Sundance award-winners, SXSW crowd-pleasers and a slew of world premieres mix with features from rising local film-makers in this year’s KVIFF competition line-up. We look at three strands.

In competition

Bedouin (Rus)

Dir: Igor Voloshin

Bedouin is the third film from Russian director Voloshin to screen at Karlovy Vary following his documentary short Bitch in 2002, Hare Hunting in East of the West in 2003 and I Am in the Forum of Independents in 2010. Bedouin tells the story of a young Ukrainian widow who becomes a surrogate mother for a gay couple to earn money towards her daughter’s medical bills. Produced by Bulldozerfilms, the cast includes Olga Simonova, Mikhail Yevlanov and Serafima Migay.

Contact: Igor Voloshin -

Gypsy (Slovakia-Czech Rep) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Martin Sulik

Czech film-maker Sulik has been in competition at Karlovy Vary twice already withCity Of The Sunin 2005 and The Garden in 1995.Gypsy (Cigan) is about a Roma boy who tries to look after his siblings after their father dies. Hoping to improve conditions for his family, he finds himself in a conflict with racial, social and cultural prejudice.

Contact: Rudolf Biermann, In Film Praha -

Collaborator (US-Can) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Martin Donovan

This directorial debut from US actor-turned-director Martin Donovan is a black comedy about a struggling playwright who is taken hostage by a neighbour. Hal Hartley-regular Donovan also stars in the film with David Morse and Olivia Williams.

Sales: Entertainment One Films International -

Don’t Be Afraid (Sp)

Dir: Montxo Armendariz

Spanish film-maker Armendariz, whose Secrets Of The Heart was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar in 1998, returns after a six-year hiatus following 2005’s Obaba, with a harrowing film about child abuse. Six-year-old Silvia’s carefree childhood ends when she is left at the mercy of her father.

Sales: Peter Danner, Funny Balloons -

Heritage (Pol) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Andrzej Baranski

Baranski’s 31st film is a family drama about a young man expelled from law school, while his mother struggles to pay off the debts of her alcoholic husband. Baranski’s Several People, Little Timescreened in Karlovy Vary’s main competition in 2006, with Andrzej Hudziak winning the best actor award.

Sales: TVP -

Cracks in the shell (Ger) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Christian Schwochow

Schwochow’s drama is about a renowned film director who casts an introverted, novice actress in the main role of a student production of Camille. Schwochow’s feature debut, Novemberkind, won the DEFA Foundation Promotional Award at Filmfest Cottbus in 2008.

Contact: Jochen Laube, Teamworx -

The Jewel (It-Fr) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Andrea Molaioli

This second film from Italian director Molaioli is a drama about corporate greed with echoes of Italy’s Parmalat fraud scandal. It stars Toni Servillo, who also starred in Molaioli’s The Girl By The Lake which won him the best actor award at Venice in 2007. That film also went on to screen at Karlovy Vary.

Contact: Rossella Rinaldi, Cinecitta Luce -

Lollipop Monster (Ger)

Dir: Ziska Riemann

Riemann’s directorial debut is an ode to female friendship based on Riemann’s comic-strip illustrations. Lollipop Monster first screened in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino programme at this year’s Berlinale.

Contact: Kim Liebeck, German Films -

Not For Sale Not For Rent (Fr)

Dir: Pascal Rabaté

Rabaté adapted the screenplay from his own comic book, as he did with his first film, Les Petits Ruisseaux (2010). The new film is a comedy without dialogue in which various characters try to enjoy their weekend in the country. Jacques Gamblin, Maria de Medeiros and Francois Damiens star.

Contact: Xavier Delmas, producer -

Restoration (Isr)

Dir: Joseph Madmony

Restoration won plaudits at Sundance for its low-key exploration of contemporary Israeli society and fractured family relationships. Madmony’s 2006 film Melanoma Ahuvati screened at the Montreal World Film Festival. This is the director’s first time in competition at Karlovy Vary.

Contact: Chaim Sharir, Yezira Ivrit -

Romeo 11 (Can) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Ivan Grbovic

This directorial debut from Grbovic is a drama about a young man coming to terms with his physical disability and his uneasy position in a family of Arab Christians living in Canada.

Contact: Brigitte Hubmann, Telefilm Canada -

Room 304 (Den-Cro) (WORLD PREMIERE) [pictured]

Dir: Birgitte Staermose

This multi-layered drama takes place over the course of three days in a Copenhagen hotel and revolves around a mysterious gunshot. Danish director Staermose received a special mention at the 2010 Berlinale for her documentary short Onskeborn, which screened in Generation 14plus. Her 2003 short Small Avalanches won the Prix UIP Edinburgh and was nominated for a European Film Award.

