New Directors/New Films 2008

New Directors/New Films 2008


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If the success of any New Directors/New Films program can be measured by how many films it ushers toward distribution, the 2007 edition of the 37-year-old series was clearly not up to snuff (last year’s best in show, Glue, went straight to video), though in keeping with an almost yearly trend, Oscar was smitten, giving Once their Best Song and nominating War/Dance for Best Documentary.

Another trend that persists is the allotment of at least one spot to a Sundance prizewinner. Last year it was Christopher Zalla’s Padre Nuestro, and this year it’s the program’s opener, Frozen River, Courtney Hunt’s dubious mix of suspense and social melodrama, whose presence can best be attributed to its willingness to pander to highbrow liberal sentiment. Other carryovers from Park City: Lance Hammer’s much-buzzed-about Ballast and Alex Rivera’s divisive Sleep Dealer.

Early highlights include the Philippine drama Foster Child, Katrina documentary Trouble the Water, Moving Midway, by film critic Godfrey Cheshire, about the symbolism and fading reality of the Southern plantation, and Munyurangabo, which investigates the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda through the experiences of the film’s crew. For a complete schedule of films, screening times and ticket information, please see the festival’s official site. Ed Gonzalez

Ballast (Lance Hammer)
Correction (Thanos Anastopoulos)
Eat, for This Is My Body (Michelange Quay)
Epitaph (Jung Bum-sik and Jung-Sik)
Falling from Earth (Chadi Zineddine)
Foster Child (Brillante Mendoza)
La France (Serge Bozon)
Frozen River (Courtney Hunt)
Japan Japan (Lior Shamriz)
Jellyfish (Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen)
A Lost Man (Danielle Arbid)
Megane (Naoko Ogigami)
Momma’s Man (Azazel Jacobs)
Moving Midway (Godfrey Cheshire)
Munyurangabo (Lee Isaac Chung)
Sleep Dealer (Alex Rivera)
Slingshot Hip Hop (Jackie Reem Salloum)
Soul Carriage (Conrad Clark)
The Toe Tactic (Emily Hubley)
Trouble the Water (Tia Lessin and Carl Deal)
Valse Sentimentale (Constantina Voulgaris)
Water Lilies (Céline Sciamma)
We Went to Wonderland (Guo Xiaolu)
Wonderful Town (Aditya Assarat)
XXY (Lucia Puenzo)
La Zona (Roberto Pla)