New Directors Competition

Be at the cutting edge of world cinema and take a little risk in your viewing.

This year, eight 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 chosen for their original scripts, innovative cinematography, and unique insights. From Kazakhstan to Taiwan, from Québec to Cuba, from Belarus to Sri Lanka, these are films that expand the cinematic palette in inventive ways.

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.

Jurors

Amy Nicholson, Simone Ling, Neal Block

Read Juror Bios

A Colony

Canada (Québec) | 2018 | 102 minutes | Genevieve Dulude-De Celles

High-school social pressure is hard enough to navigate for 12-year-old Mylia, but the backdrop of tension between white and First Nations students in this small Québec town makes it harder.

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Ayka

Kazakhstan | 2018 | 100 minutes | Sergey Dvortsevoy

An undocumented Kyrgyz immigrant in Russia struggles to make ends meet and yearns to find the child she abandoned.

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Crystal Swan

Belarus | 2018 | 93 minutes | Darya Zhuk

In this eye-popping, vitriolic comedy set in Belarus circa 1996, a young female DJ befriends a rural family in a scheme to obtain her U.S. visa so she can move to Chicago and pursue her house-music career.

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House of My Fathers

Sri Lanka | 2018 | 95 minutes | Suba Sivakumaran

A magical-realist fable about a man and a woman from antagonistic Sri Lankan communities who must remove a curse.

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Long Time No Sea

Taiwan | 2018 | 97 minutes | Heather Tsui

A young island boy yearning to see his father and a rookie teacher come together to train for an Indigenous dance competition.

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Retrospekt

Netherlands | 2018 | 101 minutes | Esther Rots

A nonlinear storyline—resembling the memories of the protagonist, who works at a domestic-violence clinic—intensifies this thriller.

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Sons of Denmark

Denmark | 2019 | 117 minutes | Ulaa Salim

This spec-fic thriller set in 2025 portrays the rise of an ultra-nationalist political party in Denmark.

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The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia

Cuba | 2018 | 92 minutes | Arturo Infante

Stuck in a rut, former schoolteacher and planetarium guide Celeste Garcia is chosen to begin a new life on the planet Gyrok.

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