Directors’ Debuts Competition was initiated in 2010 due to the Festival’s increasing openness to the noteworthy artists and the new film phenomena they create. The idea of creating additional competition sections was a natural consequence of our previous activities. For years we have been promoting innovative projects that combine intellectual freedom, remarkable insight into world affairs and a desire to inspire other artists of the screen.

Directors’ Debuts Competition brings new discoveries: great movies of high artistic value and great filmmakers whose new ventures surprise not only the Jury members but all audiences around the world as well.

Competition is under the patronage of Polish Filmmakers Association.






Alias María

A decade-long war is still raging in Colombia, within the country's towns and boundless forests. The victims are many, including the subsequent generations of young Colombians. Thirteen-year-old María is one of them. She is one of numerous females within a squad of guerilla fighters who camp in different parts of the woods. Girls and women are constantly treated by the aggressive and powerful males as sexual servants which results in many unwanted pregnancies, but those are quickly dealt with by collaborating doctors. However, the squad's commander refuses to kill his unborn child. After the boy is born, he sends a team of four, including María and a pre-teen guerilla, on a mission to deliver the baby into a safe place. Along the way, this assignment will become something entirely else for each team member. Alias María is a moving story about natural human instincts that can help people even in the most extreme circumstances, but also hinder their judgement.
Original title: Alias María
Director: José Luis Rugeles Gracia
Cinematographer: Ivan Castaño Sergio
Produced by: Rhayuela Cine
Colombia, Argentina, France, 2015


Each day a young boy goes through a dangerous border zone to an old shipwreck. There, among hundreds of convoluted ropes and tons of twisted steel, he created for himself a private paradise. He catches fish and shellfish with his improvised nets and tools, and then goes to a nearby provisional stall and sells/exchanges them for things he needs. His idyllic life comes to a stop when a young intruder, armed with a rifle and speaking in a different language, becomes another of the ship's tenants, dividing it into two zones separated by a rope. In the beginning the boy and the intruder play an odd game of hide-and-seek, but after a while they find a way to communicate. In the country brutally divided by natural and man-made borders, even the space between two people can become a brutal war zone. Borderless tells a poignant tale about overcoming such barriers and openness to other people, though it also poses a question – can all borders really be diminished?
Original title: Bedoone Marz
Director: Asgari Amirhossein
Cinematographer: Ashkan Ashkani
Produced by: Taat Films
Iran, 2014

Goodnight Mommy

Elias and Lukas are twin brothers living peacefully in a modern house located somewhere on the countryside, adjacent to a big forest, with no people in sight. Everything changes when their mother comes home after some weird hospital surgery – her head is covered in bandages and with each subsequent day she behaves more and more aggressively. The boys do not know how to respond to her irrational attacks, therefore they start to imagine their once-beloved mother as some sort of a monster. This tension gets in the air and makes the more fragile Elias have gruesome nightmares out of the craziest body horror films. Where does the truth lie? And maybe, just maybe, there are times when it is better to live in blissful ignorance? Making the audiences question the reality as an elaborate illusion, and suspect the truth hiding somewhere within what is considered fiction, Goodnight Mommy invites its viewers to a perverse game in which there is much more at stake than a human life.
Original title: Ich seh, Ich seh
Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Cinematographer: Martin Gschlacht
Produced by: Ulrich Seidl Film Produktion GmbH
Austria, 2014

Lost, The

During the 1930s, German cinema was flourishing and one of the most innovative and promising in the Europe. But then it was completely destroyed in the name of the already powerful ideology that would set the world on fire in years to come. The Lost is a project that is literally one of a kind: by using fragments of the never-completed German film Die Verlorenen and supplementing them with new scenes, it offers different ways of looking at the events mentioned. The young British writer Christopher comes to Berlin and stays with the Troika cabaret. It is there that he experiences the already collapsing social freedom and becomes a part of weird experiments that are designed to conquer death. Shot as (mostly) black-and-white film from the 1930s, and with the use of many avant-garde tricks, The Lost is an unconventional moving picture that blends reality and fiction to pay a beautiful homage to a part of the history of cinema that cannot be brought to life ever again.
Original title: Die Verlorenen
Director: Reynold Reynolds
Cinematographer: Imogen Heath
Produced by: Artstudio Reynolds
Germany, 2015


One day Sarah and Phil experience an unimaginable tragedy. During a short visit on a gas station their young son is kidnapped by some unknown captors. The heartbroken parents try everything to bring him back, or at least find out if he is alive, but their situation seems hopeless. A year goes by but the wounds do not heal, making both of them crazy from pain. Phil, a policeman by day, still distributes missing person's leaflets with his son's photo. He also finds a temporary solace in a support group, full of people who experienced traumas similar to his. Sarah, on the other hand, a high school teacher, becomes interested in a boy with the Asperger syndrome, whose foster parents seem to neglect him in every possible way. Once happy and smiling, the Meadowland's characters are constantly in search of any kind of explanation to what has happened, and in result they share their suffering with both the people close to them, and many complete strangers.
Original title: Meadowland
Director: Reed Morano
Cinematographer: Reed Morano
Produced by: Bron Studios
USA, 2015

