AFI Fest Unveils Two Competition Lineups

AFI FestAFI Fest released more details for its L.A. event. Selections in its Young Americans and New Auteurs sections highlight emerging U.S. first and second time global filmmakers. As previously announced, the World Premiere of Hitchcock will open the festival, while Lincoln will close out the event, which takes place November 1 - 8 in Los Angeles.

"Our New Auteurs competition section is an opportunity for us to highlight some of the strongest filmmaking by first and second time directors this year. These are films that have been garnering acclaim and winning awards at festivals all over the world and are now being showcased together for the first time," said Jacqueline Lyanga, Director of AFI Fest via a statement. "Last year this section included Michael Roskam’s Oscar- nominated Bullhead and Julia Loktev’s The Loneliest Planet. Every year, it's exciting to see the talent that emerges from this showcase of new narrative feature filmmakers."

Announced titles with film descriptions provided by AFI Fest:

Young Americans Selection

All The Light in the Sky: Jane Addams stars as an insomniac actress facing the waning days of her career when her niece pays a visit to her house on stilts overlooking Malibu. DIR/SCR Joe Swanberg. CAST Jane Addams, Sophia Takal, Lawrence Michael Levin, Kent Osborne, Larry Fessenden, Ti West.

Ape: Trevor is the poster child for post-adolescent malaise. His sole ambition of being a famous comedian leads him to madness when he makes a deal with the devil. DIR/SCR Joel Potrykus. CAST Gary Bosek, Teri Nelson, Joshua Burge, Benjamin Riley.

Electrick Children: Rachel is a 15-year-old Mormon girl who finds herself miraculously pregnant after listening to a rock song on a cassette tape. DIR/SCR Rebecca Thomas. CAST Rory Culkin, Julia Garner, Liam Aiken, Billy Zane, Bill Sage, Cynthia Watros, John Patrick Amedori.

The International Sign for Choking: When a commissioned filmmaker arrives in Argentina in search of a film subject, he finds the camera turning toward his own aimlessness and discontent. DIR/SCR Zach Weintraub. CAST Zach Weintraub, Sopia Takal, Roger Delahaye, Barbara Cameron, Mariano Blanco, Ximena Brun, Ezequiler Etcheverry.

Kid-Thing: Annie is a young girl leading a lonely existence in Austin, Texas, whose life takes a fascinating turn when she hears a plea for help coming from the bottom of a well. DIR/SCR David Zellner. CAST Sydney Aguirre, Susan Tyrrell, Nathan Zellner, David Zellner.

Only the Young: Best friends Garrison and Kevin are equally passionate about the gospel, their girlfriends and the half-pipe in this non-fiction look at teenage life in America. DIR Jason Tippet, Elizabeth Mims. CAST Garrison Saenz, Skye Elmore, Kevin Conway, Robin Levy, Kristen Cheriegate.

Pearblossom Hwy: Friends Corey and Anna drift through life – he longs to appear on a reality TV show and she sells sex for money in order to gain her citizenship. DIR Mike Ott. SCR Mike Ott, Atsuko Okatsuka. CAST Atsuko Okatsuka, Cory Zacharia, John Brotherton. 

Somebody Up There Likes Me: After Max discovers his wife in bed with another man, he tries to get a grip on his life with the aid of a mysterious suitcase that might just hold back time. DIR/SCR Robert Byington. CAST Keith Poulson, Nick Offerman, Jess Weixler, Kevin Corrigan, Jonathan Togo, Stephanie Hunt, Kate Lyn Sheil, Alex Perry, Marshall Bell. 

Starlet: The unlikely friendship between a young, rootless porn actress and a prickly octogenarian results in a combative, yet tender mother-daughter bond. DIR Sean Baker. SCR Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch. CAST Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, Stella Maeve, James Ransone, Karren Karagulian.


Sun Don't Shine: Crystal and her boyfriend Leo embark on a mysterious road trip across the haunting Central Florida landscape, her disturbing past riding close behind. DIR/SCR Amy Seimetz. CAST Kate Lyn Sheil, Kentucker Audley.

Tchaopitoulas: This dreamlike documentary from the brothers Ross follows three young boys across the Mississippi into New Orleans’ French Quarter for a kaleidoscopic night of revelry. DIR Turner Ross, Bill Ross.

New Auteurs Selection

After Lucia: After arriving in Mexico City, a girl is brutally victimized by bullies and disappears, pursued by her heartbroken father. DIR/SCR Michel Franco. CAST Tessa Ia, Hernan Mendoza, Gonzalo Vega Sisto, Tamara Yazbek Bernal, Francisco Rueda, Paloma Cervantes, Juan Carlos Berruecos, Diego Canales. Mexico.


Antiviral: When the frantic obsession with celebrity leads to the trafficking of stars’ diseases to their fans, death is sure to be waiting in the wings. DIR/SCR Brandon Cronenberg. CAST Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Douglas Smith, Malcolm McDowell. Canada/USA.

Clip: Writer/Director Maja Miloš makes her directorial debut with this searing portrait of a rootless Serbian teenager who captures clips of life with her camera phone. DIR/SCR Maja Miloš. CAST Isidora Simijonovic, Vukašin Jasnic, Sanja Mikitišin, Jovo Makisc, Monja Savic. Serbia.

Eat Sleep Die: Raša, a Montenegrin-born factory worker, loses her job in rural Sweden, runs a gauntlet of job-seeking disappointment and bureaucracy and defies the odds. DIR/SCR Gabriela Pichler. CAST Nermina Lukac, Milan Dragišic, Peter Fält, Ružica Pichler, Jonathan Lampinen. Sweden.

Here and There: Winner of the top prize in the Critics Week section of Cannes, Antonio Mendez Esparza’s directorial debut brilliantly captures the complex homecoming of a loving father and a family’s journey to normalcy. DIR/SCR Antonio Mendez Esparza. CAST Pedro de los Santos, Teresa Ramírez Aguirre, Lorena Guadalupe Pantaleón Vázquez, Heidi Laura Solano Espinoza. Mexico/Spain/USA.

A Hijacking: When Somali pirates seize a Danish cargo ship in the Indian Ocean, high-stakes, life-or-death negotiations commence in this work of fiction inspired by today’s headlines. DIR/SCR Tobiaas Lindholm. CAST Pilou Asbæk, Søren Malling. Denmark.

In the Fog: In Nazi-occupied Belarus in 1942, a man and his captors come under fire, forcing all to make radically divergent, but equally harrowing choices. DIR/SCR Segei Loznitsa. CAST Vladimir Svirski, Vlad Abashin, Sergei Kolesov, Vlad Ivanov, Julia Peresild, Nadezhda Markina. Germany/Russia/Belarus/The Netherlands/Latvia.

Not in Tel Aviv: A repressed high school teacher loses his job, kidnaps one of his female students, kills his invalid mother and reconnects with a former high school crush. DIR/SCR Nony Geffen. CAST Nony Geffen, Yaara Peltzig, Romi Aboulafia. Israel.

Simon Killer: A young college graduate travels to France where he becomes involved with a prostitute. DIR/SCR Antonio Campos. CAST Brady Corbet, Michael Abiteboul, Constance Rousseau, Lila Salet, Solo. USA.




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