San Sebastian announces New Directors line-up

The Sower, Cargo and Ravens all feature

by Amber Wilkinson

The San Sebastian Film Festival today announced the line-up of its Kutxabank-New Directors Award, which seeks to discover new filmmaking talent.

Thirteen films will compete in the section, all made by first or second-time filmmakers.

Among the names, who have previously created waves in non-feature format, are Swedish photographer Jens Assur, whose 2011 short Killing Chickens To Scare Monkeys, won several festival awards. Here, he makes his debut with Ravens (Korparna) - the story of a young buy who is hell-bent on his son taking over the running of the family farm.

Also making the step up from short films - and TV show The Natives (Bevergem) - is director/screenwriter Gilles coulier. The Belgian brings his debut feature Cargo to San Sebastian, exploring conflict between three siblings of a family on the edge of an abyss.

Laura Mora is one of the directors screening their second film at the festival after her 2015 debut Antes del fuego. Drawing on her events following the murder of her own father in 2002, Killing Jesus (Matar a Jesús) promises to be an intensely personal work. Young & Wild (Joven & Alocada) director Marialy Rivas also brings his sophomore work Princess (Princesita) - produced by Pablo Larraín and Fernanda del Nido - which tells the story of a 12-year-old girl living in a sect.

Elsewhere in the line-up, is The Sower (Le Semeur), directed by Marine Francen, who has been an assistant director on films include Amour, Mesrine and Something In The Air (Apres Mai). Her films tells the tale of an 1850s town where the men have been rounded up, leaving the women to try to survive.

Additional titles will be announced in the coming weeks. All will compete for €50,000 for the film's director and distributor in Spain. The films will also compete for the EROSKI Youth Award, to be decided by a jury of 300 students between the ages of 18 and 25.

The full line-up so far is below (descriptions courtesy of the festival):

A Fish Out Of Water (Lai Kuo-An), Taiwan
Yian, who has just started kindergarten, often asks his parents to help him find his past life parents. However, doctors and his parents believe him to be suffering from psychosis. Meanwhile, his parents are negotiating their separation. His mom, Yaji, decides to move out with him while his dad, Haoteng, decides to look after Yian's sick grandfather...

Alberto García-Alix/La línea de la sombra/Shadowline (Nicolás Combarro), Spain
The portrait of one of the most important photographers on the Spanish artistic scene. A direct testimony to the lights and shadows through which Alberto García-Alix has had to make his way in order to find his path. Narrated from the intimacy of his studio, the film takes the shape of a voyage between the present and the past. A dialogue between his life and work.

Blue My Mind (Lisa Bruehlmann), Switzerland
Just before the summer vacation, 15-year-old Mia and her parents move to the suburbs of Zürich. She has long felt estranged from her parents, and when she asks whether she might be adopted, her mother becomes offended - but doesn't reply. While Mia plunges into a wild teenager existence in an attempt to cope with it all, her body begins to change oddly. First hardly noticeably, but then with a force that threatens to drive her out of her mind. In her despair she attempts to numb herself with sex and drugs, hoping to halt the tidal wave that is overwhelming her. But nature is more powerful.

Cargo (Gilles Coulier) Belgium, Netherlands, France
In the cold waters of the North Sea, Leon Broucke falls overboard his fishing boat right before the eyes of his eldest son, Jean. The old man slips into a deep coma, leaving his son behind with a huge debt and the responsibility of the family business. The absence of his father sets off an aftershock of conflicts between him and his two brothers. Cargo is a story about how desperation can bring a family to the edge of destruction.

From Where We’ve Fallen/He Ri Jun Zai Lai (Wang Feifei), China
It's past midnight. Zhao goes down to smoke, leaving his drunken wife to murmur her erotic dream upstairs. Neighbour Lee jumps off the building in front of Zhao, who is watching a sex video on his phone. Sanqing falls in love with her tutor. She wants to strengthen her relationship with Professor Sun on a seaside trip, but finally realises her efforts are in vain. Hai Long is an old acquaintance of Sun. He tries to bring Sanqing and his client Wang together, giving Sanqing the opportunity to take revenge. In the dark tunnel on the island, Wang tells Sanqing a nightmare that reveals the whole story...

Ravens/Korparna (Jens Assur), Sweden
A hard-working farmer, despairing by the harsh reality of his daily struggle, is determined to have his son taking over the farm and continue his legacy. The mother tries her best to keep the family together. Yet, with increasing horror, the son witnesses his father's psychotic behaviour escalate. He seeks refuge elsewhere but he can't escape the inevitable.

The Price Of Success/Le Prix Du Succes (Teddy Lussi-Modeste) France
Brahim is a successful stand-up comedian from a working-class family. His swift rise to fame has a price: Brahim is constantly under pressure, torn between his elder brother Mourad, who is also his manager, and Linda, his girlfriend and artistic director. Everyone has high expectations of him, from his family to the guys he grew up with. To fulfil his dream, write his second show, and find his own path, Brahim must break free of his brother’s grip, even if it means paying an even bigger price.

The Sower/Le Semeur (Marine Francen), France
Violette is old enough to marry in 1852 when her mountain village is brutally deprived of all its men following the repression of the Republicans ordered by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. The women spend months in total isolation. Desperate to one day see their men again, they take an oath: if a man comes, he will be for everyone. Life must continue in the belly of each and every one of them.

Killing Jesus/Matar A Jesus (Laura Mora), Colombia, Argentina
Paula, 22, witnesses the murder of her father, a popular political science professor in Medellín. A few months after, she accidentally crosses paths with a young man, Jesus who she thinks she recognises as her father's killer. The encounter between victim and attacker will reveal how much it takes to kill, when she finds the human being behind the killer, who ends up being a reflection of her own self. Killing Jesús is based on real events in the life of the writer-director.

Underground/Pailalim (Daniel Palacio), Philippines
Bangis is a poor gravedigger living inside a cemetery mausoleum with his family. Everyday he fears being evicted by the government for illegally settling inside the cemetery. When his daughter falls ill, getting her checked into a hospital becomes a dilemma. The illness lingers for weeks and Bangis' desperation grows stronger. He knows he must do something or his daughter won't survive her ordeal. He decides to steal a newly buried corpse and sell it to a funeral parlour. He only hopes that everything goes well and that it's not too late for his beloved daughter.

The Seeds Of Violence/Pok-Ryuk-Eui SSi-At (Lim Tae-Gue), South Korea
Jooyong, a soldier serving his duty in the Korean army, attempts to expose the abuses of a senior soldier but fails. On the day Jooyong's platoon goes on a night out as a group, the senior soldier tries to find the culprit who attempted to report him. Yet another violent situation results in breaking a tooth of a second private soldier, and Jooyong takes him to his brother-in-law's dental clinic...

Princess/Princesita (Marialy Rivas) Chile, Spain, Argentina
In a far-off country at the end of the world Tamara, 12, lives under the wing of charismatic cult leader Miguel, a man she adores. That summer the girl will be given a mission: to have a holy child with him immediately she has her first period. Tamara realises that the life she wants for herself is not the same as the fate imposed on her. Her disobedience will lead to her violent development from child to woman, forcing her to gain her freedom in a way she had never imagined.

Tigre (Silvina Schnicer Schlieman, Ulises Porra Guardiola), Argentina
After a long period of absence, Rina returns to her island deep in the Tigre river Delta. There she spent a large part of her life and raised her son. Now she wants to recover her home and return there with Facundo, who also left the island. Both, mother and son, will learn that everything has changed. Machines on the river plan to destroy everything. A girl is lost in the forest. The water is rising.

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