The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center today announced the initial nine official selections for the 44th edition of New Directors/New Films (ND/NF), a festival dedicated to the discovery of new works by emerging and dynamic filmmaking talent.
Representing 11 countries from around the world, the initial nine selections are Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again (USA), Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court (India), Rick Alverson’s Entertainment (USA), Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s Goodnight Mommy (Austria), Sarah Leonor’s The Great Man (France), Nadav Lapid’s The Kindergarten Teacher (Israel/France), Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb (Jordan/Qatar/United Arab Emirates/UK), Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe (Ukraine), and Kornél Mundruczó’s White God (Hungary).
Four of the first nine titles announced will screen at the Sundance Film Festival including two feature-film directorial debuts: Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again about a heartbroken Christmas tree salesman, and Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s winner of the Critics’ Week grand prize at Cannes, The Tribe, which is set in a school for deaf and mute coeds, and is communicated entirely in sign language—with no subtitles. Rick Alverson’s Entertainment, a follow-up to The Comedy, follows a broken-down comedian playing a string of stand-up gigs across the Mojave Desert. Kornél Mundruczó’s White God, which won the Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes, follows the brutal struggle a little girl’s dog must go through to find his way back to her after he is abandoned in the city.
Winner of numerous prizes at film festivals, including the Luigi De Laurentiis Award and the Venice Horizons Award at the Venice Film Festival, Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court is a devastating exploration of a kangaroo court process railroading an aging folk singer. Another multiple prizewinner is Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb. Winner of the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography and Art Direction at the Cairo International Film Festival, Best Directorial Debut at Camerimage, and the Venice Horizons Award for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival, the film is a coming-of-age story of a young Bedouin boy as he guides a British officer through harsh territory.
Nadav Lapid follows his impressive first feature, Policeman (which was a New York Film festival selection and subsequently screened at FSLC’s Film Center), with The Kindergarten Teacher. A winner at the Jerusalem Film Festival and Seville European Film Festival, the film is about a teacher who becomes overly protective of a young prodigy in her class. And Sarah Leonor follows her award-winning feature debut, A Real Life, with The Great Man, about an immigrant in the French Legionnaire’s whose actions lead to an ambush on his unit. Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s Goodnight Mommy won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Thessaloniki Film Festival. The thriller focuses on a pair of 9-year-old twins who believe their mother, recently returned from facial reconstruction surgery, is actually a stranger.
Well into its fourth decade, New Directors/New Films has been a beacon for emerging directors eager to make their mark on contemporary cinema. The festival has introduced or cemented the status of some of the world’s most celebrated filmmakers, including Chantal Akerman, Pedro Almodóvar, Darren Aronofsky, Ken Burns, Agnieszka Holland, Spike Lee, Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, and Wong Kar Wai. The past few years have featured the work of Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), Shane Carruth (Upstream Color), Gareth Huw Evans (The Raid), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty), Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing), Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell), Dee Rees (Pariah), Justin Simien (Dear White People), and Denis Villeneuve (Incendies), among others.
The New Directors/New Films selection committee is made up of members from both presenting organizations: from The Museum of Modern Art, Jytte Jensen, Rajendra Roy, and Joshua Siegel, and from the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Dennis Lim, Marian Masone, and Gavin Smith. The complete lineup of selections for the 44th New Directors/New Films Festival will be announced in February.
Film Society and MoMA Members may purchase tickets starting at noon on Tuesday, March 3. Tickets will be available for purchase by the General Public on Tuesday, March 10. To become a Member of the Film Society or MoMA please visit filmlinc.com and MoMA.org, respectively.