The D’A Film Festival has always been on the lookout for emerging talents and the very latest male and female directors, and that’s not only in its Talents section (a contest for filmmakers with fewer than three features in their filmography), but also in its other sections. Testing, urgent movies made by directors who are really worth taking a closer look at. 

Some of the standout movies at the festival are Abou Leila by Amin Sidi-Boumédine, a psychological drama about the impact of violence that was one of the sensations of Critics Week at Cannes and won the Nuevas Olas award at Seville 2019; a story of pain, vengeance and unconditional love, Un blanco, blanco día by Hlynur Pálmason, winner of Best Actor at Critics Week at Cannes 2019, and 12 other awards at different international festivals; the winner of the special jury prize in the World Cinema category at Sundance 2020, This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, a combative African film; and Ivana The Terrible by Serbian director Ivana Mladenovic (famed for her previous film Soldatii. Poveste din ferentari, screened at D’A 2018), who won the Special Jury Prize for this latest offering in the Cineasti section at Locarno 2019. 

From the USA, we have Adam by Rhys Ernst, premiered at Sundance 2019 and an award winner at Outfest in Los Angeles, a delightful coming-of-age story set in the LGBTQ scene in Brooklyn and starring Nicholas Alexander (I Love You Philipp Morris), Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Bobbi Salvör Menuez (Lo que esconde Silver Lake). An example of the brightest prospects from Chinese cinema is Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains by Gu Xiaogang, the film that closed Critics Week at Cannes 2019. Another striking feature-length debut comes from Canadian director Matthew Rankin with The Twentieth Century, FIPRESCI winner in the Forum at Berlinale 2020 and the finest Canadian debut at TIFF 2019, a movie that very much puts him on a par with his compatriot Guy Maddin.