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 receives a cash prize of $5,000.

Jurors: Beat Glur, Nachum Mochiach, and Gerald Peary

Read Juror Bios


USA | 2018 | 92 minutes | Nijla Mu’min

Summer Dawson, a care-free black teen in LA, finds her identity tested when her mother converts to Islam.

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My Name is Myeisha

USA | 2017 | 85 minutes | Gus Krieger

Winner of the SIFF 2018 Youth Jury Prize for Best FutureWave Feature | A heartrending dreamscape of a black teen’s life and dreams replaying as she becomes a statistic of police violence.

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Noble Earth

USA | 2017 | 79 minutes | Ursula Grisham

A visitor to Florence is star-struck by her romantic encounter with a nobleman, but soon sees past these dreamlike pretenses.

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USA | 2018 | 100 minutes | Zeek Earl, Chris Caldwell

A father-daughter mining duo seek to strike it rich on a distant alien moon. But they’re not alone…

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USA | 2018 | 96 minutes | Megan Griffiths

Teen girl Sadie struggles to stay connected with her father serving overseas as her mother starts seeing somebody else.

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Thunder Road

USA | 2018 | 90 minutes | Jim Cummings

Winner of the SIFF 2018 Grand Jury Prize - New American Cinema Competition | A small-town police officer struggling to process the death of his mother, an impending divorce, and his own unrecognized cluelessness.

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USA | 2018 | 86 minutes | Sebastian Silva

A comedy where a man realizes that he is the only black man attending a weekend getaway.

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Wild Nights With Emily

USA | 2018 | 84 minutes | Madeleine Olnek

A biopic about famed poet Emily Dickinson and her supposed relationship with her sister-in-law, Susan.

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