The 13 films competing for a $55,000 prize include Scott Graham’s Iona and Hans Christian Berger’s After Eden.


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The San Sebastian Film Festival (Sept 18-26) has revealed the 13 films competing for the Kutxabank-New Directors Award, which includes a prize of $55,000 (€50,000).

The New Directors section, comprising first or second works by international filmmakers, includes Iona, Scott Graham’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Shell, which world premiered at San Sebastian in 2012.

Iona stars Ruth Negga as the title character who takes her teenage son to the island where she was born so they can hide from a violent crime.

New Directors line-up

Synopses provided by the festival

After Eden
Hans Christian Berger (Canada)

A tale of love and temptation in the age of Internet pornography. A reclusive university student tracks down his favourite porn star in the real world and becomes her anonymous follower - until he finds the courage to connect in person.

Michal Vinik (Israel)

17 year old Naama Barash enjoys alcohol, drugs and hanging out with like-minded friends. Her activities are an escape from a home where her parents always fight, and a rebellious, army-enrolled sister, who, one day, disappears. As a new girl shows up at school, Barash falls deep in love for the first time, and the intensity of the experience at once confuses her and gives her life new meaning.

One Of Us (Einer Von Uns)
Stephan Richter (Austria)

Julian, a 14-year old teenager, dies surrounded by the colorful products of a huge supermarket. The film is based on a true story and shows the rebellion of the local youth against the bleak life of suburbia.

Granny’s Dancing On The Table
Hanna Sköld (Sweden - Denmark)

Eini grows up isolated from society with her father, a man afraid of the world. His biggest fear is to be left alone and to be left by Eini. He does everything he can to make her believe that the world outside and the people out there are evil, and that all that has to do with sexuality and adulthood is dangerous.

Scott Graham (UK - Germany)

Three years afeter competing at the New Directors Section with Shell, Scotish director Scott Graham comes back to the San Sebastian Festival with this drama. Iona and her teenage son Bull seek refuge from a violent crime on the island where she was born. Iona’s return exposes Bull to a way of life she rejected as a teenager and sends a shock wave through the family she left behind.

Thirst (Jajda)
Tsotsorkova Svetla (Bulgaria)

A couple and their teenage son eke out a living on a hilltop, doing the laundry for local hotels, despite the intermittent water supply. Their simple life is overturned by the arrival of a father-and-daughter team of diviner and well-digger.

The New Kid (Le Nouveau)
Rudi Rosenberg (France)

Benoit, 14 years old, leaves the country-side for Paris. His first day at school turns out to be more difficult than expected, and he quickly becomes isolated. Until one day a new girl arrives in class…

Valéry Rosier (Belgium)

Holiday time, a Mediterranean island. Three wanderings at summer’s end. The determination, no matter the cost, to make things change. Nostalgia for a past that never existed.

Eugenio Canevari (Argentina - Spain)

Young Paula lives and works at the pile of a middle-class family caring for their children. Her life takes an unexpected turn on discovering that she’s pregnant by a young man who refuses to accept his fatherhood. Directorial debut by Eugenio Canevari, who participated in the International Film Students Meeting at San Sebastian in 2013 with his short film, Gorila baila.

Ben Sharrock (Spain - UK)

A penniless, young couple have trouble consummating their fledgling relationship in their parents’ homes, forcing their relationship into question as they try to break free from the shackles of a crumbling economy. Barbara Goenaga and Joseba Usabiaga star in this romantic comedy.

Family Film (Rodinny Film)
Olmo Omerzu (Czech Rep. - Germany - Slovenia - France - Slovakia)

Husband and wife set sail across the ocean, leaving their two children to explore the freedom of being home alone. The boat goes under, and so does the family. A dog, stuck on a desert island, is their only hope.

Stay With Me
Jinwoo Rhee (South Korea)

Scholar Leeseop is new in class, where troublemaker Hayun is in. The two become friends, influencing and changing each other’s lives little by little. A drama that thoughtfully explores teenage life.

Sex Life Of Plants (Vida Sexual De Las Plantas)
Sebastián Brahm (Chile)

After an accident turns the love of Barbara’s life into a dimwit stranger, she gets involved with a man who can offer her stability, minus the passion. She tries to adapt to her new fate, but the memory of lost love continues to hound her. Until she realises that what really matters isn’t lost.