One of the thrills of a film festival is that your choices allow you to think of yourself as a promoter of talent. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a film by an unknown director that you championed at a festival become a sensation six months down the line. Here are 10 films—some heralded, others in their first showing—by first-time feature directors at the Jio Mami Mumbai Film Festival, starting next week, that you should watch out for.

Ixcanul Volcano

This Guatemalan film by Jayro Bustamante, about a young Mayan woman whose unwanted pregnancy takes her to the big city, won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlinale. The trailer looks vivid and almost hallucinatory, and the film should be one of the favourites in the International Competition category.

Land And Shade

Land And Shade, by Colombian director César Augusto Acevedo, would seem to have a lot in common with Mexican director Carlos Reygadas’ beautifully shot but unforgiving films. In Acevedo’s film, a man returns to his home on a cane plantation, and the wife and child he abandoned, when his boy falls ill.

Thithi

A still from Thithi
A still from Thithi

Cities Of Sleep

Shaunak Sen’s documentary looks at the unofficial sleep shelters of Delhi and introduces viewers to some indelible characters, either in search of, or providing a place to, sleep.

Interruption

In this film by Greek director Yorgos Zois, a postmodern theatre adaptation of a Greek tragedy is interrupted by gun-toting individuals who force the audience to participate in the play.

Island City

Ruchika Oberoi’s Island City, which won the Best Young Director prize at Venice, consists of three loosely linked stories set in Mumbai. Underpinning these tales are themes of loneliness, alienation, subjugation and resistance.

The Head Hunter

When the government tries to build a road through his forest, an old man from the Wancho tribe of North-East India—notorious for its practice of head-hunting—resists and stalls their efforts. Things change when an official manages to get him to visit the city. The Head Hunter is directed by Nilanjan Dutta.

Turbo Kid

This insane-looking film is the first feature from the RKSS (Roadkill Superstar) collective: writer-directors François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell. Adapted from their own short, this post-apocalyptic film promises heavy doses of schlock and gore, served up with a surprisingly sunny disposition.

Kaili Blues

A dreamlike first feature from Chinese director Gan Bi. A doctor in the Guizhou province helps a bereaved gangster and lands up in jail as a result. On his release, he goes on a road trip to find his young nephew, who he thinks might be in trouble.

Mina Walking

Shot guerrilla-style on the streets of Kabul, this film by Canadian director Yosef Baraki follows 12-year-old Mina as she cooks, washes and sells trinkets to provide for her Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather and heroin-addict father.

The Jio Mami Mumbai Film Festival will be held from 29 October-5 November. For details, visit www.mumbaifilmfestival.com

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