Neon Bull

Modern-day Brazil is not only a country of poverty-stricken favelas, juvenile gangsters, and the overwhelming fascination with soccer, but it also consists of dozens of utterly intriguing self-containing worlds, full of different kinds of people. Neon Bull depicts one such world – the Brazilian rodeo called vaquejada – through the interwoven stories of a couple of its inhabitants. Among them Galega, a woman truck driver and car mechanic who makes extra cash by dancing in night clubs, and Iremar, a well-built and handsome man who can do wonders with sewing machine, while dreaming of becoming a fashion designer. The rodeo itself allows only male crowd, however, the world so carefully depicted on the screen does not distinguish between traditional and non-traditional gender roles and/or types of sexuality. Even the definition of carnality becomes blurred, as the animal world becomes a logical and natural extension of the human world.
Original title: Boi Neon
Director: Gabriel Mascaro
Cinematographer: Diego García
Produced by: Canal Brasil, Desvia, Malbicho Cine, Viking Film
Brasil, Uruguay, Netherlands, 2015

Perfect Obedience

Perfect Obedience is based on real events, telling a story of a popular and pious Mexican priest, Father Angel de la Cruz, who abuses sexually young boys under the cover of a Catholic seminar he leads (and with a silent blessing from his supervisors). We see everything through Julian, young and innocent boy who was sent to Los Cruzados de Cristo seminar by his parents, proud to have a priest in their family. The boy's destiny is, supposedly, to learn many ways of how to save human souls from damnation, but in reality the only thing Julian and other boys gets to witness is the overall frailty of the human spirit. They attend prayers, meetings and lectures, but in the meantime they play soccer matches, secretly learn how to smoke, and daydream about the tempting young nuns from a nearby school. The boys are taught perfect obedience towards their leader, which means not only having an immense respect for Father de la Cruz, but also serving him with their spirit and flesh.
Tytuł oryginalny: Obediencia Perfecta
Reżyseria: Luis Urquiza
Zdjęcia: Serguei Saldívar Tanaka
Produkcja: Astillero Films, Memorial Films, Producciones Mestizo
Mexico, 2014



One single moment can change a person’s life forever, marking it with pain and suffering. That was the case with Ana and Leo, siblings afflicted by a childhood trauma that made it impossible for them to find a normal way into adulthood. Separated in their youth, unable to cope with the heart-breaking memories of an idyllic past that had become unbearable due to an inexplicable decision made by their father, the two exist in an emotional void. Ana lives on the thin line between reality and sexual fantasy, exchanging affection and tenderness for increasingly dangerous physical sensations. Leo, however, works in a factory and is a sad loner who is not able to enter into any kind of meaningful human relationship, while his most important attachment is to a stray dog which he took in from the street. Is there any hope for a normal life for them? Plástico is a tale about different experiences of being lost, told with images and sounds rather than words.
Original title: Plástico
Director: Ricardo Soto
Cinematographer: Miguel Zetina
Produced by: Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica
Mexico, 2015


„I used to be someone”, reads a sign on a cardboard that Hannah, a homeless drug addict wondering New York streets, sets before herself counting on receiving at least a couple of dollars which will help her to get through another night. One day she stumbles upon Tahir, a Nigerian refugee and illegal immigrant who was also condemned by the tragic events from his past to a life on the streets of the metropolis. These two living wrecks develop a strong bond. They start to take care of each other, help the other one in overcoming all obstacles, and in this way finding the strength to face the harshness of reality. In the world they live in there are hundreds of dangers, both tangible and invisible. Will the protagonists be able to build a future for themselves? Shelter is a poignant tale about people who struggle to keep a spark of hope in their lives, as well as an address made on behalf of all the people whose voices are silenced by the overwhelming noise of big city life.
Original title: Shelter
Director: Paul Bettany
Cinematographer: Paula Huidobro
Produced by: BiFRost Pictures
USA, 2014

Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Johnny and Jashaun are brother and sister who grew up in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, a place full of good, loyal people who cannot learn how to cope with the surrounding reality without taking comfort in alcohol—just as many Lakotas have done throughout the decades of the white colonization of the North American continent. Johnny loves his people, but at the same time he would like to leave this place with no future, to see the world, to experience something new. He is fully aware of the fact that his absence will make life much harder for his alcoholic mother and younger sister, but he still plans to travel to Los Angeles with his girlfriend. Feeling betrayed, Jashaun explores her surroundings in search of a surrogate brother. Songs My Brothers Taught Me gives its audience a fascinating glimpse into the harsh, but at the same time full of small pleasures, life in a place forgotten by the inhabitants of big cities and the mainstream media.
Original title: Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Director: Chloe Zhao
Cinematographer: Joshua James Richards
Produced by: HEART-headed Productions, Forest Whitaker's Significant Productions
USA, 2015