Tizita Hagere in 'Difret'
Tizita Hagere in 'Difret'

The 57th San Francisco International Film Festival, running April 24–May 8, has revealed the films in competition for the New Directors Prize, as well as the Golden Gate Award contenders in the documentary feature category.

'The Amazing Catfish'
'The Amazing Catfish'

SFIFF is set to award nearly $40,000 in total cash prizes this year. The New Directors Prize of $10,000 will be given to a narrative first feature that shows unique artistic sensibility in the hopes it will be seen by a wider audience. The GGA documentary feature winner will receive $10,000 while the GGA Bay Area documentary feature winner will receive $5,000.




The Amazing Catfish, Claudia Sainte-Luce, Mexico

Set in Guadalajara, The Amazing Catfish follows the quiet transformation of a solitary young woman informally adopted and absorbed into a rambunctious matriarchy in a state of crisis. Filmed by Claire Denis’ long-time cinematographer, Agnès Godard, Claudia Sainte-Luce’s debut feature, based loosely on events from her own life, blends a wry and moving naturalism with moments of inspired comedy.


The Blue Wave, Zeynep Dadak and Merve Kayan, Turkey/Germany/Netherlands/Greece

In this low-key, loosely plotted coming-of-age tale, a Turkish teenage girl wrestles with mood swings, unfocused restlessness, familial responsibilities, shifting friendships and romantic complications during a year of quiet tumult.


Difret, Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, Ethiopia

In a contemporary Ethiopian village, a 14-year-old girl is abducted from school in an attempt at forced marriage, a tradition in her community. Her efforts to free herself from a preordained future set off a legal firestorm in this powerful drama inspired by a true story that pits the law against an entrenched cultural mindset.

The Dune, Yossi Aviram, France/Israel

Delving into issues of identity and aging, this nuanced relationship drama portrays the personal crises faced by an aging gay cop in France and a younger Israeli man who is found on the beach, mute and without any identification.