Contact: Birgitte Staermose -

East of the West: films in competition

Belvedere (Bos & Herz)

Dir: Ahmed Imamovic

A drama about the lives of three survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Imamovic worked with Michael Winterbottom on Welcome To Sarajevo. His 2005 feature debut, Go West, was a tragi-comic depiction of the impact of the Balkan conflict.

Contact: Comprex -

Generation P (Rus-US)

Dir: Victor Ginzburg

Ginzburg studied film-making at New York’s School of Visual Art and has shot music promos for Belinda Carlisle and Lou Reed. Pitched last year at Warsaw’s CentEast Market, his feature debut Generation P is about a Russian entrepreneur and is based on the novel by Victor Pelevin.

Contact: Victor Ginzburg, director -

George The Hedgehog (Pol)

Dirs: Wojtek Wawszczyk, Jakub Tarkowski, Tomek Lesniak

This animated feature premiered at SXSW and is about a hedgehog and the scientist who wants to clone him. Wawszczyk’s animated shorts Headless, Mouse and Penguin have won awards worldwide. Lesniak created the original comic with Rafal Skarzycki.

Contact: Jan Naszewski, New Europe Film Sales -

Heart’s Boomerang (Rus)

Dir: Nikolay Khomeriki

Shot on location on the Moscow underground, Khomeriki’s Heart’s Boomerang is about a subway worker who faces his own mortality. The director’s short film Two Of Us screened at Karlovy Vary in 2007.

Contact: Alla Efremova, Valday Films -

Marija’s Own (Cro)

Dir: Zeljka Sukova

This largely improvised film by debut director Sukova is about three women who organise a party in honour of their deceased grandmother.

Contact: Ivana Ivisic, Croatian Audiovisual Centre -

Mother’s Paradise (Kaz) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Aktan Arym Kubat

The film’s screenplay, about a single mother struggling to raise her children, was written by renowned Iranian film-maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Kubat’s film The Adopted Son screened in East of the West in 1999.

Contact: Dariya Azimova -

Nothing Against Nothing (CzechRep) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Petr Marek

A Dogme-style drama about a young couple, seeking to adopt a child, who insinuate themselves into a group of adults who were adopted as children.

Contact: Premysl Martinek, Artcam Film Distribution -

Punk’s Not Dead (Mac-Serb)

Dir: Vladimir Blazevski

Pitched as a project at Thessaloniki’s Agora/Market last year, Blazevski’s directorial debut is about a fading rock star trying to reunite his former band-mates, separated by 17 years and the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Contact: Darko Popov, Punk Film -

Salt White (Geor) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Ketevan Machavariani

Machavariani’s directorial debut is about three people on Georgia’s Black Sea coast — a dreaming, middle-aged waitress, a police officer and war veteran, and a troubled young homeless woman — who are all trying to change their lives.

Contact: Tamara Tatishvili, Georgian National Film Centre - t.tatishvili@gnfc.g

Sneakers (Bul)

Dirs: Ivan Vladimirov, Valery Yordanov

The lives of six young people intersect during a summer spent on the Black Sea coast. Yordanov appeared in Ivan Tscherkelov’s Crayfish, which screened in East of the West in 2009. Sneakers is the directorial debut of the two film-makers.

Contact: Galina Toneva, Gala Film -

There Was Never A Better Brother (Azer-Rus-Bul) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Murad Ibragimbekov

Based on the novel of the same name by the director’s father, There Was Never A Better Brother follows two siblings who fall for the same girl. The film stars Sergey Puskepalis, whose credits include How I Ended This Summer. Ibragimbekov’s documentary short, Oil, won a Silver Lion at Venice in 2003.

Contact: Murad Imragimbekov, director -

Visible World (Slov) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Peter Kristufek

Renowned Czech actor Ivan Trojan stars in this drama about an outsider whose admiration of his neighbours turns to envy and a desire to appropriate their contented life for himself, even if it means breaking the law. Kristufek’s documentary Snapshots screened at Karlovy Vary in the Musical Odyssey sidebar in 2009. Visible World is his feature debut.

Contact: Milan Stranava, JMB Film & TV Production -

Forum of Independents: Independent Camera Award competition

He (Neth-Serb)

Dir: Sasha Matijevic

Matijevic worked for 10 years as a cameraman and a reporter for Dutch television. This is his feature debut and is about a troubled journalist who finds an unlikely spiritual guide in a homeless man.

