Venice’s “virtual festival” will feature 15 world premieres this year.

Venice Film Festival 2015 poster


The fourth edition of Sala Web, the “virtual festival” at the Venice Film Festival (September 2-12), has revealed it’s line-up for 2015.

This year’s selection of films includes 15 world premieres: 12 from the Orizzonti Competition and three features from the Biennale College, Venice’s laboratory that supports micro-budget films.

Directors having their films featured include Merzak Allouache (The Rooftops), Jake Mahaffy (Wellness) and Gabriel Mascaro (August Winds), as well as numerous first-time filmmakers.

The selected films will again be streaming on VOD platform Festival Scope and will be available for five days after the films have premiere screenings at the festival.

Full list:

Synopses provided by Venice Film Festival


Neon Bull (Boi Neon) dir. Gabriel Mascaro
Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands; 101’ Portuguese
(Available from September 3)

Iremar works at the Vaquejadas, a rodeo in the Northeast of Brazil, where two men on horseback try to bring down a bull by grabbing its tail. It’s dusty and back-breaking work, but Iremar is a natural ‘Vaqueiro’ feeding, prepping and taking care of the bulls. Home is the truck used to transport the animals from show to show which he shares with his co-workers: Galega, an exotic dancer, truck driver and mother to her spirited and cheeky daughter Cacá, and Zé, his rotund compadre in the bull pen. Together they form a makeshift but close-knit family. But Brazil and the Northeast are changing and the region’s booming clothing industry has stirred new ambitions in Iremar. Swinging in his hammock in the back of the truck, his head is filled with dreams of pattern cutting, sequins and exquisite fabrics as he mentally assembles his latest sexy fashion designs.

Italian Gangsters dir. Renato De Maria
Italy; 87’, Italian
(Available from September 3)

An original, spectacular journey through the most sensational exploits of the local underworld. Thirty years of violent stories sanctioned by news and films. A gallery of faces, testimonies and period footage. A many-voiced portrayal following the trail of the main exponents of Italian crime that becomes a tumultuous tale of the social transformations running throughout the history of our country.

Tharlo, dir. Pema Tseden
China; 120’, Chinese
(Available from September 5)

Tharlo is based on a short story written by the director himself. Filmed in the Tibetan region of Qinghai, the film centres on a young shepherd, a simple man whose greatest ambition is “to serve the people”. But his arrival in the city and his encounter with a girl will soon shatter all his illusions. Tibetan actor, poet and musician Shidé Nyima has been cast in the leading role as Tharlo.

Pecore In Erba, dir. Alberto Caviglia
Italy; 86’, Italian, German, English, Chinese
(Available from September 6)

July 2006. Leonardo Zuliani has vanished. The news from Trastevere in Rome turns into a real national emergency, while a huge throng of followers gathers around the young activist’s house. His mother is beside herself with grief and the entire neighbourhood is paralysed. He’s on every TV channel and the authorities all express their solidarity with the family. Many can’t believe it’s true; they prefer to think it’s just one of his stunts. A genius in conveying his ideas, successful cartoonist, visionary fashion designer, cult author, human rights activist: but who is Leonardo deep down? With the help of leading experts and celebrities, the film traces his life, at last casting light on a key figure of our times.

Wednesday, May 9, dir. Vahid Jalilvand
Iran; 102’, Farsi
(Available from September 7)

A man named Jalal publishes an unusual advertisement in one of Tehran’s morning papers to donate $10,000 to a needy person. The news gathers a large group of people. At the end of the day, he receives many application forms, and he eventually decides to choose one by chance. Those who have applied insist that what’s been advertised is the only solution to their problem. The police take charge of the situation by calming the people and having them dispersed. However, two women do not give up: Setareh, a 19-year-old pregnant woman, and Leila, Jalal’s ex-fiancée.

Madame Courage, dir. Merzak Allouache
Algeria, France; 90’, Arabic
(Available from September 7)

Omar, an unstable and lonely teenager, lives in a slum in the suburbs of Mostaganem, Algeria. He is addicted to a famous psychotropic drug, nicknamed “Madame Courage”: Artane tablets, very popular among young Algerians for the euphoric sense of invincibility they inspire. Omar is an expert thief. One morning, he goes downtown to commit his usual crimes. His first prey is a young girl called Selma, walking with her friends, prominently wearing a gold necklace. As he commits his larceny, their eyes meet.

