Celebrating its 45th edition in 2016, New Directors/New Films introduces New York audiences to the work of emerging filmmakers from around the world. Throughout its rich history, New Directors has uncovered talents like Pedro Almódovar, Chantal Akerman, Hou Hsiao–hsien, Christopher Nolan, Laura Poitras, Spike Lee, and Kelly Reichardt.
Celebrating its 45th edition in 2016, New Directors/New Films introduces New York audiences to the work of emerging filmmakers from around the world. Throughout its rich history, New Directors has uncovered talents like Pedro Almódovar, Chantal Akerman, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Christopher Nolan, Laura Poitras, Spike Lee, and Kelly Reichardt. See more and save with a 3+ Film Package.
Opening Night · Introduction by Babak Anvari
It’s eight years into the Iran-Iraq War and Shideh (a terrific Narges Rashidi), who is left alone at home with her young daughter after her husband is sent to serve in the military, begins to suspect that a malevolent spirit is stalking them. Babak Anvari’s inspired feature debut is a political horror story that rises up from the rubble of war.
Cinematography by Kirsten JohnsonJohnson’s directorial debut feature is a self-portrait of an artist who has traveled the globe, venturing into landscapes and lives that bear the scars of trauma both active and historic.
U.S. Premiere · Q&As with Federico Veiroj & Kasra FarahaniWith wry humor and deep conviction, Uruguayan filmmaker Federico Veiroj (A Useful Life, ND/NF 2010) observes a young Spaniard’s maddening efforts to abandon the Catholic Church. By turns seriously philosophical and irreverently funny, the film traces the competing forces of conformity and rebellion, spiritual yearning and carnal desire, at war within us all.
Screening with Concerning the Bodyguard (Kasra Farahani, 10m).
Q&As with Zhao LiangDrawing inspiration from The Divine Comedy, political documentarian Zhao Liang combines his muckraking streak with a painterly vision in this wholly absorbing guided tour of a social and ecological nightmare in Inner Mongolia.
On the eve of his wedding, a groom falls into a pile of human remains, enabling a lonely dybbuk to crash his Polish wedding. Part absurdist comedy, part love story, the late Marcin Wrona’s eerie, richly atmospheric final film scares, amuses, and charms in equal measure.
Q&As with Kris AvedisianReturning after 20 years to Warwick, Rhode Island, for his grandmother’s funeral, Peter Latang (Jesse Wakeman) endures a blast from the past and some very cringeworthy moments while hanging out with his former high-school bestie, the obnoxious Donald Treebeck (played by director Kris Avedisian). Donald Cried is a brilliant twist on the family-reunion melodrama and the classic buddy comedy.
U.S. Premiere · Q&As with Salomé Lamas
A transporting experience that renews the possibilities of the ethnographic film, Salomé Lamas’s hallucinatory documentary immerses the viewer in the breathtaking views and extreme conditions of La Rinconada in the Peruvian Andes, the highest-elevation human settlement in the world, where miners face misery and lawlessness in the hopes of striking gold.
In the follow-up to her directorial debut, Innocence, Lucile Hadžihalilović continues her exploration of growing up, as feelings of fear, melancholy, and also eroticism bubble to the surface on a remote island populated only by women and young boys. Evolution is a dark fantasy that invites us to explore and make our own discoveries, however macabre they may be.
Q&As with Anna Rose Holmer and actress Alexis Neblett
Anna Rose Holmer’s narrative feature debut follows Toni, an 11-year-old budding boxer, as she becomes drawn to a group of dancers training at the same rec center in Cincinnati. Holmer conveys their world with a hypnotic sense of rhythm and a rare gift for rendering physicality—evident most of all when a mysterious, convulsive condition begins to afflict a number of girls at the gym.
Q&As with Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s wise compulsively watchable drama of female friendship and midlife awakening, which won its four leads a shared Best Actress award at the Locarno Film Festival, uses its epic five-plus-hour running time to show what other films leave out. Novelistic in depth and texture, it’s also the kind of immersive, intensely moving experience that remains unique to cinema.
North American Premiere · Q&As with Tamer El Said & Khalid AbdallaThis film within a film follows a filmmaker in Cairo (Khalid Abdalla of The Kite Runner and The Square), as he attempts to capture the zeitgeist of his city, as the world changes around him. Tamer El Said’s ambitious feature debut is a meditation on the tactile hold of cities and the weight of cinematic images in a time of change
An ecstatic and anguished vision of 21st-century youth replete with garishly lit sex scenes, inebriated slow-motion, and an exhilarating, eclectic pop soundtrack, Julio Hernández Cordón’s festival hit follows hard-living skater-bros/hustlers/lovers Miguel and Johnny as they flow inevitably toward a sea swimming with narco-sharks in Mexico City.
A multiple prizewinner at the Locarno Film Festival and one of the most audacious and innovative debuts of recent years, Bi Gan’s endlessly surprising shape-shifter is an uncanny waking dream that poetically and mysteriously interweaves the past, present, and future.
U.S. Premiere · Q&As with Anita Rocha da Silveira
Anita Rocha da Silveira’s vibrantly morbid debut feature unfolds in Rio de Janeiro’s Barra da Tijuca, where a clique of teenage girls become fearfully captivated by a string of gruesome murders. With nods to Brian De Palma’s Carrie, Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, and the atmospheres of David Lynch, this is nonetheless an entirely original coming-of-age story.
