Now in its 44th year, New Directors/New Films remains guided by the spirit of discovery. At a time of new digital frontiers of film production and distribution, this year’s lineup shows artistic innovation more than keeping pace with technological change. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating a group of filmmakers who represent both the present and the future of cinema, the daring artists whose work pushes the envelope and is, fascinatingly, never what you’d expect.
Opening Night | Director Marielle Heller in person
Winner of a Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Cinematography at Sundance, this adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s illustrated novel, set in 1970s San Francisco, features stunning newcomer Bel Powley as a 15-year-old girl whose sexual awakening involves having an affair with her mother’s boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgård).
Closing Night | Q&A with director Rick Alverson
The Comedy director Rick Alverson teams with comedians Gregg Turkington (better known as Neil Hamburger) and Tim Heidecker for a hallucinatory journey to the end of the night. A washed-up comic on tour with a teenage mime works his way across the Mojave Desert on a one-of-a-kind odyssey that is by turns mortifying and beautiful, bewildering and absorbing.
Q&A with director Charles Poekel
Writer-director Charles Poekel has transformed three years of “fieldwork” peddling Christmas trees on the streets of New York into a sharply observed and wistfully comic portrait of urban loneliness and companionship, shot on 16mm by acclaimed cinematographer Sean Price Williams (Listen Up Philip, Heaven Knows What). Screening with Going Out (Ted Fendt, 8m).
U.S. Premiere | Q&A with director Chaitanya Tamhane
Chaitanya Tamhane’s absurdist portrait of injustice, caste prejudice, and venal politics in contemporary India won top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai film festivals and features a brilliant ensemble cast of professional and nonprofessional actors who capture the rich complexity and contradictions of Indian society.
Though its title arcs toward grand philosophical inquiry, the stirring power of Simone Rapisarda Casanova’s documentary-fiction hybrid—winner of the Best Emerging Director prize at Locarno—lies in its intimacy of detail and wry political observation, filmed with a painterly Renaissance beauty in Tuscany’s remote Apennine mountains.
North American Premiere | Q&A with directors Laura Citarella & Verónica Llinás
This indelible and quietly haunting study of an enigmatic, nameless woman living with a loyal pack of stray dogs in silent, self-imposed exile on the edge of Buenos Aires follows her across four seasons with an attentive and sympathetic eye, culminating in an unforgettable extended final shot.
An engineering student discovers two massive cracks in a decaying provincial housing project but is stymied in his attempts to avert a catastrophe in this stinging rebuke to the endemic corruption of the Russian body politic, which earned writer/director/actor Yuriy Bykov four awards at the 2014 Locarno Film Festival.
Q&As with Benjamin Crotty on 2/6 at 7:00pm and 2/7 at 6:00pmShot in richly textured 16mm, Crotty’s queer soap opera chronicles the tragicomic plight of frail, lonely Roger, who seeks comfort and companionship from the sexually frustrated army wives in a remote military post in the woods while his husband carries out a mission in Djibouti. A New Directors/New Films 2015 selection.
Q&A with directors Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz
The dread of parental abandonment is trumped by the terror of menacing spawn in Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s exquisite, cerebral horror-thriller. Produced by Ulrich Seidl, Goodnight Mommy is a heartbreaking tale of love and loss wrapped in one of the scariest films of the year.
U.S. Premiere | Q&A with director Sarah Leonor
The intrinsic struggle between paternal/fraternal responsibility and unfettered mobility takes on a deeply moving dimension in Sarah Leonor’s by turns heartbreaking and empowering sophomore feature, which follows two French Legionnaires at the end of their posting in Afghanistan.
Q&A with director Shim Sung-bo
First-time director Shim Sung-bo distills a gripping drama from a real-life incident and delivers a gritty, brooding spectacle of life and death on the high seas. This tense, hair-raising nautical thriller was produced by Bong Joon-ho—whose second film Memories of Murder, was written by Shim.
Q&A with director Oscar Ruiz Navia
Full of vibrant color and great music, Los Hongos is a charming and surprising coming-of-age film that follows Cali street artists Ras and Calvin, good friends from disparate class backgrounds who band together with other artists to paint a tribute to the student protestors of the Arab Spring.
North American Premiere | Q&A with co-director Darhad Erdenibulag
At once familiar and strange, this reimagining of Kafka’s The Castle is utterly specific to its striking Inner Mongolia setting, and totally faithful to its origins in portraying faceless bureaucracy as a timeless and universal frustration. Produced by Jia Zhang-ke, K is the rare literary adaptation that honors the source material even while reinventing it.
Q&A with director Nadav Lapid
Nadav Lapid’s follow-up to his explosive debut, Policeman, is a brilliant, shape-shifting provocation in which a fortysomething teacher in Tel Aviv becomes obsessed with one of her charges, a 5-year-old poetry prodigy, yielding a perversely romantic work whose underlying conviction seems to be that in an ugly world, beauty still has the power to drive us mad. Screening with Why? (Nadav Lapid, 5m).
North American Premiere | Q&A with director Salomé Alexi
Nino, a fortysomething woman with a small shop in Tbilisi, grew up without thinking about the complexities of finance. But when the money becomes tight, Nino goes about taking loan after loan, but even as the situation gets out of hand, Salomé Alexi maintains a beautifully light, comedic tone in her feature-film debut.
