New American Cinema Competition

When we begin our programming selection process in the fall, the team looks in awe at the sheer volume of films by independent American filmmakers, a category that fields the largest number of submissions by far.

Each of these films may not currently have a distributor, but they have a champion on the programming team; someone who fought to have it included in the group that we would eventually present to our audience as the best and brightest work of our country's filmmakers.

The winner as chosen by a jury of FIPRESCI members will be announced at the Golden Space Needle Awards and receive a cash prize of $5,000.

Jurors: Beat Glur, Nachum Mochiach, and Gerald Peary

Read Juror Bios

American Folk

USA | 2017 | 99 minutes | David Heinz

Folk singers Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth deliver elegant, naturalistic performances as two strangers who take an impromptu cross-country road trip in the days after 9/11, rediscovering the power of music to heal in the wake of an unthinkable national tragedy.

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USA | 2017 | 104 minutes | Kogonada

Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho star as two strangers who meet in Columbus, Indiana, a town with a surprising number of modernist architectural landmarks, and form an intimate bond in this sweet and subtle drama, a Midwest Before Sunrise by way of Yasujiro Ozu.

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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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In the Radiant City

USA | 2016 | 95 minutes | Rachel Lambert

Rachel Lambert’s incisive first feature, co-produced by Jeff Nichols (Midnight Special), is an intimate drama about a man who testified against his brother for committing a horrendous crime. Twenty years later he returns to his rural Kentucky hometown to face his fractured family.

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Lane 1974

USA | 2017 | 80 minutes | SJ Chiro

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize - New American Cinema Competition

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Say You Will

USA | 2017 | 97 minutes | Nick Naveda

A young conservatory-bound musician tries to keep his life and his mother from falling apart after his father’s recent suicide and finds solace in his troubled childhood crush in writer/director Nick Naveda’s semi-autobiographical indie drama.

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The Feels

USA | 2017 | 90 minutes | Jenée LaMarque

A lesbian bachelorette weekend goes awry when one of the brides admits she's never had an orgasm. Constance Wu ("Fresh Off the Boat") stars in this funny and raunchy yet poignant and real reflection on trust, love, and the journey every woman shares.

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The Landing

USA | 2016 | 86 minutes | Mark Dodson, David Dodson

Astronauts, scientists, and conspiracy theorists all weigh in on the 25th anniversary of the controversial end to NASA’s final mission to the moon, when the Apollo 18 space capsule landed in the Chinese desert—an event so mysterious that history has never even heard of it.

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