AFI FEST 2013 has made an international selection of films for the New Auteurs and Shorts sections at this year’s festival (November 7 through 14). The fest takes place at the TCL Chinese Theatre complex as well as the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
The New Auteurs section highlights first and second-time international feature film directors and the shorts are a diverse program from around the world. Both sections are juried and eligible for Grand Jury Awards. This year’s New Auteurs jury features Peter DeBruge (Variety), Karina Longworth (author and critic), Amy Nicholson (LA Weekly) and Betsy Sharkey (Los Angeles Times). The Shorts jury features Alejandro De Leon (producer), Kitao Sakurai (filmmaker), Jordan Vogt-Roberts (filmmaker) and Heidi Zwicker (shorts programmer).
NEW AUTEURS SELECTIONS (10 titles)
THE FAKE – In this controversial animated drama from South Korea, a rural village in danger of a flood turns to a church that promises salvation. DIR Yeon Sang-ho. SCR Yeon Sang-ho. CAST Yang Ikjune, Oh Jungse, Kwon Haehyo, Park Heevon. South Korea.
HARMONY LESSONS – This captivating Kazakh drama follows an adolescent boy who faces schoolyard bullying – part of a hierarchy of village corruption – who resolves to plot revenge. DIR Emir Baigazin. SCR Emir Baigazin. CAST Timur Aidarbekov, Aslan Anarbayev, Mukhtar Anadassov, Anelya Adilbekova. Kazakhstan, Germany, France.
￼￼￼￼IN BLOOM – A powerful story about two 14-year-old girls who challenge patriarchal expectations in 1992 Tbilisi, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. DIR Nana Ekvtimishvili & Simon Gross. SCR Nana Ekvtimishvili. CAST Lika Babluani, Mariam Bokeria, Zurab Gogaladze. Georgia, Germany, France.
MY DOG KILLER – This simmering drama follows a lonely young adult living in rural Slovakia, where bubbling ethnic tensions and inner turmoil lead to dark consequences. DIR Mira Fornay. SCR Mira Fornay. CAST Adam Mihal, Marian Kuruc, Irena Bendova, Libor Filo. Slovakia, Czech Republic.
NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN – A new member of a fundamentalist Christian group moves in with a family, but soon descends into a vortex of dogmatism, heresy and violence. DIR Katrin Gebbe. SCR Katrin Gebbe. CAST Julius Feldmeier, Sascha Gersak, Swantje Kohlhof, Annika Kuhl. Germany.
THE OWNERS – A comic look at class struggle, this Argentine tale of estate workers and their employers makes full use of its ensemble cast to explore the difficulty of sustaining a lie. DIR Agustín Toscano & Ezequiel Radusky. SCR Agustín Toscano & Ezequiel Radusky. CAST Rosario Blefari, Germán De Silva, Sergio Prina, Cynthia Avellaneda. Argentina.
THE SELFISH GIANT – In this memorable example of British realism, feisty menace Arbor and his friend Swifty are expelled from school and turn to illegal means of making money. DIR Clio Barnard. SCR Clio Barnard. CAST Connor Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder, Rebecca Manley. United Kingdom.
A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS – Filmmakers Ben Russell and Ben Rivers team up for the first time to create this experimental triptych of stories revolving around a silent protagonist. DIR Ben Rivers & Ben Russell. SCR Ben Rivers & Ben Russell. CAST Robert A.A Lowe, Taraka Larson, Nimai Larson, Nick Turvey. France, Estoria.
THE STRANGE LITTLE CAT – A whimsical exploration of the tensions and pleasures of everyday life is made in a cramped Berlin apartment overflowing with adults, children and pets. DIR Ramon Zürcher. SCR Ramon Zürcher. Jenny Schily, Anjorka Strechel, Mia Kasalo, Luk Pfaff. Germany.
WE ARE MARI PEPA – This comic love letter to the loss of innocence follows a Guadalajara teenager with fun summer expectations who must come to terms with growing responsibilities. DIR Samuel Isamu Kishi Leopo. SCR Samuel Isamu Kishi Leopo & Sofía Gómez Córdova. CAST Alejandro Gallardo, Arnold Ramírez, Jaime Miranda, Moisés Galindo. Mexico.
