The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center present the 44th New Directors/New Films (ND/NF) in New York City, March 18–29. Since 1972, the festival has been an annual rite of early spring in New York City, bringing exciting discoveries from around the world to adventurous moviegoers. All aspects of cinema, from production to exhibition, have changed dramatically over the years, but the spirit of innovation and the element of surprise that have always defined this festival remain intact. Dedicated to the discovery of new works by emerging and dynamic filmmaking talent, this year’s festival will screen 26 international features and 16 short films.
Chief Curator of Film at The Museum of Modern Art, Rajendra Roy, said: “If I had to boil down the aspirations of New Directors/New Films to one word, it would be ‘unexpected.’ Familiarity is great when you spend an evening at a multiplex with a bucket of popcorn to watch your favorite superhero, but allowing yourself the freedom to engage with the unfamiliar is what this festival is all about.”
“The wonderful thing about a festival like New Directors/New Films is that, by definition, it renews itself every year,” said Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Director of Programming Dennis Lim. “We’re very excited about this lineup, which showcases the many forms that cinematic innovation can take. I think it also introduces New York audiences to some very distinctive voices, new and emerging auteurs who will be at the forefront of the art form in the years to come.”
Representing 11 countries from around the world, the initial nine selections, announced in November 2014, were Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again (USA), Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court (India), Rick Alverson’s Entertainment (USA), Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s Goodnight Mommy (Austria), Sarah Leonor’s The Great Man (France), Nadav Lapid’s The Kindergarten Teacher (Israel/France), Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb (Jordan/Qatar/United Arab Emirates/UK), Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe (Ukraine), and Kornél Mundruczó’s White God (Hungary).
Four of the first nine titles screened at the Sundance Film Festival including two feature-film directorial debuts: Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again about a heartbroken Christmas tree salesman, and Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s winner of the Critics’ Week grand prize at Cannes, The Tribe, which is set in a school for deaf and mute coeds, and is communicated entirely in sign language—with no subtitles. Rick Alverson’s Entertainment, a follow-up to The Comedy, follows a broken-down comedian playing a string of stand-up gigs across the Mojave Desert. Kornél Mundruczó’s White God, which won the Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes, follows the brutal struggle a little girl’s dog must go through to find his way back to her after he is abandoned in the city.