New Directors Competition

New Directors Competition

Be at the cutting edge of world cinema and take a little risk in your viewing. This year, 13 new international voices have been selected for SIFF's New Directors Competition. To qualify, the films must be dramatic features, a director's debut or second feature, and without U.S. distribution at the time of SIFF selection. The films are selected for their original scripts, innovative cinematography, and unique insights into people, places, and story. 

The New Directors jury comprises film industry professionals and journalists who will choose the winning filmmaker during the Festival's final weekend. The winner will be announced at the Golden Space Needle Awards and receive a cash prize of $5,000.


Becoming Who I Was

South Korea | 2016 | 95 minutes | Chang-Yong Moon, Jin Jeon

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize - Documentary Competition

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Dara Ju

USA | 2017 | 92 minutes | Anthony Onah

Smart and ambitious, Seyi Ogunde is the son of Nigerian immigrants and the lone person of color in his Wall Street firm. Trapped between two different worlds, he struggles with love, prescription drugs, and decisions that threaten to steer him down a criminal path.

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Dawson City: Frozen Time

USA | 2016 | 120 minutes | Bill Morrison

Pioneering filmmaker Bill Morrison pieces together a haunting chronicle of the transformations in a Yukon Territory Gold Rush town as told through a collection of rare nitrate stock films discovered buried under a hockey rink and untouched for over 50 years.

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Handsome Devil

Ireland | 2016 | 95 minutes | John Butler

Music-obsessed Irish teenager Ned is an outcast at his rugby-obsessed boarding school, understood only by an inspirational English teacher (Andrew Scott, “Sherlock”), at least until he becomes roommates with a star athlete, in this breezy coming-of-age underdog story.

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Indigenous Without Borders

2017 | 86 minutes

From Standing Rock to Aotearoa, these shorts, directed by indigenous filmmakers, give passionate voice to the traditions and issues of indigenous populations around the globe.

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Kati Kati

Kenya | 2016 | 75 minutes | Mbithi Masya

A young woman wakes up in the middle of the Kenyan wilderness with amnesia and stumbles into a lodge full of mysterious residents who claim that they are all dead and stuck in limbo in this unique fusion of fantasy and political allegory from director Mbithi Masya and producer Tom Tykwer.

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Ma' Rosa

Philippines | 2016 | 110 minutes | Brillante Mendoza

Filipino director Brillante Mendoza's social-realist drama tracks the case of an impoverished family who run a convenience store, but are only able to make ends meet by selling drugs until they are arrested and pressed for bribes by corrupt police officers.

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Tea Pets

China | 2017 | 105 min. (incl. 7 min. short film) | Wang Gary

Popping off the screen with vivacious colors and beautifully composed action sequences, a group of tea pets—cute clay figurines that are good-luck charms for tea drinkers—embark on a magical animated adventure to find a fabled mystic.

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The Wedding Party

Nigeria | 2016 | 110 minutes | Kemi Adetiba

Offering a fresh, female take on Nigerian culture, director Kemi Adetiba’s uproarious romantic comedy follows the raucous attendees of an insecure bride’s wedding, including a pair of battling mothers, a vengeful ex-girlfriend, and a best man with a flash drive full of secrets.

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White Sun

Nepal | 2016 | 89 minutes | Deepak Rauniyar

Deepak Rauniyar’s potent drama of overcoming divisions in post-civil war Nepal follows a Maoist rebel, returning to a remote mountain village to bury his Royalist father, who struggles to reconnect with his estranged family, forgotten friends, and nonconformist ex-wife.

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