In 1996, The Sundance Institute teamed with NHK, Japan’s largest broadcasting company, to develop an award to honor visionary achievements in international film. Each year, the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award goes to one moviemaker from each of four regions—Europe, Latin America, the United States and Japan—in order to honor and support them in their upcoming projects.

The 2008 winners are Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile) for his film Huacho, Radu Jude (Romania) for The Happiest Girl in the World, Tomoko Kana (Japan) for Two by the River and Braden King (United States) for Here.

The award places the spotlight on emerging directorial talent. Each director receives a $10,000 reward and a spot in the Sundance Film Festival lineup. After the film is finished, NHK buys the television broadcasting rights. 

Europe, Latin America, the United States and Japan may not be the literal four corners of the earth, but the idea behind the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award is to encourage the development of global independent cinema. Past winners of the award include Miranda July for Me and You and Everyone We Know and Andrucha Waddington for The House of Sand. Both films received critical acclaim as well as theatrical releases.

As a part of the Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony, these four directors will receive their awards on January 26th in Park City, UT.