The Asian New Talent Award has become an important feature of Shanghai International Film Festival to discover and support talented new Asian filmmakers.
This year a total of nine films are competing for the award which was initiated in 2004.
They are including the Japanese productions Kaasan Mom's Life and Birth Right; Philippine pictures Rosario and Ways of the Sea; Iranian film The Day goes and the Night Comes; Indian movie TD.Dasan Std. VI B; and three Chinese productions, Sun Beaten Path, Return Ticket and The Devil Inside Me.
The films were selected from many avant-garde, high-quality productions by young Asian filmmakers. Famous Japanese film director Shunji Iwai heads the five-member jury deciding the award.
Iwai, one of Japan's most influential directors, is well-known to local film buffs for his films Love Letter and Swallowtail Butterfly.
His film All About Lily Chou Chou, a disturbing look at a student who seeks sanctuary from bullying classmates in pop-icon singer Lily Chou Chou's music, won the Jury Grand Prize in the Golden Goblet Awards at the 6th Shanghai International Film Festival.
Zhang Qi, director of suspense thriller The Devil Inside Me, said yesterday that he didn't expect this commercial film would be nominated. It centers on a woman who finds that the new heart she received as a transplant is turning her into a different person.
"Every first time filmmaker may find the lack of funding and experience a major challenge to their career," Zhang said. "What all of us need is more patience, perseverance and confidence."
The heartwarming family drama Kaasan Mom's Life, loosely based on a comic book story, is Japanese director Syoutarou Kobayasi's second feature.
The touching Philippine film Ways of the Sea tackles the contemporary theme of human trafficking and exploitation in journeys from Mindanao to Malaysia. It follows different people who trek into uncharted territories and illegally cross borders to find what they hope will be a future without poverty.
"Based on my documentary, the film also provides an insight into Philippine culture and traditions." said director Sheron Dayoc.
The Asian New Talent Award ceremony will be held on Friday night at Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel, where the Best Director, Best Feature Film and Jury Prix awards will be handed out.