International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) revealed the first series of titles in its 2018 Bright Future Main Program, the festival’s home for up-and-coming filmmakers with a unique style and vision. The 2018 selection boasts new films by striking talents who have emerged this year. IFFR also announces the first titles eligible for the Bright Future Award, for world and international premieres by first-time filmmakers.
Among these are the world premieres of The Return by Malene Choi Jensen, a story of two Danish-Korean adoptees who visit their country of birth, partly based on the filmmaker’s own experiences; Windspiel by German filmmaker Peyman Ghalambor, about a 13-year-old kid who makes his escape from a children’s home in Brandenburg; and My Friend the Polish Girl by Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek, a cinematic culture clash between an American filmmaker starting out in London and a Polish actress.
From Belgium, IFFR has selected two completely different, but very promising first features: as previously announced Ruben Desiere’s La fleurière/The Flower Shop, as well as the international premiere of Christina Vandekerckhove’s documentary Rabot, the story of a social housing block on the brink of demolition, and winner of the audience award at Film Fest Gent.
The winner of the Bright Future Award is chosen by a jury consisting of three film professionals and receives €10,000 to be spent on the development of a new film project.
Bright Future Main Programme also contains exciting sophomore feature-length films, marking a first venture into fiction. This is the case for the astute Ordinary Time by Susana Nobre, for example, which scrutinises the calm rhythm of daily life of young parents by zooming in on many moments that are, well, completely ordinary. The world premiere of Azougue Nazaré/Azougue Nazareth by Tiago Melo dives deep into the mysterious and colourful sugarcane universe of rural Brazil.
Selections also include celebrated films such as The Nothing Factory by Pedro Pinho, Soldiers. Story from Ferentari by Ivana Mladenovic, Drift by Helena Wittmann and Cocote by Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias.
Bright Future Competition
La fleurière/The Flower Shop
Ruben Desiere, Belgium, Slovakia, international premiere
In the back room of a flower shop, three men are digging a tunnel to break into a bank safe. Heavy rainfall interrupts their work.
Guarda in alto/Look Up
Fulvio Risuleo, Italy, France, international premiere
During a break, a young baker notices the fall of a strange bird. He decides to take a closer look and an unbelievable journey across the rooftops of Rome ensues.
My Friend the Polish Girl
Ewa Banaszkiewicz, Mateusz Dymek, United Kingdom, Poland, world premiere
An American documentarian sets out to make a film about immigrants in post-Brexit-vote London, but ends up intruding on the life of a struggling Polish actress. A raw, sexual, and visually brash cine-essay.
Christina Vandekerckhove, Belgium, international premiere
In a notorious social-housing block in Ghent, both the building and the residents must go. Winner Audience Award 2017 at Film Fest Gent.
Alberto Monteras II, Philippines, international premiere
Amidst the violence and poverty of Manila, Hendrix dreams of becoming a rapper. He will need Doc’s help to find the right words.
Malene Choi Jensen, Denmark, world premiere
A story of two Danish-Korean adoptees visiting their motherland for the first time and confronting their own identity struggles.
Peyman Ghalambor, Germany, world premiere
When making his escape, a thirteen-year-old boy struggling to fit in at a children’s home in the Brandenburg forest meets an old man.
Bright Future Premieres
All You Can Eat Buddha
Ian Lagarde, Canada, European premiere
A man’s mysterious appetite and supernatural powers gradually lead to apocalypse in an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean.
Azougue Nazaré/Azougue Nazareth
Tiago Melo, Brazil, world premiere
In the sugar-cane country of Northeast Brazil, where Evangelicism is on the rise, people begin to disappear and other strange things start to happen as Maracatu carnival season begins.
Inferninho/My Own Private Hell
Guto Parente, Pedro Diógenes, Brazil, world premiere
In a bar called Inferninho, the staff dreams of escape. A handsome sailor with a dream of finding home arrives.
Jin Xingzheng, China, international premiere
This documentary follows 88-year-old Mama, who has sustained the household and selflessly cared for her disabled son for decades. The time has come for her to pass on her mother’s love and wisdom to those next in line.
Susana Nobre, Portugal, France, world premiere
Following two young parents after the birth of their baby, the film scrutinises the calm rhythm of daily life by zooming in on many moments that may not be as ordinary as they appear.
Confirmed for Bright Future
Ilian Metev, Bulgaria, Germany
As a young pianist prepares for an audition abroad, her eccentric younger brother attempts to distract her and her father tries to keep it all together. Winner Cinema of the Present, Locarno.
Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Germany, Qatar – HBF supported in 2012
To mourn his deceased father, an evangelical gardener is forced to participate in celebrations that are contrary to his will and beliefs.
Helena Wittmann, Germany
Two women spend a weekend together at the North Sea before life takes them off in different directions.
Les garçons sauvages/The Wild Boys
Bertrand Mandico, France
On Réunion Island, five young men enamoured with the occult commit a savage crime.
Govinda Van Maele, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany
In this rural thriller, a stranger finds refuge and community in a small village and it quickly becomes clear that he’s not the only one with secrets.
El hombre que cuida/The Watchman
Alejandro Andújar, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Brazil
A broken-hearted man occupies himself with his job as a caretaker for a beachfront house, until a group of special guests arrives.
Life and Nothing More
Antonio Méndez Esparza, USA, Spain
A young African-American man facing the mounting pressure of family responsibility goes in search of his father and ends up at a dangerous crossroads.
Gürcan Keltek, Turkey, Netherlands
Blending documentary filmmaking and political commentary, and connecting the earthly to the cosmos, Meteors is a film about memory and disappearance – of people, places and things.
Valérie Massadian, France
With nothing to lose, Milla and Leo set up a new life for themselves in an abandoned house in a seaside town in Normandy.
The Nothing Factory
Pedro Pinho, Portugal
Under the shadow of the bankruptcy of their lift factory, workers look for ways to regain control of their lives.
Kristof Hoornaert, Belgium
An old hermit (Johan Leysen) takes in a young man after finding him half-naked in the forest. Despite the young man’s refusal to talk, a connection grows between them.
Soldiers. Story from Ferentari
Ivana Mladenovic, Romania, Serbia, Belgium
A contemporary love story between an ex-convict and a shy anthropologist unfolds in the Roma outskirts of Bucharest.
Sweating the Small Stuff
Ninomiya Ryutaro, Japan
As his surrogate mother lies gravely ill, quietly explosive Ryutaro hits an emotional edge.
Kantemir Balagov, Russia
After their engagement celebrations, a young couple is kidnapped in the north of the Russian Caucasus in the late 1990s. Their families must find the money to secure their freedom.