New Directors Award – Kosmorama’s competition program 2020

New Directors Award is Kosmorama’s competition program dedicated to the filmmakers of the future. The filmmakers in this program are new voices in the global film world that we believe will be important in the years to come. In addition to the high quality of the films in this program, the directors distinguish themselves as extraordinary storytellers and/or cinematographers.

The criteria for the nominees for the New Directors Award is that they have not made more than three feature films. Kosmorama’s program department has nominated the nine competing films. These make up our New Directors Program Series. A professional jury appoints the winner of the New Directors Award.

The nominated films for 2020 are: A Son, Alice, Beanpole, Buoyancy, Honey Boy, Uncle, The Farewell, The House of Us and You Deserve a Lover.

The members of this year’s NDA jury are the former head of film at Kosmorama Ola Lund Renolen, artistic director at the Dutch Noordeljiik Film Festival Fredau Buwalda and producer Marina Guinness from Ireland.

The Audience Award (Publikumsprisen)

In addition to the jury award, the audience will have the chance to vote for their favourites in this category. Voting slips will be available at the info desk, the shelves in the foyer and in the kiosk at the Prinsen Cinema Center.

The winner of the New Directors Award and the Audience Award will be announced on the last day of the festival, Sunday the 8th of March.

These are the NDA Films 2020

A Son

Director: Mehdi M. Barsaoui

A small family is attacked by armed forces on a journey through southern Tunisia. Their car is hit by a bullet, and the 10-year-old son is severely injured. At the hospital, it becomes evident that he won’t survive without the immediate help of a donor. His parents are forced to make a fateful decision for the family’s future. The film portrays both the universally tragic aspects of the situation and the specific Tunisian context where, according to the law, the father always has the final say.

Find tickets and view the screening schedule here.

Alice

Director: Josephine Mackerras

Alice’s life is turned upside-down when she finds out that her husband hasn’t been paying their mortgage the last year; instead, he’s used all their money on prostitutes. When the bank threatens them with eviction, Alice decides to sell sex to make money for herself and her son. She soon discovers that the seemingly desperate solution, in fact, can be empowering. Actress Emilie Piponnier alternates effortlessly between a wide range of emotions and gives an emphatic and honest interpretation of a mother who takes unorthodox choices.

Find tickets and view the screening schedule here.

Beanpole

Director: Kantemir Balagov

Set in Leningrad in 1945, Beanpole demonstrates how damaging a war may be, especially for the human psyche. Two young women search for meaning in their existence while trying to recreate their lives among the ruins. This was Russia’s submission for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, and not without reason. The film contains incidents that are so unsettling that you’re longing to look away but are presented in such stunning cinematography that you simply can’t. This visual masterpiece is bound to leave an impression – long after you’ve left the cinema.

Find tickets and view the screening schedule here.

Buoyancy

Director: Rodd Rathjen

A Cambodian boy leaves his family to make a living, but ends up as a victim of human trafficking when he is enslaved on a Thai fishing trawler. Many people face this reality – it’s estimated that about 200 000 boys and men are slaves on trawlers in Southeast Asia. The Australian director Rodd Rathjen has based Buoyancy on extensive interviews with survivors from the boats, humanitarian aid organizations, and Cambodians. Isolated at sea, the trawler is transformed into a battlefield, and the film’s atmosphere escalates into a brutal demonstration of human survival instinct. With its sparse dialogue, the film leaves room for stunning performances from the non-professional actors. The main character Chakra, played by the young Sam Heng, has a presence and an expression so poignant, that it’s impossible not to sympathize with him even when the hopeless situation drives him to the extremes.

Find tickets and view the screening schedule here.

Honey Boy

Director: Alma Har’el

Actor Shia LaBoeuf wrote the script for Honey Boy as a form of therapy while at rehab, basing the film on his own childhood. LaBoeuf gives one of the best performances of the year in the role as a fictionalised version of his own father, his interpretation being honest and harrowing. The same can be said of young Noah Jupe, who plays Otis. He changes, seemingly effortlessly, between vulnerability and sorrow due to his father’s lack of consideration, and frustration about his living circumstances. 

Otis, a child star, lives with his unstable and criminal father, who came forward as his guardian when the boy made his Hollywood breakthrough. Their complicated relationship is bound to make an impact on Otis’ youth until he’s finally forced to confront the traumas of his childhood. 

Find tickets and view the screening schedule here.

Uncle

Director: Frelle Petersen

27-year-old Kris lives together with her old and disabled uncle on a farm in Southern Jutland. As well as caring for her uncle after he’s had a stroke, she also has to look after the farm. Kris saves a calf during labour, and her passion for the veterinary profession is reawakened. She develops a friendship with the local vet, and gradually she discovers a world outside of the farm.

Uncle offers a quiet and poetical outlook on everyday life. It demands your attention but rewards your patience by uncovering larger truths about human nature. The film was nominated for several Robert Awards, including the categories Best Danish Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Director.

Find tickets and view the screening schedule here.

The Farewell 

Director: Lulu Wang

With a keen eye for human relations and dialogue, director Lulu Wang tells a touching story about family and cultural differences in her debut film The Farewell.

Chinese-American Billi (Awkwafina) and the rest of her family travels to China to attend a cousin’s wedding. However, the real reason for the family gathering is to bid farewell to the grandmother, who’s suffering from lung cancer. However, following traditional Chinese customs, the diagnosis is kept away from the grandmother. Billi, who’s grown up in the States, has problems complying with the family’s decision to keep it a secret. The Farewell offers a unique perspective on being caught in the middle of Eastern and Western culture.

Find tickets and view the screening schedule here.

The House of Us

Director: Yoon Ga-eun

It’s the summer holidays, and 11-year-old Hana leaves no stone unturned to get her fighting parents to reunite, but without any luck. One day, she runs into two younger sisters living alone, and a friendship is formed. Hana soon takes on the role as «older-sister-almost-mother». Finally, she can cook and recreate the family dinner table she so dearly misses, and the surrogate family become her happy escape. The House of Us portrays how childhood, despite tragic circumstances, can appear almost magical from a child’s perspective.

Find tickets and view the screening schedule here.

You Deserve a Lover

Regissør: Hafsia Herzi

Lila is struggling after the break-up with her unfaithful boyfriend, trying to get closure through a series of one-night stands. Her emotional life is depicted in a nuanced and authentic manner, and the result is a character portrayal with an understanding of the female perspective rarely seen on screen.

Hafsia Herzi, known, among other things, for acting in several of Abdellatif Kechiche’s films, makes her debut as a director with You Deserve a Lover. She also plays the lead and instructs herself in a masterly fashion in the role of a young woman searching for love.

Find tickets and view the screening schedule  here.

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