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Brooklyn-Based Movie Maker Makes Long-Awaited N.Y. Film Festival Debut

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Julia Loktev, a filmmaker from Brooklyn, has realized a lifelong dream by having her new work, "The Loneliest Planet," featured in the 49th annual New York Film Festival. NY1's Mara Montalbano filed the following report.

"The Loneliest Planet," a film directed and written by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Julia Loktev and based on a short story by American author Tom Bissell, has made the lineup in the 49th annual New York Film Festival.

Hani Furstenberg and Gael García Bernal star as Nica and Alex, a young couple in love and soon to be married, taking a hiking trip in the Republic of Georgia.

In the midst of breathtaking views of lush green valleys and crystal clear streams, Alex and Nica's relationship takes a dramatic turn with a split-second decision, and that in turn forces audiences to examine themselves and their own relationships.

"The crux of this story is this kind of test of manhood. So the story really turns on this question of what does it mean to be a man now," says Loktev. "What do you expect from a man now? What can a woman expect?"

Loktev, who grew up partly in Russia, wrote and directed the film and spent six weeks in the mountains her mother once hiked.

"We were staying in this small village, but a lot of nights we were actually camping most days," says Loktev. "We had to hike in sometimes, like leaving before dawn. So we were hiking in darkness to get to our location to shoot, carrying all our equipment. So we were really living this film."

There is not much dialogue in the film, but the actors make explicit statements in subtle ways.

"It's all about the little movements and the little gestures and the little look," says actor Hani Furstenberg. "Although there are dramatic things that happen in the film, they're also very subtle in a way, and I think it's very true to life in that way, the film."

Loktev was last on the scene with her 2006 film "Day Night Day Night," about a female suicide bomber. "The Loneliest Planet" marks her debut in the New York Film Festival.

"For me it's a big deal," says Loktev. "In a way, I learned as much at the New York Film Festival about film as I did in film school, possibly more, just by going to movies every year."

The Loneliest Planet is screening this week at the New York Film Festival. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com.

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