SHORTS SELECTIONS (36 titles)
BALCONY – An entire village reacts to a boy dangling from a balcony in this one-shot tour de force. DIR Lendita Zeqiraj. SCR Lendita Zeqiraj. CAST Arben Bajraktaraj, Sevdai Radogoshi, Osman Ahmeti, Edona Reshitaj. Kosovo.
BUTTER LAMP – This travelogue of culture and context told through the eyes of two Tibetan photographers and their clients is an inventive and heartfelt exploration of the relationship among reality, dreams and memory. DIR Hu Wei. SCR Genden Punstock & Hu Wei. CAST Genden Punstock. France.
CARLOTA – He will be in love with her very soon. He is sure of this. DIR Nacho Vigalondo. Spain. CATHERINE – Catherine is ready to come back to work. DIR Dean Fleischer-Camp. SCR Dean Fleischer-
Camp & Jenny Slate. CAST Jenny Slate, Brandi Austin. USA.
DATAMOSH – Yung Jake raps about tweet culture, data-moshing, hashtags and memes as he merges with Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram. He’s not on PhotoBooth. DIR Yung Jake. USA.
THE DATE – Tino’s manhood is put to the test when he hosts a date for the family’s stud cat. DIR Jenni Toivoniemi. SCR Jenni Toivoniemi. CAST Oskari Joutsen, Anna Paavilainen, Päivi Mäkinen. Finland.
DECLARATION OF WAR – A mesmerizing montage of audiences reacting to George W. Bush’s announcement of Operation Enduring Freedom told entirely through footage captured during the speech. DIR Dustin Guy Defa. USA.
DEMOCRACY – Please gather in the conference room. The boss has a life-changing announcement guaranteed to boost morale. DIR Borja Cobeaga. SCR Alberto Gonzalez Vazquez. CAST Oscar Ladoire, Luis Bermejo, Alejandro Tejeria, Raquel Guerrero. Spain.
THE EVENT – Love and a severed foot, at the end of the world. DIR Julia Pott. SCR Tom Chivers. CAST Alex Britton, Laura Free. USA, United Kingdom.
FAMILY IN THE PARK – On a Sunday afternoon in the park, happiness exists but it comes at a price. DIR Pedro “Zulu” González. SCR Pedro “Zulu” González. Mexico.
I KILL – A gruesome, honest portrait of the man who kills your food. DIR David White & Paul Wedel. CAST Beatie Tarrant. New Zealand.
K.I.T. – A guilt-ridden yuppie goes to great lengths to prove she is a decent human being. DIR Michelle Morgan. SCR Michelle Morgan. CAST John Beach, Stephanie Allyne, Ryan Harrison. USA.
KARAOKE! – On a night out in New York City, a young man avoids his problems. DIR Andrew Renzi. SCR Andrew Renzi. CAST Brady Corbet, Clemence Poesy. USA.
MACHSOM – A 19-year-old Israeli soldier stationed at one of the most dangerous checkpoints along the West Bank must contend with pressures on all sides in the face of a high-stakes incident. DIR Joel Novoa. SCR Joel Novoa & Frederic Richter. USA.
MAGNESIUM – A talented young gymnast makes a life-changing discovery as she prepares for an important tournament, and her last chance to reach the top. DIR Sam de Jong. SCR Shady El-Hamus. CAST Denise Tan, Samira Maas, Vanja Rukavina. Netherlands.
MARILYN MYLLER – Marilyn maketh, Marilyn taketh away. It will be epic. It will be tear-jerkingly profound. It will be perfect. DIR Michael Please. SCR Michael Please. USA, United Kingdom.
THE MASQUE – The Masque was L.A.’s first punk rock club. This is all that’s left. DIR Mike Plante. CAST Rudy Garcia. USA.
MISTERIO: They say that if you put your ear to the back of his neck you can hear the Virgin talk. DIR Chema García Ibarra. SCR Chema García Ibarra. CAST Jose Manuel Ibarra. Spain.
MOVIES MADE FROM HOME #15 – Robert has big plans. He’s going to live as long as he can. DIR Robert Machoian. SCR Robert Machoian. CAST Bruce Graham. USA.
