award at the 2007 Winnipeg International Film Festival. Screened at the 2007 LA Shorts Fest.
I WANT TO BE A PILOT (Kenya/Mexico/Spain) directed by Diego Quemada-Diez. With Collins Otieno, Gaudencia Ayuma Shichenga, Kepha Onduru, Joseph Kyalo Kioko.
A poetic visual of the desperation felt by AIDS orphans living in Kenyan slums and their dreams of one day having the opportunity to leave.
**Received the Audience Award for Best Short at the 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival, the Best Documentary Short Film at the 2007 Cleveland International Film Festival, the YouthFEST Short Film Award at the 2007 Sarasota Film Festival.
JUANITO BAJO EL NARANJO (Juanito Under the Orange Tree) (Colombia) directed by Juan Carlos Villamizar. With Santiago Sanchez Penuela, Juan Jose Diaz Arango, Juan David Sanchez Penuela, Diego Velez, Martha Leal.
A young boy in Colombia’s mountainside, Juanito wants to eat the oranges his father bought for his pregnant mother. Unable to restrain himself, Juanito eats one and buries the peels under the ground. Little does he know that he will awaken with an orange tree growing out of his head.
** Received the Best Short Film at the 2007 Puchon International Film Festival.
KEMO SABE (USA) directed by Rana Kazkaz. With Kyle Agnew, Gabriel Gonzalez, Sebastian Gonzalez, Zachary Gray, Emily Guyumjian, Yasmine Hanani, Garrett Johnson, Armen Kasumyan, Amin Monajjed, Navid Negahban, Jacob Newman
This is a story of Yussef, a six-year-old Arab-American boy who dreams of being the Cowboy instead of the Indian on the playground. Daring to challenge the role his race has determined, Yussef learns the playground rules of becoming a Cowboy.
**Screened at the 2007 Edmonton International Film Festival and the 2007 Chicago Palestine Film Festival.
LIGHTNING DOODLE PROJECT PIKAPIKA (Japan) directedbyTakeshi Nagata, Kazue Monno.Animation.
This animation is composed of a collection of long exposure photographs taken in various places all over the world.
**Screened at the 2007 Platform International Animation Festival and the 2006 Ottawa International Animation Festival.
LOOKING GLASS (Sweden) directed by Erik Rosenlund. Animation.
A little girl is home alone watching television when it suddenly turns off. She can see her reflection in the screen, which seems to have a conscience of its own. At the same time someone outside seems to be watching her through the window.
**Screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, 2007 São Paulo International Film Festival, 2007 Goteberg Film Festival.
THE LUMINARY (Australia) directed by Nicholas Kallincos. Animation.
This is the story of a grieving insect collector. In his search for understanding and love he is pitted against the cyclic nature of things both inside and outside of his reclusive world.
**Screened at the 2006 Seattle International Film Festival, 2006 KROK International Animated Film Festival, 2007 Sao Paulo International Film Festival, 2006 Interfilm Short Film Festival.
MANON ON THE PAVEMENT (France) directed by Elizabeth Marre, Olivier Pont. With Aude Léger, Xavier Boiffier, Bastien Ehouzan, Edouard Raix, Elizabeth Marre, Yves Lecoz, Yasmeen El Masri, Samuel Lahu.
Manon is in a cycling accident and as everyone bustles around her, her thoughts wander to the relationships with the people in her life and what her family, friends and lovers mean to her.
**Screened at the 2007 Namur International Film Festival.
THE PHONE KEEPER (USA) directed by Stine Michelsen. With Damon Younger, Brooke Stone, Jeff Patterson, Juilan Kinsman, Fernando Viso.
Valdemar lives and works in Rodney’s answering machine. One day he falls in love with Sophia, a caller who leaves a message on the machine. To save her from certain heartbreak, he sabotages Sophia’s date with Rodney.
**Screened at the 2007Palm Springs Festival of Short Films, 2007 Montana Independent Film Festival.
THE TALE OF HOW (South Africa) directed by Ree Treweek, Marcus Smit. Animation.
This is a voyage through a surreal landscape populated with duck-like creatures being ravaged by a tentacled sea monster, Otto. In the end, a cute, mousey hero named Eddy the Engineer bursts onto the scene to save the day, making for a tidy little narrative that is both strangely familiar and incredibly odd.
**Screened at the 2007 Sarajevo Film Festival, 2007 International Short Film Festival Clermont-Ferrand, and received a Special Distinction at the 2007 Annecy Film Festival.
TANGHI ARGENTINI (Belgium) directed by Guy Thuys. With Wannes Cappelle, Ineke Nijssen, Hile Norga, Mathius Sercu, Dirl van Dijck, Koen van Impe.
Despite the faceless and cold atmosphere at his work place, an office clerk tries to make his colleagues happy. Instead of the cliché Christmas gifts, Andre goes to great lengths to give his colleagues something real and precious in this modern fairy-tale.
**Received the Best Belgian Short at the 2006 Flanders International Film Festival Ghent and the Best Film of the Festival Award at the 2007 La Cittadella Del Corto International Short Film Festival. Screened at the 2007 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.
TATOO (USA) directed by Parviz Safadel. Animation.
A man who is bored with his life gets a tattoo of a bird on his chest, which serves as a catalyst to set them both free.
**Screened at the 2007 Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, 2007 Tirana International Film Festival.