Newcomers in sidebar at San Seb

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MADRID -- Crossover artists from the TV world, complete unknowns and directors with just one feature under their belt are some of the 16 filmmakers competing for the €90,000 ($110,000) Altadis-New Directors Award at the 55th annual San Sebastian International Film Festival, organizers said Friday.

The Zabaltegi sidebar, which sports a hefty dose of English-language films this year, weaves together films from first-time directors, pearls from previous festivals and special documentary screenings that will be shown Sept. 20-29.

First- and second-time directors screening in the Official Section will be announced separately, though they also will be entitled to compete for the cash prize. Three Spanish films running in Zabaltegi and competing for the award previously were announced.

Threes Anna's family drama "The Bird Can't Fly," starring Barbara Hershey; Eric Nazarian's "The Blue Hour"; and Sarah Gavron's multiracial love story "Brick Lane," an adaptation of the Monica Ali novel "Seven Seas, Thirteen Rivers," represent three directorial debuts in the competition.

German helmer Felix Randau's "The Calling Game," which follows up on his "Northern Star"; Salvatore Stabile's second feature, the homeless drama "Where God Left His Shoes"; and "10+4," Mania Akbari's sequel to Abbas Kiarostami's "Ten," also will compete.

"Foul Gesture," from Israel's Itshak Grad, sees a model citizen's life unravel when his wife makes an obscene gesture following a fender-bender, while Conrad Clark's China-U.K. co-production "Soul Carriage" tells of a down-and-out employee who finds himself forced to dispose of a co-worker's cadaver.

Other films making the cut for the section are Johan Kling's black comedy "Darling," Anders Morgenthaler's "Echo," Stephan Carpiaux's "Red Ants," Aurelia Georges "The Walking Man" and Bum-Sik and Sik Jung's "Epitaph."

The Zabaltegi section has been the launching pad for such previous unknowns as Walter Salles, Francois Ozon and Jonathan Glazer.

Special screenings announced Friday for the Zabaltegi section include Mimi Freedman and Leslie Greif's documentary "Brando"; Carmen Castillo's "Calle Santa Fe," a reflection on the 1974 Chilean resistance movement; Danish helmer Per Fly's "Performances"; "Lynch," an examination of David Lynch's creative process; "Madres," Eduardo Felix Walger's tribute to human rights; Jean-Pierre Limosin's "Young Yakuza," a look at Japanese juvenile delinquency; and "The Princess of Nebraska," Wayne Wang's reflection on a young girl's journey for an abortion.
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