All the talents of Bright Future

IFFR announces all the titles selected for its Bright Future Main Programme dedicated to young, emerging film talent. The 48 feature films offer a wide variety of subject matter and origin, seen through the eyes of daring filmmakers with a fresh, clear style and vision. Within this line-up, all feature-length film debuts that are a world or international premiere in Rotterdam are eligible for the Bright Future Award, worth €10,000. 

Many of them are world premieres. In Impermanence by young Chinese filmmaker Zeng Zeng, three fascinating lost souls – a monk, an innkeeper and a father who has lost his son – are brought together by fate. The German film Ella und Nell by Aline Chukwuedo follows two Berlin women on a hike in the woods. August at Akiko’s is Christopher Makoto Yogi’s dreamy debut about a musician who returns to Hawaii trying to find his ‘ha’`– the spirit that links him to his birthplace.

  • Still: Impermanence

  • Still: Ella and Nell

  • Still: August at Akiko's

Other nominated world premieres include the harrowing Counting Tiles by Lebanese filmmaker Cynthia Choucair, following a group of clowns who set off for the island of Lesbos to deliver laughter to refugees; The Heart by Swedish filmmaker Fanni Metelius about an invisible conflict stirring between the sheets of two lovers (“If you love me then fuck me!”); and the Egyptian film Poisonous Roses by Ahmed Fawzi Saleh, in which a young man dreams of a life beyond his tannery job in the slums. Also in competition:Argentinian filmmaker Gustavo Biazzi’s charming and melancholy coming-of-ager Los vagos

  • Still: Counting Tiles

  • Still: The Heart

  • Still: Los Vagos

Other world premieres in the Bright Future Main Programme include YEAH by Japanese filmmaker Suzuki Yohei; Jonaki by celebrated Indian filmmaker Aditya Vikram Sengupta, whose Labour of Love screened at IFFR 2015; Permanent Green Light by Dennis Cooper and Zac Farley, about a teenager obsessed with the idea of blowing himself up in public; and La estrella errante by Spanish filmmaker Alberto Gracia about the wandering front man of a Galician underground punk band. Gracia won the FIPRESCI Award with his feature debut The Fifth Gospel of Kaspar Hauser at IFFR 2013.

  • Still: YEAH

  • Still: Permanent Green Light

  • Still: La Estrella Errante

This year’s jury for the Bright Future Award consists of the Artistic Director of Netia Off Camera Ania Trzebiatowska, Rotterdam filmmaker and editor Nathalie Alonso Casale and Grasshopper Films distributor Ryan Krivoshey from New York. The award will be presented during the awards ceremony on Friday 2 February.

Below, you'll find a list of all newly announced films in the Bright Future Main Programme. For an overview of previously announced Bright Future titles, click here.

Bright Future Competition

August at Akiko's, Christopher Makoto Yogi, USA, 2018, world premiere
Musician Alex Zhang Hungtai returns to Hawai‘i after years abroad. His search for home and roots intensifies when he forms a bond with local kupuna Akiko.

Azougue Nazaré/Azougue Nazareth, Tiago Melo, Brazil, 2018, world premiere
In the sugarcane country of North East Brazil, where Evangelicalism is on the rise, people start to disappear and other strange things start to happen as Maracatu carnival season gets underway.

Balekempa, Ere Gowda, India, 2018, world premiere
In a small Indian village, Kempanna and his wife Saubaghya are unable to conceive. A scandal seems imminent.

Counting Tiles, Cynthia Choucair, Lebanon , 2018, world premiere
A group of clowns travel to the Greek island of Lesvos on a mission to bring laughter to the many people escaping war in February 2016.

Ella und Nell/Ella & Nell, Aline Chukwuedo, Germany, 2018, world premiere
Ella and Nell used to be best friends. Now grown apart and in their forties, they set out on a hike in order to reconnect. The mood changes as old wounds are reopened.

