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Cannes: 11 Potential Breakthrough Actors and Filmmakers to Check Out at This Year’s Festival (Springboard)

Cannes: 11 Potential Breakthrough Actors and Filmmakers to Check Out at This Year's Festival (Springboard)

Indiewire’s Springboard column profiles up-and-comers in the film industry worthy of your attention.

Delphine and Muriel Coulin, directors, “The Stopover” 

The filmmaking sisters are making their return to Cannes five years after their feature debut, “17 Girls,” made its premiere during the always-exciting Critics Week. Their first feature followed a group of teenage girls who make a pregnancy pact in hopes of forming a community of young mothers and kiddos beyond the reach of the rest of society. This time around, the Coulins are again compelled by stories about women living in strict subcultures, and their Un Certain Regard offering “The Stopover” (“Voir du pays”) follows a pair of female soldiers who take a short leave in Cyprus after a tour of Afghanistan. Strong women are also in front of the camera, as the Coulins cast two exciting (and newish) talents as their leads, singer/actress Soko and Greek New Wave regular Ariane Labed. 

Soko, actress, “The Dancer” and “The Stopover” 

Singer and actress Soko is hitting this year’s Cannes in a big way, thanks to two starring roles in two very different features. First up is the Coulin sisters’ thoroughly modern take on life during wartime, “The Stopover,” which will see the budding actress (she’s been working on screen since 2003, but 2016 seems to be her year to really break out) starring as an on-leave soldier who heads to Cyprus after a tour of Afghanistan. Soko will also pop up in another Un Certain Regard title, as the eponymous dancer in Stéphanie Di Giusto’s debut feature “The Dancer.” Set during the turn of the 20th century, the film will see Soko taking on the role of famed dancer Loie Fuller as she navigates a complicated relationship with her protege Isadora Duncan (Lily-Rose Depp). Having two films in Cannes is a major step forward for any performer, but having such different roles to show off range on the international circuit is absolutely huge. 

READ MORE: Indiewire’s Complete 2016 Cannes Film Festival Preview

Sadek, actor, “Tour de France”

Cannes 2016 might end up as an unexpected proving ground for singers making the jump into serious acting. Look no further than French rapper Sadek, making his film debut in Rachid Djaidani’s Directors’ Fortnight offering “Tour de France.” It’s a huge film to make your first; not only is Djaidani becoming a Cannes regular, but the feature casts Sadek, who has been rapping since he was just a teen, against French powerhouse Gerard Depardieu. At least Sadek gets to slip into somewhat familiar skin, playing a Muslim rapper who is oddly tasked with driving his best friend’s slightly nutty father around France for what seems like an increasingly bizarre (and tension-filled) trip. The film reportedly culminates with a big-time concert, all the better for Sadek to show off his skills in a brand new forum, while also staking a claim as an up-and-coming actor.

Michael O’Shea, director, “The Transfiguration”

Filmmaker O’Shea is making his big screen debut in one hell of a forum: Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section. O’Shea has been trying to get his film career off the ground since his time in film school in the ’90s, and while he never quite gave up on his dream, he did get pretty damn close. Earlier this month, he told Indiewire that he had made a pact with himself to give up the ghost if he hadn’t made a film in 10 years, a decision that was further bolstered by his switch from trying to make “the great American indie” and instead exploring the world of genre-based features. His debut, “The Transfiguration,” is a modern vampire tale with a twist, and it should end up being one of the most talked-about features at the festival, if not only for its subject matter, but for the breakout star behind its camera who almost, almost gave it all up.

Adele Haenel, actress, “The Unknown Girl”

The Dardennes Brothers made a big splash two years ago with their “Two Days, One Night,” which boasted a big time international star in Marion Cotillard, the kind of casting move the filmmaking pair rarely make (though it certainly paid off). They’re returning to more untested waters with their “Unknown Girl” star Adele Haenel, who already has two Cesars under her belt (two! and she’s only 27!), but who hasn’t yet been able to get much traction in the states. Coming out strong at Cannes with a Dardennes feature is a well-tested method of breaking out, and Haenel has the talent to back it up.

Pyotr Skvortsov, actor, “The Student”

The young Russian actor toplines Kirill Serebrennikov’s bold (and possibly controversial, given its source material, a play that stirred up a lot of chatter when it debuted a few years back) as Veniamin, the titular student who bucks teen convention and goes all in on something really subversive: Religion. The narrative fallout from Veniamin’s new lifestyle is swift and complex, which should afford the film’s newbie star a big, meaty role and the kind of signature performance that can set him apart from the pack.

Edie Yvonne, actress, “Kitty”

The tiny star of Chloe Sevigny’s filmmaking debut, the Critics’ Week short “Kitty” comes from a performing background, but the Closing Night offering marks her on-screen debut. And what a debut it is, tasking young Yvonne with not one, but two roles: one as growing kiddo Kitty and another as a changed Kitty after she starts becoming, well, an actual kitty. Yvonne brings both grace and playfulness to the part, the rare child actor who seems in control of her work without feeling too trained or overly restrained.

Adriana Ugarte, actress, “Julieta”

A mainstay on Spanish television programs like “La Señora” and “El tiempo entre costuras,” Ugarte arrives at Cannes with the kind of project that most actresses can only dream about: A Pedro Almodovar film that features her talents front and center. Almodovar’s newest, adapted from a trio of stories from Alice Munro, follows the eponymous Julieta over the course of three decades, with Ugarte playing the younger, hipper Julieta to Emma Suárez’s more (literally) grown up version. Almodovar’s love and affection for his actresses is one of his greatest strengths as a filmmaker, so there is little doubt that “Julieta” will give all of his ladies room to shine, especially Ugarte (and what looks to be a pretty stellar ’80s era wardrobe).

READ MORE: 2016 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup, Including New Films From Steven Spielberg, Jodie Foster and Many More

Sasha Lane, actress, “American Honey”

Talk about plucked from obscurity. Texas native Sasha Lane was reportedly working as a waitress at a Tex-Mex chain when she was discovered by talent scouts who eventually landed her a starring role (her first screen credit) in Andrea Arnold’s long-gestating and much-anticipated passion project “American Honey.” Lane has yet to appear on the big screen, and the in-competition premiere of Arnold’s latest will serve as her introduction the the industry. No sweat, right? Arnold’s film promises all kinds of young energy and angst (it follows a group of magazine sellers as they criss-cross the country) and it’s reasonable to assume that much of that emotion will flow right from the newly minted actress.

Nathan Morlando, director, “Mean Dreams”

Morlando’s first feature, “Citizen Gangster,” was a big hit in his native Canada, where it earned him accolades at TIFF and nods from the Genie Awards and the Directors Guild of Canada. Still, bowing his next film – a coming-of-age drama featuring a cast that includes Colm Feore and Bill Paxton – at Cannes is a major step forward and the feature, debuting in the Directors’ Fortnight section, will likely serve to push forward Morlando’s career in a very big way. Morlando’s interest seems to lay in crafting smart, dangerous films with a palpable edge of tension to them, and “Mean Dreams” appears to fit neatly onto his burgeoning resume. Keep an eye out for this one.

Check out a look at “Julieta,” embedded below:

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