You know the Opening and Closing Night films for AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi as well as one of the Centerpiece Galas. Now, three weeks before the festival is set to launch in Hollywood, we’re announcing 20 more films in the lineup: those in the New Auteurs and American Independents sections.
The American Independents section represents the best of independent filmmaking this year. Pushing boundaries of form and content across both narrative and documentary cinema, this section boasts nine films from both new voices and talented directors returning to AFI FEST with their latest work.
The New Auteurs section highlights 11 first and second-time narrative feature film directors from around the world, whose films will be eligible for the Grand Jury Prize.
“The women and men from around the world in the New Auteurs competition hold great promise for an acclaimed career,” said Lane Kneedler, Director of Programming of AFI FEST. “Watching past winners flourish since their time at AFI FEST has made running this competitive section over the last several years an incredibly rewarding experience. We are excited to see what this year’s emerging filmmakers will do next.”
New Auteurs is the festival’s platform for rising talent, which this year features seven out of 11 great films directed by women. For the past three years, the Grand Jury Prize has gone to a female director — to Shira Geffen for SELF MADE in 2014, to Katrin Gebbe for NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN in 2013 and to Gabriela Pichler for EAT SLEEP DIE in 2012. This year’s New Auteurs jury features Inkoo Kang (TheWrap), Sheri Linden (The Hollywood Reporter and the Los Angeles Times) and Nigel M. Smith (The Guardian).
The full schedule will be released on October 21. Read about the films from both sections below.
DESDE ALLÁ – When a middle-aged man is assaulted and robbed by a young criminal, an unlikely relationship develops. DIR Lorenzo Vigas. SCR Lorenzo Vigas. CAST Alfredo Castro and Luis Silva. Venezuela/Mexico. U.S. Premiere
DISORDER – Matthias Schoenaerts plays an ex-soldier who becomes locked in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with ski-masked home invaders at a wealthy estate. DIR Alice Winocour. SCR Alice Winocour. CAST Matthias Schoenaerts, Diane Kruger, Paul Hamy, Zaïd Errougui-Demonsant, Percy Kemp, Victor Pontecorvo, Mickaël Daubert, Franck Torrecillas, Chems Eddine, Philippe Haddad, Jean-Louis Coulloc’h. France/Belgium
EVOLUTION – On an island inhabited only by women and boys, a 10-year-old receiving strange medical treatment investigates the horrific things the women do at night. DIR Lucile Hadžihalilović. SCR Lucile Hadžihalilović, Alanté Kavaïté, Geoff Cox. CAST Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier. France
THE GULLS (CHAIKI) – In winter near the Caspian Sea, a fisherman’s wife becomes free of her suppressed domestic existence after a life-altering event. DIR Ella Manzheeva. SCR Ella Manzheeva. CAST Evgeniya Mandzhieva, Sergey Adianov, Evgeny Sangadzhiev, Lyubov Ubushieva, Dmitry Mukeyev. Russian Federation. North American Premiere
IXCANUL – A young Mayan woman becomes pregnant outside of an impending arranged marriage, throwing her and her family’s future into dire uncertainty. DIR Jayro Bustamante. SCR Jayro Bustamante. CAST María Mercedes Coroy, María Telón, Manuel Antún, Justo Lorenzo, Marvin Coroy. Guatemala/France
LAND AND SHADE (LA TIERRA Y LA SOMBRA) – An aging farmer returns to rural Colombia where the family and land he long ago abandoned have been devastated by industrial progress. DIR César Augusto Acevedo. SCR César Augusto Acevedo. CAST Haimer Leal, Hilda Ruiz, Edison Raigosa, Marleyda Soto, José Felipe Cárdenas, Edison Raigosa. Colombia/France/Netherlands/Chile/Brazil. U.S. Premiere
MEDITERRANEA – In this timely film, a migrant from Burkina Faso makes a perilous journey from North Africa to Europe. DIR Jonas Carpignano. SCR Jonas Carpignano. CAST Koudous Seihon, Alassane Sy, Adam Gnegne, Davide Schipilliti. Italy/France/USA/Germany
MOUNTAIN – To escape her troubles at home, a young Orthodox Jewish woman falls in with a nocturnal community of prostitutes and drug dealers in the ancient cemetery atop Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. DIR Yaelle Kayam. SCR Yaelle Kayam. CAST Shani Klein, Avshalom Pollak, Haitham Ibrahem Omari. Israel/Denmark. U.S. Premiere
