The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center present seven official selections for the 2013 New Directors/New Films Festival (ND/NF) (today, March 20-31). Dedicated to the discovery of new works by emerging and dynamic filmmaking talent, the 2013 edition marks the film festival's 42nd year.
Representing seven countries from around the world, the initial seven selections are Emil Christov's THE COLOR OF THE CHAMELEON (Bulgaria), Tobias Lindholm's A HIJACKING (Kapringen) (Denmark), Rachid Djaidani's HOLD BACK (Rengaine) (France), JP Sniadecki's and Libbie Dina Cohn's PEOPLE'S PARK (USA/China), Sarah Polley's STORIES WE TELL (Canada), Shane Carruth's UPSTREAM COLOR (USA), and Matías Piñeiro's VIOLA (Argentina).
"These first seven titles give a hint at the exciting versatility and accomplishment in storytelling by emerging directors this year. The New Directors class of 2013 promises to have some wonderful surprises in store for our film audiences and cineastes around the world," said Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.
Film Society of Lincoln Center Director of Year Round programming, Robert Koehler added, "Even with the vast majority of films still to be selected, these first selections for ND/NF set the tone for the introduction of a wide range of cinema and cinematic voices - both narrative and documentary - that has been the ambition of New Directors/New Films."
UPSTREAM COLOR, Shane Carruth's highly anticipated follow-up to his 2004 debut, PRIMER is a love story embedded within a kidnap plot and will be screened at the Sundance Film Festival, as will Sarah Polley's STORIES WE TELL, which marks the first documentary effort from the indie film actress turned Academy Award nominated writer/director as she turns the camera on her own family in an effort to explore how we tell our own personal stories.
Emil Christov's black comedy about a twisted secret police informant's plot, THE COLOR OF THE CHAMELEON received a Special Mention at the Thessaloniki Film Festival and nominations for a Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and a Bronze Horse at the Stockholm Film Festival.
Tobias Lindholm makes his solo debut with A HIJACKING (Kapringen), a tense hostage drama about cargo ship piracy. The film won the Golden Alexander at the Thessaloniki Film festival and was nominated for the Tokyo Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Rachid Djaidani's HOLD BACK (Rengaine), an ultra low-budget Romeo and Juliet-type drama set in contemporary multicultural Paris, marks his narrative debut. The film won a FIPRESCI Prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival.
Other films announced include JP Sniadecki's and Libbie Dina Cohn's PEOPLE'S PARK, which takes an immersive look at a Chinese community via a single tracking shot. The film was nominated for a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival, and Matías Piñeiro's VIOLA, in which a group of actresses staging a production of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" get caught up in a web of romantic intrigue and revelation.
For more than four decades, New Directors/New Films has been a beacon for emerging directors eager to make their mark on contemporary cinema. The festival has introduced or cemented the status of some of the world's most celebrated filmmakers, including Chantal Akerman, Pedro Almodóvar, Darren Aronofsky, Ken Burns, Agnieszka Holland, Wong Kar Wai, Spike Lee, Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg.
THE SEVEN OFFICIAL SELECTIONS INCLUDE:
THE COLOR OF THE CHAMELEON (2012) 114min
Director: Emil Christov
Unfolding in the years immediately before and after the fall of communism, this blackly comic, implacably deadpan, all but unclassifiable puzzler delves into the manipulation and intimidation that underwrites the transactions between the secret police and their informants, going down a rabbit hole into a realm of twisted absurdity. The scenario by Vladislav Todorov, adapting his 2010 novel, Zincograph, centers on misfit youth turned engraving plant employee Batko Stamenov (codename: Marzipan), who is recruited by the secret police to infiltrate...a book reading group. Shades of Borges, the book being studied is "a subversive pseudo-philosophical novel" by the name of Zincograph about... an engraver who creates his own secret off-books network of informants. Going rogue after being dropped for his strange ideas, Batko targets another group, the ? so-called Club For New Thinking, invents a fictitious branch of the Ministry of Information known as 'Department Sex' and hatches a scheme that, as Todorov puts it, exposes the "very nature of secret policing under communism." With this, its first film to appear in ND/NF in 35 years, Bulgaria is back!
A HIJACKING (Kapringen) (2012) 99min
Director: Tobias Lindholm
On its way to harbor, the cargo ship MV Rozen is boarded and seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean. Moving between the claustrophobic and intensely fraught day-to-day life of the crew and their captors and the physically removed negotiations by the freight company in Denmark, Lindholm creates a climate of almost unbearable tension with an unexpected climax. As in his previous work (the prison drama 'R' and the television series 'Borgen') Lindholm's narrative is based on a true event and his use of actual locations-the film was shot under exceedingly difficult circumstances in the Indian Ocean-- and people who has been involved in similar situations (the negotiation team include a real-life hostage negotiator), provide the film with palpable authenticity and a lived-in feel. Augmented by a terrific cast, especially the amazing Pilou Asbæk as the ship's cook Mikkel who becomes the pirates primary conduit for communication, Lindholm has created a suspenseful drama whose essential subject matter is the innate danger of an overwhelming disparity between impoverished nations and the developed world. A HIJACKING is a Magnolia Films release.
HOLD BACK (Rengaine) (2012) 75min
Director: Rachid Djaïdani
The French title translates as "refrain," and musical repetition is what this no- budget urban contemporary Romeo and Juliet embodies: in this case of the eternal conflict between true love and tribal loyalties, as real in 21st-century Paris as it was in the age of Shakespeare. The film's two basic conditions are immediately established: Sabrina (Sabrina Hamida) accepts the marriage proposal of struggling actor Dorcy (Stéphane Soo Mongo) and then she and her eldest brother Slimane (Slimane Dazi) count off the names of the 40 "brothers" in her extended family clan. Dorcy is a black Christian and Sabrina is a Muslim Arab: de facto patriarch Slimane will enlist his brothers in an all-out effort to do whatever it takes to track down Dorcy and prevent this "taboo" union. Made on the run in the streets ("I film like a boxer" says director Rachid Djaïdani), this film is part love letter to the irresistible energy and creative street life of Paris, and part call for interracial tolerance.