With just over two weeks to go before the festival starts, The American Film Institute has announced those films to be featured in the New Auteurs and American Independents section at AFI FEST 2015. Two foreign language Oscar submissions – Ixcanul (Guatemala) and Mustang (France) – are featured in this year’s New Auteurs category, which highlights first and second-time directors from across the world. The category is notable also for showcasing female talent, as the New Auteurs Grand Jury Prize has gone to a female director for the last three years running. This year, out of 11 films selected, 7 are from female directors. Meanwhile, nine films have been selected for the American Independents category. AFI FEST, sponsored by Audi, begins November 5 and runs through November 12, with screenings and galas to be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, Dolby Theatre, the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian, and The Hollywood Roosevelt.
The full selections are as follows:
New Auteurs Selections
Desde allá (Venezuela/Mexico) – The drama about an unlikely relationship that develops after a middle-aged man is assaulted and robbed by a young criminal is directed by Lorenzo Vigas from a script by Lorenzo Vigas, it stars Alfredo Castro and Luis Silva.
Disorder (France/Belgium) – The film concerns an ex-soldier locked in a cat and mouse game with home intruders on a wealthy estate. It’s directed by Alice Winocour and written by Alice Winocour. Matthias Schoenaerts, Diane Kruger, Paul Hamy, Zaïd Errougui-Demonsant, Percy Kemp, Victor Pontecorvo, Mickaël Daubert, Franck Torrecillas, Chems Eddine, Philippe Haddad, and Jean-Louis Coulloc’h star.
Evolution (France) – The thriller takes place on an island populated only by women and boys. Directed by Lucile Hadžihalilović from a script by Lucile Hadžihalilović, Alanté Kavaïté, and Geoff Cox, it stars Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, and Julie-Marie Parmentier.
The Gulls, AKA Chaiki (Russian Federation) A fisherman’s wife becomes free of her suppressed domestic existence following a life-altering event. Directed by Ella Manzheeva and written by Ella Manzheeva, it stars Evgeniya Mandzhieva, Sergey Adianov, Evgeny Sangadzhiev, Lyubov Ubushieva, and Dmitry Mukeyev.
Ixcanul (Guatemala/France) – A young Mayan woman’s future is thrown into uncertainty when she becomes pregnant outside of an impending arranged marriage. Written and directed by Jayro Bustamante, it stars María Mercedes Coroy, María Telón, Manuel Antún, Justo Lorenzo, and Marvin Coroy.
Land And Shade, AKA La Tierra Y La Sombra (Colombia/France/Netherlands/Chile/Brazil) – An aging farmer returns to rural Colombia where the family and land he long ago abandoned have been devastated by industrial progress. Written and directed by César Augusto Acevedo, it stars Haimer Leal, Hilda Ruiz, Edison Raigosa, Marleyda Soto, José Felipe Cárdenas, and Edison Raigosa.
Mediterranea (Italy/France/USA/Germany) – A migrant from Burkina Faso makes the dangerous journey from North Africa to Europe. Jonas Carpignano directs from his own script, and it stars Koudous Seihon, Alassane Sy, Adam Gnegne, and Davide Schipilliti.
Mountain (Israel/Denmark) – An Orthodox Jewish woman falls in with a community of prostitutes and drug dealers in the ancient cemetery atop Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. Written and directed by Yaelle Kayam, Shani Klein, Avshalom Pollak, and Haitham Ibrahem Omari star.
Mustang (France/Germany/Turkey) – Five Turkish sisters must fight back against harsh societal restrictions when a seemingly innocent act is blown out of proportion. Deniz Gamze Ergüven directs from a script by Ergüven and Alice Winocour, it stars . SCR Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour. CAST Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Ilayda Akdogan, and Ayberk Pekcan.
Sworn Virgin, AKA Vergine Giurata (Italy/Switzerland/Germany/Albania/Republic of Kosovo) – A young Albanian woman appeals to an ancient regional law allowing her to live free as a man if she takes an oath of eternal virginity. Laura Bispuridirects from a script co-written with Francesca Manieri. Alba Rohrwacher, Flonja Kodheli, Lars Eidinger, Luan Jaha, Bruno Shllaku, Ilire Celaj, Drenica Selimaj, Dajana Selimaj, and Emily Ferratello star.
Until I Lose My Breath (Turkey/Germany) – A Turkish teenager dreams of leaving her abusive home and moving in with her father, a long-distance truck driver. Written and directed by Emine Emel Balcı. Esme Madra, Rıza Akın, Sema Keçik, Gizem Denizci, Ece Yüksel, Uğur Uzunel, Yavuz Pekman, Pinar Gök, and Yavuz Özata star.
Bob And The Trees – A middle-aged logger gambles his personal and professional livelihood on harvesting an unyielding piece of land. Diego Ongaro directs from a script co-written with Courtney Maum and Sasha Statman-Weil. Bob Tarasuk, Matt Gallagher, Polly MacIntyre, Richard Bradley, and Winthrop Barrett star.
Field Niggas – Director Khalik Allah’s stylized documentary chronicles summer nights spent at the intersection of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in Harlem.
Funny Bunny – A comedy following a trio of people look to make meaningful connections. Written and directed by Alison Bagnall. Kentucker Audley, Joslyn Jensen, Olly Alexander, Louis Cancelmi, Josephine Decker, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Grace Gonglewski, Caridad de la Luz, and Nicholas Webber star.
H. – Two different Helens of Troy live parallel lives in this apocalyptic story. Written and directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia. Robin Bartlett, Rebecca Dayan, Will Janowitz, Julian Gamble, and Roger Robinson star.
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. Josh Mond writes and directs.Christopher Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, Scott Mescudi, Makenzie Leigh, and Ron Livingston star.
Krisha – An estranged relative shows up to a family Thanksgiving to make amends, but can’t escape her dark past. Written and directed by Trey Edward Shults. It stars Krisha Fairchild, Robyn Fairchild, Bill Wise, Trey Edward Shults, Chris Doubek, Olivia Grace Applegate, Alex Dobrenko, and Chase Joliet.
Men go To Battle – This period piece, follows two farming brothers in 1861 torn apart by the encroaching Civil War. Zachary Treitz directs from a script by Treitz and Kate Lyn Sheil. Starring David Maloney, Timothy Morton, Kate Lyn Sheil, and Rachel Korine.
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. Chloé Zhao writes and directs. John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Eleonore Hendricks, Taysha Fuller, and Cat Clifford star.
Stinking Heaven – When a new member arrives at a home for sober living, a self-destructive spiral begins. Nathan Silver directs. Written by Silver and Jack Dunphy, it stars Deragh Campbell, Keith Poulson, Hannah Gross, Eléonore Hendricks, Tallie Medel, Henri Douvry, Jason Giampietro, Jason Grisell, Eileen Kearney, and Larry Novak.