New American Cinema Competition

Each of these films may not currently have a distributor, but they have a champion on the programming team. New American Cinema fields the largest number of submissions by far. We can select only a fraction to take to the finals, but the heavy competition leads to a truly remarkable collective output of U.S. independents. Our mission is to herald the diversity of the American experience through voices sorely underrepresented in American cinema.

The winner will be announced at the Golden Space Needle Awards and receive a cash prize of $1,500.

I’M FINE (Thanks for Asking)

USA | 2021 | 90 minutes | Kelley Kali, Angelique Molina

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

A recently widowed mother on the outer edges of Los Angeles works her rollerskating tail off to get her and her eight-year-old daughter off the streets, over one long day of pawn shop negotiations, food app delivery mishaps, and shady landlords.

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Mother’s Milk

USA | 2021 | 63 minutes | Larry Powell, Nick Ducassi, Adriana DeGirolami, Kameron Neal, Bianca LaVerne Jones, Shinelle Azoroh, Alex Ander, John MacDonald, Lelund Durond Thompson

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

In this collaborative and experimental “film quilt” told in nine parts—individual chapters are made by different filmmaking teams and combined into a visual album—a Black man named Sparrow searches for meaning, self, and home as he leaps through a dying universe.

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Potato Dreams of America

USA | 2021 | 95 minutes | Wes Hurley

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

From Wes Hurley, the creator of famed local webseries “Capitol Hill,” comes an autobiographical coming-of-age dark comedy about a young closeted Russian boy in the disintegrating USSR who moves to Seattle with his prison doctor-turned-mail-order bride single mother.

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Son of Monarchs

USA | 2021 | 97 minutes | Alexis Gambis

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

In this soulful and stunningly shot Sundance prizewinner, a New York-based Mexican biologist dedicated to mapping out the monarch butterfly’s genetics returns to Mexico for his grandmother’s funeral, coming to terms with the repressed trauma of his youth.

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Strawberry Mansion

USA | 2021 | 90 minutes | Albert Birney, Kentucker Audley

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

In this sweet and colorful bit of surrealistic speculative fiction set in the near future, a “dream auditor” on assignment becomes obsessed with an aging eccentric and, while investigating the VHS archive of her subconscious, happens upon a chance at love.

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Topside

USA | 2020 | 85 minutes | Celine Held, Logan George

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

An empathetic and eye-opening portrayal of the houseless people who live in New York City’s abandoned subway tunnels, following a drug-addicted mother and her five-year-old daughter who are forced aboveground during a harsh winter.

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Waikiki

USA | 2020 | 77 minutes | Christopher Kahunahana (Kanaka Maoli)

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

In this honest portrayal of the gritty side of paradise, Kanaka Maoli filmmaker Christopher Kahunahana depicts the story of Kea, a part-time Hawaiian teacher, hula dancer, and nightclub hostess, who crashes her beat-up van into a mysterious homeless man in the dead of night. Kea is quickly triggered to face her own past traumas and a new perspective.

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Wyrm

USA | 2019 | 97 minutes | Christopher Winterbauer

April 8 - 18, 2021

SIFF Channel

In an alternative 1990s equal parts Yorgos Lanthimos and Todd Solondz (but gentler), an awkward young teen must complete a school requirement in which students wear electronic collars that detach only upon engaging in their first kiss.

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