La fleurière/Flower Shop, Ruben Desiere, Belgium/Slovakia, 2017, 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, 2017, international premiere
During a break, a young baker notices a strange bird fall. He decides to take a closer look, and an unbelievable journey across the rooftops of Rome ensues.

The Heart, Fanni Metelius, Sweden, 2018, world premiere
Mika and Tesfay. She’s a photographer. He’s a musician. Both are up-and-coming. The first true romance. But an invisible conflict, an unnameable shame, stirs between their sheets.

Impermanence, Zeng Zeng, China, 2018, world premiere
Fate brings together three fascinating lost souls – a monk with a sack of money, an innkeeper with a heavy conscience and a father who’s lost his son –  in young Chinese director Zeng Zeng’s mysterious tale of guilt, punishment and ambiguous redemption.

My Friend the Polish Girl, Ewa Banaszkiewicz/Mateusz Dymek, United Kingdom/Poland, 2018, 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, visually brash cine-essay.

Poisonous Roses, Ahmed Fawzi  Saleh, Egypt/France, 2018, world premiere
Saqr dreams of a life beyond his tannery job in the slums, but his love for the sister he would leave behind keeps him tied there.

Rabot, Christina Vandekerckhove, Belgium, 2017, international premiere
In a notorious social-housing block in Ghent, both the building and the residents must go. Winner of the 2017 Audience Award at Film Fest Gent.

Respeto,Alberto Monteras II, Philippines, 2017, 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.

The Return, Malene Choi Jensen, Denmark/South Korea, 2018, world premiere
A story of two Danish-Korean adoptees visiting their motherland for the first time and confronting their own identity struggles.

Their Remaining Journey, John Clang, Singapore/USA/Taiwan, 2018, world premiere
A tale of reincarnation unfolds through the stories of a dead actress, an ex-mistress and an unfaithful husband, somewhere between New York and Singapore.

La torre/Tower, Sebastián Múnera, Colombia/Mexico, 2018, world premiere
On March 17, 2004 an explosive device was activated at the Piloto Public Library in Medellín, where much of the photographic archive of Colombian history is kept. A photograph is the only evidence of this barbarism.

Los vagos/Bums, Gustavo Biazzi, Argentina, 2017, international premiere
High school sweethearts Ernesto and Paula return to their hometown, Misiones, for the summer. Ernesto’s rekindled friendship with los vagos (‘the bums’) triggers upheaval for the pair.

Windspiel, Peyman Ghalambor, Germany, 2018, world premiere
While 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, 2017, European premiere
A man's mysterious appetite and supernatural powers gradually lead to apocalypse in an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean.

Ambiguous Places, Ikeda Akira, Japan, 2017, international premiere
A series of odd and mysterious dramas unfolds against ordinary backdrops in this new film from Tiger Award winner Ikeda.

Blockage, Mohsen Gharaei, Iran, 2017, European premiere

Fired from his job at the municipality for making deals on the side, Ghasem is forced to make changes. While is he making plans for his wife's inheritance, a completely new opportunity arises.

La estrella errante/Wandering Star, Alberto Gracia, Spain, 2018, world premiere
The punk band Los Fiambres released one cult album in 1984. More than thirty years later, their lead singer, Rober Perdut, wanders around his Galician hometown in this sensory, melancholic film.

Hit the Night, Jeong Gayoung, South Korea, 2017, international premiere
Under the pretence of research, Ga-yeong pries into the personal and sexual life of a new acquaintance. Despite having a girlfriend, the acquaintance willingly participates. Is he unaware of her desire, or just impressed by her line of questioning?

Inferninho/My Own Private Hell, Guto Parente, Pedro Diógenes, Brazil, 2018, world premiere
In a bar called Inferninho, the staff dream of escape. A handsome sailor with a dream of finding home arrives.

Jonaki, Aditya Vikram Sengupta, India/France/Singapore, 2018, world premiere
In an esoteric trance, Jonaki, an 80-year-old woman, finds herself in the midst of a decaying world of nostalgia. Here, she is made to relive moments of her life by the ones closest to her.

