Pablo Fendrik, al Atelier de Cannes (Variety)

By John Hopewell

MADRID — Shinji Aoyama's "Decadent Sisters," Jaime Rosales' "Dream and Silence" and Nabil Ayouch's "Les Etoiles de Sidi Moumen" all feature at Cannes Film Festival's 6th Cinefondation Atelier.

Offering fest networking opportunities for projects' directors and producers, the Atelier boasts a far weightier name auteur presence than any edition past.

Aoyama's "Sisters" picked up last October the Pusan Award and $20,000 at the Pusan Promotion Plan. Drama focuses on two sisters surviving as Tokyo prostitutes after WWII.

From Goya best film winner Rosales ("Solitary Fragments"), "Silence" turns on "spirituality in a post-modern age," he told Daily Variety. It is produced out of Spain by Wanda and Fresdeval.

The leading Moroccan director of his generation, Ayouch's "Les Etoiles" adapts the novel by Mahi Binebine, inspired by Casablanca's 2003 suicide bombings.

Also Atelier-selected, Holland's Urszula Antoniak ("Nothing Personal") will present "Code Blue." Project, she said, is about a nurse who practises euthanasia.

Atelier pic "Ardor," from another up-and-coming filmmaker, Argentina's Pablo Fendrik ("Blood Appears"), homes in on key moments in the life of a minor Chinese mobster in Buenos Aires.

Of other Atelier projects, Cambodian director Rithy Panh ("The Sea Wall") presents his 10th feature "Gibier d'elevage." Atelier showcases two Latin American first-timers — Venezuela's Ruben Sierra Salles with "Lucia" and Mexico-based Diego Quemada-Diez, with "La Jaula de oro."

Section's other debuts are the Claude Miller-mentored "Shanghai-Belleville," from Taiwan's Paris-based Show-Chun Lee, and Hungarian Karoly Ujj Meszaros' comedic serial killer nurse romp, "Liza, the Fox-Fairy."

Also making the Atelier cut are: "Postcards from the Zoo," from Indonesia's Edwin, whose 2008 debut "Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly" won a Fipresci Rotterdam fest award; "Zincograph," the second film from Bulgaria's Javor Gardel (B.O. hit "Zift"); and "Come to My Voice," from Turkey's Huseyin Karabey, whose "Gitmek, My Marlon and Brando" won Tribeca best director kudos.

Atelier's lineup is rounded up by "Khorramshahr," from Iran's Massoud Bakhshi ("Teheran Has No More Pomegranates"), and "Circles," from Serbia's Sdran Golubovic (Berlinale Forum player "The Trap").

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