Asia, U.S., Netherlands at forefront in Forum

Berlinale sidebar dedicated to avant garde filmmaking

COLOGNE, Germany -- Experimental cinema from the U.S., Korea and the Netherlands will take center stage at this year's Berlinale Forum, the Berlin sidebar devoted to avant-garde filmmaking.

Bradley Rust Gray, whose last feature, 2003's "Salt," won the Caligari prize for best film in the Forum, returns with "The Exploding Girl," a low-key drama about two friends moving closer to becoming lovers.

"Beeswax," the latest laconic entry from "Funny Ha Ha" director Andrew Bujalski will have its world premiere at the Forum, as will "Marin Blue," Matthew Hysell's directorial debut about an L.A. youth mental facility.

So Yong Kim, a co-producer on Gray's "The Exploding Girl," also made the Forum cut with his latest film as a director, "Treeless Mountain," one of several Korean films picked for the official lineup. Gray acted as a producer on the drama, which already picked up a Netpac Award at October's Pusan Film Festival.

Other Korean titles picked for the 2009 Forum include Lee Yoon-Ki's "My Dear Enemy" starring Jeon Do-Yeon ("Milyang"); "Members of the Funeral" by Baek Seung-bin; Roh Gyeong-Tae's "Land of Scarecrows"; and Lee Suk-Gyung's "The Day After," which will have its world premiere in Berlin.

Dutch films are back with a vengeance at this year's Forum, with three titles: "Can Go Through Skin" by Esther Rots, "Winter Silence" by Sonja Wyss and Eugenie Jansen's "Calimucho" all making the cut.

"The Happiest Girl in the World," a Dutch-Romanian co-production from first-timer Radu Jude, also will debut in the Forum.

The full program for the Forum will be announced in the coming days.

The 59th Berlinale runs Feb. 5-15.
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