Ordinary Time, Susana Nobre, Portugal/France, 2018, 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.

The Pain of Others, Penny Lane, USA, 2018, world premiere
A found-footage documentary about Morgellons, a mysterious illness whose sufferers say they have parasites under the skin and a host of other bizarre symptoms that could be taken from a horror film.

Permanent Green Light, Dennis Cooper/Zac Farley, France, 2018, world premiere
A young disabled guy wants to explode in public. He's not suicidal or an extremist, he's purely interested in this act's effect. That he'll die is unimportant, he just doesn't want people to misinterpret the event.

Sol alegria, Tavinho Teixeira, Brazil, 2018, world premiere
An eccentric family on a mission travel through dictatorial Brazil to save humanity from annihilation. Cheerfully nihilistic film trip takes us past a colourful parade of sailors, whores, generals, corrupt priests and trigger-happy nuns.

YEAH, Suzuki Yohei, Japan, 2018, world premiere
A young woman, Ako, wanders around a sparsely populated housing estate in a rural city, Mito, where she spends her time speaking to objects and plants.

Confirmed for Bright Future:

3/4, Ilian Metev, Bulgaria/Germany, 2017
Young pianist Mila prepares for an audition abroad. Her eccentric younger brother attempts to distract her while her father tries to keep it all together.

Cocote, Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias, Dominican Republic/Argentina/Germany/Qatar, 2017
To mourn his deceased father, an evangelical gardener is forced to participate in celebrations that are contrary to his will and his beliefs.

DRIFT, Helena Wittmann, Germany, 2017
Two women spend a weekend together at the North Sea before life (and the sea?) take them off in different directions.

Les garçons sauvages/Wild Boys, Bertrand Mandico, France, 2017
On Réunion Island, five young men enamoured with the occult commit a savage crime.

The Gulf, Emre Yeksan, Turkey/Germany/Greece, 2017
Leaving behind a ruined career and a bitter divorce, Selim returns to his hometown, Izmir. While wandering the city he runs into an old friend and finds himself gradually drawn into a new world.

Gutland, Govinda Van Maele, Luxembourg/Belgium/Germany, 2017
In this rural thriller, a stranger finds refuge and community in a small village; it quickly becomes clear he’s not the only one with secrets.

El hombre que cuida/Watchman, Alejandro  Andújar, Dominican Republic/Puerto Rico/Brazil, 2017
A broken-hearted man focusses completely on his job as caretaker for a beachfront house, until a group of special guests arrive.

Life and Nothing More, Antonio Méndez Esparza, USA/Spain, 2017
On the verge of adulthood, Andrew yearns to find his purpose as a young African-American facing up to the mounting pressure of family responsibility.

Meteors, Gürcan Keltek, Turkey/Netherlands, 2017
A film about memory and disappearance – of people, places and things.

Milla, Valérie Massadian, France, 2017
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, 2017
Under the shadow of the bankruptcy of their elevator factory, workers look for ways to regain control of their lives.

Resurrection, Kristof Hoornaert, Belgium, 2017
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, 2017
A contemporary love story between an ex-convict  and a shy anthropologist, set in the Roma outskirts of Bucharest.

Sweating the Small Stuff, Ninomiya Ryutaro, Japan, 2017
As his surrogate mother lies gravely ill, quietly explosive Ryutaro hits an emotional edge.

Tesnota/Closeness, Kantemir Balagov, Russia, 2017
After celebrating their engagement, a young couple are kidnapped in the north of the Russian Caucasus in the late 1990s. Their families must find the money to secure their freedom.

Those Who Are Fine, Cyril  Schäublin, Switzerland, 2017
Using skills gained working in a call centre, Alice makes a sinister income posing as the granddaughter of Zurich's many lonely grandmothers.

Photo in header: Still from YEAH