Producer GK Films and new distributor FilmDistrict have just made Angelina Jolie's directorial debut prime awards season fodder and an even bigger must-see for those in the industry.  The two entities announced in Cannes Sunday that "In The Land of Blood and Honey" would hit American theaters on Dec. 23, a signature awards contending date.

"Honey" takes place during the Bosnian War in the 1990s and depicts how late intervention by Western powers had massive consequences for the people of the region.  The film features a completely local cst including Zana Marjanovic ("Snow"), Goran Kostic and Rade Serbedzija ("In The Rain").  The actors filmed their scenes in both English and Serbo-Croation (or BHS).  The English version will be released in the U.S. on Dec. 23.

In a statement Jolie noted, "“The film is specific to the Bosnian War, but it’s also universal. I wanted to tell a story of how human relationships and behavior are deeply affected by living inside a war."

Jolie also added, "“The former Yugoslavia has a rich history of dramatic arts. The cast was extraordinary. I was privileged and honored to work with them and I am very excited for everyone to see their immense talent."

Upping the anticipation for Jolie's first time behind the camera, GK Films head Graham King said, "Working with Angelina on this film and story has been a great collaboration and I am extremely proud of this film.  The filmmaking is impeccable, and signals the arrival of a visceral and compelling storyteller."

Jolie does not appear in the film, but her interests in global crises are well documented. The Oscar winner has been a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for a decade and not has visited hot spots such as Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Chad, Pakistan, Haiti and Kenya among others to assist and bring light to the needs of refugees around the globe.  "Honey" touches on many of the humanitarian themes she's fought for this century.  Jolie has also starred in two films that shared those passions, "Beyond Borders" and "A Mighty Heart."  

FilmDistrict marketing is run by Bob Berney who is no stranger to the awards game having worked magic for Marion Cotilard ("Ma Vie En Rose"), "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Young Victoria."  If anyone can get the media, Academy and guild members to take Jolie's directing work seriously, its him.  It will be curious when and where Jolie, GK Films and FilmDistrict decide to premiere "Honey."  If it hits the early fall festival scene or the New York Film Festival, FilmDistrict  and Berney are clearly signaling they have something intriguing on their hands.

Jolie wil be heard next voicing Tigress in "Kung Fu Panda 2."