NOAH – Noah’s relationship takes a rapid turn for the worse in this fascinating study of romance in the digital age set entirely on a teenager’s computer screen. DIR Patrick Cederberg & Walter Woodman. SCR Patrick Cederberg & Walter Woodman. CAST Sam Kantor, Caitlin McConkey-Pirie, Nina Iordanova. Canada.
ON SUFFOCATION – This dialogue-free film about an execution describes what happens when the system becomes more important than human life. DIR Jenifer Malmqvist. SCR Jenifer Malmqvist. CAST Ali Dawoud, Poyan Karimi, Peshang Rad, Zana Penjweni. Sweden.
PLACES WHERE WE LIVED – His parents are selling his childhood home. What a terrible, terrible feeling. DIR Bernardo Britto. SCR Bernardo Britto. USA.
#POSTMODEM – A pop musical that predicts technological singularity in the form of a series of cinematic tweets. DIR Jillian Mayer & Lucas Leyva. SCR Jillian Mayer & Lucas Leyva. CAST Jillian Mayer, Kayla DeLacerda. USA.
THE RANCHER – A series of terrible dreams unhinge a man in power. DIR Kelly Sears. USA.
THE ROPER – A black man – and young calf roper – works through the all-white rodeo circuits in the Deep South as he dreams of competing in the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. DIR Ewan McNicol & Anna Sandilands. USA.
RPGOKC – In a world on the brink of war, two video game characters find love on a dating website. DIR Emily Carmichael. USA.
THE RUNAWAY – A social worker at a detention center for juvenile offenders must bring one of the girls to court for sentencing. It’s going to be a hard day. DIR Jean-Bernard Marlin. SCR Jean-Bernard Marlin. CAST Adel Bencherif, Médina Yalaoui. France.
SAFE: A college student works at the illegal exchange booth attached to the pachinko. She’s fed up with people addicted to gambling, but the more she tries to escape, the deeper she’s stuck. DIR Byounggon Moon. SCR O Kwang Gwon. CAST Min Ji Lee, Tae Young Kang. South Korea.
SHADOW OF A CLOUD: On a sweltering summer day in Bucharest, a priest is called to a dying woman’s side to say a final prayer. DIR Radu Jude. SCR Florin Lazarescu. CAST Alexandru Dabija, Serban Pavlu. Romania.
SKIN: A young taxidermist and loner resorts to drastic measures when an entrancing girl finds his work beautiful. DIR Jordana Spiro. CAST Albert Flood, Sara Clark, Vickie Peterman, Patrick Graham. USA.
SOCIAL BUTTERFLY: In the south of France, a 30-year-old American woman wanders into a teenage party. Nobody seems to know what she’s doing there. DIR Lauren Wolkstein. SCR Lauren Wolkstein. CAST Anna Margaret Hollyman, Camille Claris, Ulysse Grosjean. France, USA.
SYNDROMEDA: No one believes that Leif was abducted by aliens. But then why did he wake up naked and bloody on the side of the road? Aliens, that’s why. DIR Patrik Eklund. SCR Patrik Eklund. CAST Jacob Nordenson, Svante Grundberg, Anki Larsson. Sweden.
THIS MUST BE THE ONLY FANTASY – A magical and lyrical ode to fantasy role-playing games from fashion house Rodarte and their collaborators. DIR Todd Cole and Rodarte. SCR Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski. CAST Sidney Williams with Guinevere Van Seenus and Elijah Wood. USA.
TOKYO GIANTS – Using footage captured by hidden cameras on the streets of Tokyo, the always subversive Nicolas Provost constructs a narrative set to the conventions of Hollywood mysteries in the thrilling conclusion to his PLOT POINT trilogy. DIR Nicolas Provost. SCR Nicolas Provost. CAST Johan Rooms, Miet Warlop. Japan, Belgium.
WHALE VALLEY – Two young brothers living in a remote Icelandic fjord come to terms with the hard truths that make kids grow up before they’re ready. DIR Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. SCR Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. CAST Ágúst Örn B. Wigum og Einar Jóhann Valsson. Denmark, Iceland.
WILD HORSES – They captured her heart. She captured their story. DIR Stephanie Martin. SCR Stephanie Martin & Jessica Walsh. CAST Mireille Enos, Brooke Shields, Barbara Tarbuck and Tuff. USA.