Though our festival’s main focus is debut films, up-and-coming directors exist within a particular context and work with an eye to the artistic explorations of their colleagues. The Spotlight programme looks at this context and features some of the most impressive films shown at international festivals over the last year.
Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi and Alice Rohrwacher, the directors of Futura, were themselves considered promising debutants not so long ago and are now luminaries of European directing. Their collective documentary film which opens our festival is a dialogue with the new generation of Italians born after 2000. Julian Radlmier, whose ‘Marxist vampire comedy’ Bloodsuckers was shown at the Berlinale and Vladimir Bitokov, who emerged from the constellation of students around Alexander Sokurov and showed his new film Mama, I’m Home in Venice, both shot to fame very recently. One of the standout premieres at the Cannes Film Festival was Compartment No. 6. Juho Kuosmanen’s Finnish–Russian road movie about the Moscow to Murmansk train received the Grand Prix from a jury chaired by Spike Lee.
Veteran filmmaker Dominik Graf has been exploring the possibilities of narrative cinema for decades, and his sweeping, inventive Fabian – Going to the Dogs offers a fresh approach to working with historical and literary sources. At the close of the festival we will show the sequel to Joanna Hogg’s Souvenir, which tells the story of a director working on their debut film. Debutants, after all, are the stars of our festival.