Interruption, dir. Yorgos Zois
Greece, France, Croatia; 109’, Greek
(Available from from September 8)

A post-modern theater adaptation of a classic Greek tragedy takes place in a central theater of Athens. Like every night, the audience take their seats and the play begins. Suddenly, the lights on stage go out. A group of young people, dressed in black and carrying guns, come up on stage. They apologize for the interruption and invite people from the audience to participate on stage. The play resumes with a main difference; life imitates art and not the opposite.

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? (Lama Azavtani), dir. Hadar Morag
Israel, France; 94’, Hebrew, Arabic
(Available from September 8)

Muhammad, a rejected boy from the fringe of society, floats through the streets of a filthy city, exposed and desolated, until he meets Gurevich; a lone rover who rides his motorcycle into the bowels of the city, through the shadows of the back alleys, sharpening the knives of butcher shops and gourmet restaurants. Stubborn and tenacious, the boy forces his way under the man’s wing. Within this hypnotic urban hell, what starts as an unstable and hesitant apprenticeship evolves into a struggle for self-control. 

Mate-me Por Favor, dir. Anita Rocha Da Silveira
Brazil, Argentina; 101’, Portuguese
(Available from September 9)

Barra da Tijuca, West Side Zone of Rio de Janeiro. A wave of murderers plague the area. What starts off as a morbid curiosity for the local youth slowly begins to spoil away at their lives. Among them is Bia, a 15-year-old girl. After an encounter with death, she will do anything to make sure she’s alive. 

Tempête, dir. Samuel Collardey
France; 89’, French
(Availbe from September 9)

Dom, 36 years old, is a sailor on board of the fishing boat Petit Gael II from the port of Les Sables d’Olonne, a small town in western France. He is used to leaving for the open sea for at least three weeks in a row. Despite his absences, his teenage children have decided to live with him since the divorce of the parents. But when his daughter Mailys gets pregnant, Dom understands that he will have to choose between the sea and his family. 

Interrogation (Visaaranai), dir. Vetri Maaran
India; 106’, Tamil, Telugu
(Available from September 10)

A group of immigrants are detained by the local state police, tortured and forced to admit to a crime they have no knowledge of. When all hope seems to be lost, a policeman from their hometown speaks on their behalf at the court hearing, setting them free. The policeman asks for a return favour and the boys oblige, oblivious to the ill fate that awaits them. As they unwittingly bear witness to a political treason, the system seeks to silence them - at any cost. But Pandi is determined to be heard. 

Free In Deed, dir. Jake Mahaffy
USA, New Zealand; 98’, English
(Available from September 11)

Set in the distinctive world of storefront churches, and based on actual events, Free in Deed depicts one man’s attempts to perform a miracle. When a single mother brings her young boy to church for healing, this lonely pentecostal minister is forced to confront the seemingly incurable illness of the child… and his own demons as well. The more he prays, the more things seem to spiral out of his control.


Baby Bump, dir. Kuba Czekaj
Poland; 85’, Polish, English
(Available from September 3)

11-year-old Mickey House is no longer a child. But who is he? He doesn’t know. He’s friendless. He doesn’t understand his mother. He hates what’s happening to his body. Reality and imagination come together in a toxic mix. Events escalate to extremes… at home and at school. Mickey has to find the strength within him to put a stop to what’s begun. Where will his encounter with his own maturing body take him? Growing up… not for kids.

The Fits, dir. Anna Rose Holmer
USA; 71’, English
(Available from September 4)

Toni, a tomboyish boxer, lands a spot on an after-school drill team in the West End community of Cincinnati. She eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills, and even pierces her own ears to fit in. It’s the joy of her first friendships and her discovery of dance. Shortly after Toni joins the team, most of the girls on the team suffer from episodes of fainting, swooning, and shaking in a seemingly uncontrollable catharsis. Nobody can explain the mysterious outbreak. These fits soon transform into a rite of passage as the trauma draws the other girls closer together. Caught between her need for control and her desire for acceptance, Toni must decide how far she will go to embody her new ideals.

Blanka, dir. Kohki Hasei
Japan; 75’, Filipino (Tagalog)
(Available from September 5)

11-years-old Blanka survives alone in Manila begging and stealing from tourists. One day, an absurd idea pops up: if she could buy a mother, she could have a good life. But she has to make countless efforts in order to collect enough money. An opportunity arises when she meets Peter, a 55 years old blind street musician, who teaches Blanka how to sing, a skill out of which she can make money. However, concerned about Blanka’s future, Peter decides to take Blanka to an orphanage. When she finds out, she runs away and the nightmare starts again.