Q&A with director Stevan Riley
Documentarian Stevan Riley explores the on- and off-screen lives of Marlon Brando, using a vast trove of audio recordings made by the actor himself to allow Brando to tell his own story, filled with bones to pick, strong opinions, and fascinating traces of one of the most alluring figures in the history of cinema.
This freely inventive breakthrough work from ambitious young French director Virgil Vernier is a radical experiment in form that also lavishes tender attention on its characters. As two young receptionists in the titular Paris high-rise drift from one situation to the next, Vernier’s visual style grows ever more surprising and beautiful.
U.S. Premiere | Q&A with director Yohei Suzuki
Jobless young Tetsuo and his girlfriend Yuriko are inexplicably immobilized after laying eyes on an orb-like object that appears out of nowhere, setting into motion an enigmatic chain of events and an obsessive investigation by journalist Deguchi in this deadpan mystery that just might be a comment on the social malaise and inertia of 21st-century Japan.
North American Premiere | Q&A with director Lukas Valenta Rinner
In the midst of riots and social unrest, a Buenos Aires office worker puts his life on hold and departs for a vacation with a difference—think hand-to-hand combat and homemade explosives training in place of yoga and nature walks—in Austrian filmmaker Lukas Valenta Rinner’s carefully composed, minimalist end-of-days tale. Screening with Colours (Evan Johnson, 2m).
Five short films by exciting new talents from around the world: San Siro (Yuri Ancarani, Italy, 24m), Boulevard’s End (Nora Fingscheidt, Germany, 15m), Blue and Red (Zhou Tao, Thailand, 25m), Nelsa (Felipe Guerrero, Colombia, 13m), and The Field of Possible (Matías Meyer, Mexico/Canada, 10m).
Seven short films by exciting new talents from around the world: Icarus (Nicholas Elliott, USA, 16m), The Chicken (Una Gunjak, Germany/Croatia, 15m), Heartless (Nara Normande & Tião, Brazil, 25m), I Remember Nothing (Zia Anger, USA, 18m), Discipline (Christophe M. Sabe, Switzerland, 11m), We Will Stay in Touch About It (Jan Zabeil, Germany, 8m), and Odessa Crash Test (Notes on Film 09) (Norbert Pfaffenbichler, Austria, 6m).
Q&A with director Naji Abu Nowar
Classic storytelling at its finest, this quietly gripping adventure tale, set in 1916 in a desert province on the edge of the Ottoman Empire, follows the younger brother of a Bedouin guide, tasked with helping a British Army Officer and his translator, as he learns to survive and becomes a man amid the violent and mysterious agendas of adults.
Q&A with director Britni West
Britni West’s Slamdance-winning directorial debut, photographed on Super-16mm and featuring a mostly nonprofessional cast in semi-fictionalized roles, discovers homespun poetry among the good folk of her native Kalispell, Montana, yielding a sui generis slice of contemporary naturalism.
Set it in a spartan boarding school for deaf and mute coeds and told entirely through un-subtitled sign language, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize–winning feature debut overcomes what may sound like impossible obstacles to tell a grim but uncannily immersive story of exploitation and brutality in a dog-eat-dog world, delivering a high-school movie you won’t forget.
Q&A with director Stéphane Lafleur and actress Julianne Côté
This disarmingly atmospheric comedy, following the summer (mis)adventures of a band of utterly unique characters and shot in low-contrast black-and-white 35mm, is Québécois director Stéphane Lafleur’s ode to restless youth that recalls the likes of Aki Kaurismäki and Jim Jarmusch.
Writer/director Bas Devos’s feature debut is a muted but harrowing portrayal of aimless, maladjusted youth. With an uneasy yet entrancing atmosphere, Violet is a continually surprising exploration of pain and guilt, an interior voyage that only grows tenser and more affecting as it arrives at darker, less comprehensible regions of the soul.
Q&A with directors Bill & Turner Ross
Drug cartel violence and border politics threaten the neighborly rapport between Eagle Pass, Texas, and Piedras Negras, Mexico in Bill and Turner Ross’s trenchant and passionately observed documentary, which firmly positions the brothers at the frontier of a new, compelling kind of American vernacular cinema.
Q&A with director Kornél Mundruczó
Kornél Mundruczó’s shocking fable, which won the Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes, captivatingly weaves together elements of melodrama, adventure, and a bit of horror in order to pose fundamental questions of equality, class, and humanity, as an outcast mutt and an army of fellow canines set out to take their revenge on the humans who have wronged them.
Now in its 44th year, New Directors/New Films remains guided by the spirit of discovery. At a time of new digital frontiers of film production and distribution, this year’s lineup shows artistic innovation more than keeping pace with technological change. We hope you'll join us in celebrating a group of filmmakers who represent both the present and the future of cinema, the daring artists whose work pushes the envelope and is, fascinatingly, never what you'd expect. Read More
For 43 years New Directors/New Films has been an annual rite of early spring in New York City, bringing exciting discoveries from around the world to adventurous moviegoers. All aspects of cinema, from production to exhibition, have changed dramatically over the years, and even more rapidly of late. But the spirit of innovation and the element of surprise that have always defined this festival remain intact. Read More