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. Of the eight selected films, five come from female directors, five are from directors of color, and one was made while the filmmaker was still in high school.

The New American Cinema jury consists of members of the FIPRESCI. The winner will be announced at the Golden Space Needle Awards and receive a cash prize of $5,000.


Robert Horton, Petra Meterc, Lucy Virgen

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Burning Cane

USA | 2019 | 78 minutes | Phillip Youmans

A drama set among the Louisiana cane fields about a religious woman’s struggles between her faith and her troubled family.

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Go Back to China

China | 2019 | 96 minutes | Emily Ting

Spoiled Sasha is forced to come back from America to work in the family's factory in this easygoing dramedy.

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International Falls

USA | 2019 | 93 minutes | Amber McGinnis

A lonely local housewife and a burned-out stand-up comedian make unlikely friends in a snowbound border town.

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Mickey and the Bear

USA | 2019 | 87 minutes | Annabelle Attanasio

In Anaconda, Montana, a headstrong teen must choose between a possible life of freedom and caring for her father.

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USA | 2019 | 89 minutes | Rashaad Ernesto Green

In this Harlem-set drama, college-bound Ayanna begins a tender romance with a handsome music producer.

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Stray Dolls

USA | 2019 | 97 minutes | Sonejuhi Sinha

A South Asian immigrant takes a job at a seedy motel and is pulled into a world of crime that spirals out of control.

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To the Stars

USA | 2019 | 111 minutes | Martha Stephens

In 1960s Oklahoma, a withdrawn farmer’s daughter challenges her repressive upbringing.

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USA | 2019 | 83 min. | Andrew Ahn

May 15 - June 4, 2020

Over a summer in upstate New York, a sensitive Asian-American boy becomes friends with the reclusive retiree next door.

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