Contact: Sasha Matijevic, Studio MS Visuals -

I Think It’s Raining (US) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Joshua Moore

A self-destructive young woman returns to her native San Francisco after fleeing for reasons still unknown. Writer-director Moore created the film in collaboration with the lead actress, musician Alexandra Clayton.

Contact: Brooke Dooley, producer -

Mad Bastards (Aus)

Dir: Brendan Fletcher

A man’s quest to find the son he has never met takes him on a journey across north-west Australia. On the road, he questions his life of violence and discovers a new path. Screened at Sundance, Mad Bastards is Fletcher’s first feature. Producer David Jowsey also made this year’s Un Certain Regard title Toomelah.

Sales: Natalie Kampelmacher, Entertainment One Films -

Man Without A Cell Phone (Fr-Pal-Isr-Bel-Qat)

Dir: Sameh Zoabi

Zoabi’s feature debut is a coming-of-age story about the generational clash between educated young people growing up as Palestinians in Israel and the seemingly traditional world of their parents. It screened as a work in progress at Locarno’s Open Doors market in 2007. Zoabi’s short, Be Quiet, won a prize at Cannes’ Cinéfondation in 2005.

Sales: Memento Films -

Maybe Tomorrow (Swe)

Dir: Mariken Halle

Norwegian film school graduate Halle has shot an improvised feature on the streets of Gothenburg using amateur and professional actors. Maybe Tomorrow screened earlier this year at the Gothenburg International Film Festival.

Contact: Gunnar Almer, Swedish Film Institute -

OK, Enough, Goodbye (Leb-UAE)

Dirs: Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia

A coming-of-age story about a 40-year-old Lebanese man who still lives with his elderly mother until she leaves him on his own. The film won the $100,000 prize for best narrative film by a new director from the Arab world at the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival in 2010.

Contact: Isilay Yanbas, publicity manager -


Dir: Gerard Hurley

Hurley has written, produced and stars in The Pier, a low-budget drama about a man who tries to reconnect with his irascible father after 20 years. Lili Taylor and Karl Johnson head the supporting cast. The Pier is Hurley’s second film following The Pride in 2008.

Sales: Stark Sales -

The Soul of Flies (Sp) WORLD PREMIERE

Dir: Jonathan Cenzual Burley

Shot on a low budget with one camera and a crew of seven, this directorial debut is about two brothers who meet for the first time on the way to their father’s funeral.

Contact: El Mailan Films -

Stranger Things (US-UK)

Dirs: Eleanor Burke, Ron Eyal

A rough-cut of Stranger Things was selected for IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Lab in New York in 2009. The first film from co-directors and co-producers Burke and Eyal went on to win the best narrative feature award at the Woodstock Film Festival in 2010 and the grand jury prize at Slamdance earlier this year. Stranger Things is a drama about a woman who returns to her recently deceased mother’s home to sort out her belongings and sell the place. But an encounter with a taciturn homeless man changes everything. Four Lions star Adeel Akhtar heads the cast.

Contact: Ron Eyal, director -

Sunflower Hour (Can) (WORLD PREMIERE)

Dir: Aaron Houston

This mockumentary follows four puppeteers competing for a spot on a children’s television programme. Houston has several short films to his credit, including Rousing Doug (2003),Schlick Schlims (2007) and Two Theories, One Stone (2009). Sunflower Hour is his first feature.

Contact: Brigitte Hubmann, Telefilm Canada -

Wangliang’s Ideal (Chi)

Dir: Xiongjie Gao

This Asian festival favourite is about the young wife of a village butcher who refuses to consummate their marriage for fear of falling pregnant and losing her dream of studying at university. Xiongjie Gao teaches film and television at university in China and Wangliang’s Ideal is his directorial debut. The film previously screened at Busan, Hong Kong and Beijing.

Contact: Beijing Sea — Original Film & TV Culture Co -

Weekend (UK)

Dir: Andrew Haigh

This unconventional gay love story about a man who has a life-changing encounter with a stranger, won the audience prize at SXSW earlier this year and was picked up for US distribution by IFC’s Sundance Selects. Weekend is the second feature from Haigh, who is a former Screen International Star of Tomorrow. The film-maker received his start as an apprentice editor on Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and went on to work as assistant editor on titles including Black Hawk Down, Mona Lisa Smile and Hannibal Rising. His first film, Greek Pete, won a special jury award at the Atlanta Film Festival and an award for artistic achievement at LA Outfest in 2009.

Sales: The Bureau -