North American Premiere · Q&As with Zhang Hanyi
In the barren, ethereal Chinese countryside, a young boy becomes temporarily possessed by the spirit of his late mother. This exquisitely restrained ghost story combines the gentle supernaturalism of Apichatpong Weerasethakul with the clear-eyed social realism of Jia Zhangke (one of the film’s executive producers).
By turns neorealist and fabulist, Pietro Marcello’s beautiful and beguiling portrait of a heroic Campanian shepherd—and of the woes of present-day Italy—responds to real-life tragedy with a bold and generous leap into the mythic. Shot on expired 16mm film stock, the film won two awards at the Locarno Film Festival.
Q&As with Yaelle Kayam
Yaelle Kayam's feature debut offers a subtle and finely paced entryway into the interior life of a Jewish Orthodox mother of four living atop Jerusalem's ancient Mount of Olives, whose existence is upended by an unlikely nighttime encounter.
North American Premiere · Q&As with T.W. Pittman and Kelly Daniela Norris
Following his father’s sudden death, medical-student Iddrisu (Jacob Ayanaba) returns to his home village as the head of his family. As he confronts both tragedy and the beauty of village life, directors T.W. PIttman and Kelly Daniela Norris convey in exquisite detail the lives of people steeped in rural tradition who yearn to be a part of a new world.
The ingenious conceit of Neither Heaven Nor Earth, a critical success at Cannes, is to transform the Afghan battlefield—dust and boredom and jolts of explosive violence—into the backdrop for a metaphysical thriller. Jérémie Renier stars as a French army commander who loses the loyalty of his company, as well as his sanity, when soldiers start mysteriously disappearing one by one. A New Directors/New Films 2016 selection.
A handsome Brazilian cowboy, traveling the rodeo circuit with his unorthodox surrogate family, dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Culminating in an unforgettable sex scene, Gabriel Mascaro’s Venice and Toronto prizewinner is a quietly affirming exploration of desire and labor, a humane and sensual study of bodies at work and at play.
Q&As with Tony Stone
One of the most complicated, sympathetic documentary subjects to come along in some time, Peter Dunning is a rugged individualist, an artist turned farmer and a product of the 1960s counterculture whose poetic idealism has since soured. Imbued with an aching tenderness, Tony Stone’s portrait is both haunting and heartbreaking, a mosaic of Dunning’s transitory memories and reflections—however funny, tragic, or angry they may be.
North American Premiere · Q&As with Omer Fast
The feature debut by celebrated video artist Omer Fast is a striking, stylish psychological thriller, based on Tom McCarthy’s landmark 2005 novel, in which an unnamed amnesiac (a mesmerizing Tom Sturridge) becomes obsessed with creating note-perfect reconstructions of his own dim memories.
North American Premiere · Q&As with Ted Fendt
Ted Fendt delivers on the promise of his acclaimed shorts without sacrificing his singular charm and rigor with this shot-on-16mm debut feature, in which an ambitionless New Jerseyite sublets a friend’s room in Philadelphia and finds himself floating from one comic folly to another, each one a strange and subtle moral tale.
Q&As with Pascale BretonFrançoise returns to her native Brittany to teach at her alma mater to find that the past of this very particular place still exerts an inexorable pull. A rapturous ensemble piece about the tricks of time and memory, Suite Armoricaine is a work of grand themes and small, surprising details, bursting with ideas and emotion.
Q&As with Raam Reddy
Raam Reddy’s bold, vibrant debut feature, winner of two awards at the Locarno Film Festival, is a sprawling narrative that follows three generations of sons following the death of the family’s patriarch. The film’s incisive portrait of a community in a time of radical change yields exemplary humanist comedy and affirms an engaging new voice in Indian cinema.
This provocative prizewinner follows an ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva student who experiences a crisis of faith when his father brings him back from the brink of death. Avishai Sivan imbues his film with a singularly uncanny atmosphere, and the black-and-white chiaroscuro photography casts the devoutly private Hasidic community of old Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim in a morally shaded light.
Q&As with Josh Kriegman and Elyse SteinbergA truly 21st-century hybrid of classic documentary techniques and reality-based dramatic storytelling, Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s film follows the doomed mayoral election bid of former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner in 2013. By turns Shakespearean and Christopher Guest-ian, Weiner is the perfect political film for our time.
Q&As with Darius Clark Monroe, Marte Vold, Akosua Adoma Owusu, and Isabel PagliaiA program of five short films: Under the Sun (Yang Qiu, 19m); Dirt (Darius Clark Monroe, 7m); Totem (Marte Vold, 20m); Reluctantly Queer (Akosua Adoma Owusu, 8m); Isabella Morra (Isabel Pagliai, 22m).
Q&As with Timothy FryettA program of four short films: The Digger (Ali Cherri, 24m); We All Love the Seashore / Tout le Monde Aime le Bord de la Mer (Keina Espiñeira, 16m); Of a Few Days (Timothy Fryett, 14m); The Park / Le Park (Randa Maroufi, 14m).
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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