MUSTANG – Five Turkish sisters must fight back against harsh societal restrictions when a seemingly innocent act is blown out of proportion. DIR Deniz Gamze Ergüven. SCR Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour. CAST Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Ilayda Akdogan, Ayberk Pekcan. France/Germany/Turkey
SWORN VIRGIN (VERGINE GIURATA) – A young Albanian woman bucks her destiny by appealing to an ancient regional law allowing her to live free as a man if she takes an oath of eternal virginity. DIR Laura Bispuri. SCR Francesca Manieri, Laura Bispuri. CAST Alba Rohrwacher, Flonja Kodheli, Lars Eidinger, Luan Jaha, Bruno Shllaku, Ilire Celaj, Drenica Selimaj, Dajana Selimaj, Emily Ferratello. Italy/Switzerland/Germany/Albania/Republic of Kosovo
UNTIL I LOSE MY BREATH – A Turkish teenager dreams of leaving her abusive home and moving in with her father, a long-distance truck driver. DIR Emine Emel Balcı. SCR Emine Emel Balcı. CAST Esme Madra, Rıza Akın, Sema Keçik, Gizem Denizci, Ece Yüksel, Uğur Uzunel, Yavuz Pekman, Pinar Gök, Yavuz Özata. Turkey/Germany. North American Premiere
BOB AND THE TREES – A middle-aged logger gambles his personal and professional livelihood on harvesting an unyielding piece of land. DIR Diego Ongaro. SCR Diego Ongaro, Courtney Maum, Sasha Statman-Weil. CAST Bob Tarasuk, Matt Gallagher, Polly MacIntyre, Richard Bradley, Winthrop Barrett. USA
FIELD NIGGAS – Khalik Allah’s stylized documentary chronicles summer nights spent at the intersection of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in Harlem. DIR Khalik Allah. USA
FUNNY BUNNY – A trio of people look to make meaningful connections in this sweet natured comedy. DIR Alison Bagnall. SCR Alison Bagnall. CAST Kentucker Audley, Joslyn Jensen, Olly Alexander, Louis Cancelmi, Josephine Decker, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Grace Gonglewski, Caridad de la Luz, Nicholas Webber. USA
H. – Two different Helens of Troy live parallel lives in this brilliantly unnerving apocalyptic vision. DIR Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia. SCR Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia. CAST Robin Bartlett, Rebecca Dayan, Will Janowitz, Julian Gamble, Roger Robinson. USA/Argentina
JAMES WHITE – A young New Yorker is forced to take control of his self-destructive lifestyle as he navigates his mother’s fight with a serious illness. DIR Josh Mond. SCR Josh Mond. CAST Christopher Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, Scott Mescudi, Makenzie Leigh, Ron Livingston. USA
KRISHA – Estranged relative Krisha shows up to a family Thanksgiving to make amends, but as the day unfolds she can’t escape her dark past. DIR Trey Edward Shults. SCR Trey Edward Shults. CAST Krisha Fairchild, Robyn Fairchild, Bill Wise, Trey Edward Shults, Chris Doubek, Olivia Grace Applegate, Alex Dobrenko, Chase Joliet. USA
MEN GO TO BATTLE – In this indie American period piece, two farming brothers in 1861 are torn apart by the encroaching Civil War. DIR Zachary Treitz. SCR Kate Lyn Sheil, Zachary Treitz. CAST David Maloney, Timothy Morton, Kate Lyn Sheil, Rachel Korine. USA
SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME – A brother and sister living on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation cope with the loss of their father in very different ways. DIR Chloé Zhao. SCR Chloé Zhao. CAST John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Eleonore Hendricks, Taysha Fuller, Cat Clifford. USA
STINKING HEAVEN – When a new member arrives at a home for sober living, a self-destructive spiral begins. DIR Nathan Silver. SCR Nathan Silver, Jack Dunphy. CAST Deragh Campbell, Keith Poulson, Hannah Gross, Eléonore Hendricks, Tallie Medel, Henri Douvry, Jason Giampietro, Jason Grisell, Eileen Kearney, Larry Novak. USA
The 29th edition of AFI FEST will take place November 5–12 in the heart of Hollywood. Ensure a seat at the festival today with one of our Patron Packages and Express Passes — a limited number are now on sale.
Photo: Tugba Sunguroglu,_Ilayda Akdogan, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Elit Iscan and Gunes Sensoy in MUSTANG. photo courtesy Cohen Media Group