HIFF 2016 Competition Titles Announced!

Discover thrilling new talent in our prestigious Competition section. Each year, the HIFF Awards honor emerging narrative and documentary directors with global perspectives, representing cinema’s next generation of innovative film artists.

Juried by world-class filmmakers and industry professionals, these competitions represent the impressive, provocative premieres by cinema’s next wave of filmmakers.


daughter-650THE DAUGHTER

East Coast Premiere | Australia
Director: Simon Stone

The revelatory debut feature of acclaimed Australian theater director Simon Stone is a remarkable adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play The Wild Duck. Christian (Paul Schneider) returns to his hometown after a long absence, in order to attend his father’s (Geoffrey Rush) wedding to his former housekeeper, who happens to be half his age. Christian’s attempts to reconnect with his family and friends stir long-buried tensions and bring forth secrets from the past, threatening all those caught in his gravitational pull. This mesmerizing, heart-wrenching family drama is skillful and confident, heralding Stone as a director to watch.


US Premiere | France/Qatar
Director: Houda Benyamina

Winner of the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, DIVINES is the outstanding debut by Houda Benyamina, the first Arab director to ever win the prize. In the outskirts of Paris, Dounia (Oulaya Amamra) dreams of money, power, and a quick escape from the ghetto surrounding her. Paired with her slightly more cautious best friend Maimouna (Déborah Lukumuena), the kinetic and often hilarious duo become embroiled in a world of crime. With superb performances, Benyamina expertly balances a buddy comedy with a high-paced thriller, all the while offering a raw critique on race and religion in France.

glory-650GLORY “Slava”

US Premiere | Bulgaria/Greece
Directors: Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov

A poor railway worker’s world is turned upside down when he finds a huge pile of cash abandoned on the tracks in Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s absorbing masterpiece, GLORY. He decides to do the honorable thing and turn it over the police, but a careless government propaganda team eager to capitalize on the story sends his life spinning out of control. Set against the backdrop of contemporary Bulgarian society, where corruption and bureaucracy are givens, GLORY is a mysterious journey of one man’s race against time to expose the truth and regain his dignity.

late-summer-650LATE SUMMER “Sensommer”

North American Premiere | Norway/France
Director: Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken

In this psychological thriller, a solitary woman’s world is turned upside down when a vacationing Norwegian couple welcome themselves into her home in the French countryside, slowly invading her peace. Who are the foreigners? Why do they seem to not want to leave any time soon? With hypnotic camera movements, a seductive score, compelling characters, and a series of twists and turns, LATE SUMMER explores the lead actress’s psyche, resurfacing her sexual desires, fears, and traumas. The film evokes memory’s hallucinatory terrain and the human inability to recover from past wounds, which, despite the passage of time, refuse to heal. Presented with support from the Norwegian Film Institute and Norwegian Consulate.

long-night-of-francisco-sanctis-650THE LONG NIGHT OF FRANCISCO SANCTIS “La Larga Noche de Francisco Sanctis”

US Premiere | Argentina
Directors: Andrea Testa, Francisco Márquez

Francisco Sanctis (Diego Velázquez) is a middle-aged office worker whose mundane routine is interrupted one night when Elena (Valeria Lois), an old friend from college, informs him of an upcoming kidnapping that only he can prevent. The year is 1977 and Argentina is in the middle of a military dictatorship. Living under the threat of surveillance and paranoia, acting on this information could endanger Francisco’s comfortable life, but can he simply ignore this news? Thrust back into the politics of his youth, Francisco is forced into a moral dilemma in this heart-pounding and award-winning drama.

WSJ-logo-read-ambitiously 150The Narrative Competition is sponsored by The Wall Street Journal.


american-anarchist-650AMERICAN ANARCHIST

North American Premiere | USA
Director: Charlie Siskel

AMERICAN ANARCHIST tells the story of one of the most infamous books ever written, The Anarchist Cookbook, and the role it has played in the life of its author, William Powell, who wrote it at 19 in the midst of the countercultural upheaval of the late 1960s and early ’70s. Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Charlie Siskel (FINDING VIVIAN MAIER) tracks down Powell, now 65 and a schoolteacher, for an intimate and thought-provoking conversation as he revisits the work and the influence it continues to have. A cautionary tale of youthful rebellion and unforeseen consequences, AMERICAN ANARCHIST is a universal and all-too-human story of a man at the end of his life wrestling with his past, his identity, and the repercussions of his youth.

eagle-huntress-650-newTHE EAGLE HUNTRESS

New York Premiere | USA
Director: Otto Bell

The Kazakh tradition of eagle hunting has been passed down from father to son for over 2,000 years in Western Mongolia. Aisholpan, a determined and spellbinding 13-year-old, dreams of becoming the first female huntress. With the support of her family, and against all odds, she trains diligently with her father to prepare for an annual competition, the first step on her quest to gain acceptance. Executive produced by documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and narrated by Star Wars heroine Daisy Ridley, THE EAGLE HUNTRESS stunningly captures Aisholpan’s breathtaking journey to break down gender barriers and achieve her dream.


USA | 2016
Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp

A middle-class family goes to extremes to achieve the American Dream in this masterfully edited found footage documentary hybrid. Director Dean Fleischer Camp discovers on YouTube over 100 hours of home footage shot by an unknown working-class man who obsessively filmed his family for more than 7 years. Birthday parties, trips to the mall, family vacations–seemingly endless footage of their mundane activities are skillfully shaped into a provocative and unexpected narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat. At once meditative and thrilling, FRAUD is the director’s unique and layered vision of capitalism, personal identity, and biography in media.

those-who-jump-650THOSE WHO JUMP “Les Sauteurs”

New York Premiere | Denmark
Directors: Estephan Wagner, Moritz Siebert, Abou Bakar Sidibé

Abou and his friends are camped out at the Morocco-Spain border, where a towering fence is all that stands between entering Europe and a better life. Away from the headlines and politics, these African migrants are ceaselessly persistent as they plan their next jump in the makeshift camp they call home. When Abou acquires a camera, he begins to document the dangerous lives of his brothers and the struggle to avoid police and stay alive. Suspenseful and moving, THOSE WHO JUMP captures the hope, despair, and joy of a group of men striving for a new home


New York Premiere | USA
Director: Keith Maitland

On August 1, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand. Combining archival footage with dynamic rotoscopic images, the award-winning TOWER reveals the tense, untold stories of the witnesses, heroes, and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting, when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.

ID_Logo 75The Documentary Competition is sponsored by Investigation Discovery (ID) Films.


Competition: Narrative Short Film

import-650 IMPORT
US Premiere | Netherlands
Director: Ena Sendijarevic
in-the-hills-650 IN THE HILLS
US Premiere | UK
Director: Hamid Ahmadi
itching-650 THE ITCHING
New York Premiere | USA
Director: Dianne Bellino
silence-650 THE SILENCE
“Il Silenzio”
US Premiere | Italy/France
Directors: Ali Asgari, Farnoosh Samadi
submarine-650 SUBMARINE
US Premiere | Lebanon
Director: Mounia Akl

Competition: Documentary Short Film

batrachians-ballad-650 BATRACHIAN’S BALLAD
“Balada De Um Batráquio”
New York Premiere | Portugal
Director: Leonor Teles
New York Premiere | USA
Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin
irregulars-650 IRREGULARS
New York Premiere | Italy
Director: Fabio Palmieri
last-steps-650 THE LAST STEPS
World Premiere | USA
Director: Todd Douglas Miller
whatever-the-weather-650 WHATEVER THE WEATHER
“Bei Wind Und Wetter”
US Premiere | Switzerland
Director: Remo Scherrer