For the first time in our 22-year history, Belfast Film Festival is proud to bring an International Competition to Belfast broadening the scope of the festival so that Northern Irish audiences can enjoy the very best in world cinema. The International Competition will be adjudicated by a panel of renowned filmmakers and industry insiders including director Andrea Arnold, producer and writer Catherine Bray and actor Stephen Rea.

Comprising eight films, each one a first or second narrative feature that made its premiere in the major festivals of Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Locarno, Karlovy Vary or San Sebastián, this thrilling, innovative selection is designed to highlight the very best in emerging filmmaking talent from around the world.

The section was curated by BFF’s new international programmer Jessica Kiang an International Critic for Variety and a regular on festival juries worldwide.

But how does one go about choosing which films to include? We asked Jessica!

“This is a festival of so many firsts, that when we hit on the idea of an international competition, it seemed natural we’d use it to celebrate emerging filmmakers. The challenge then became to whittle down the selection to just eight first and second films from around the world; even making sure we had as broad a spread of styles, themes and origins as possible, it would have been very easy to fill this competition five times over! So, while it represents a little bit of agony in choosing what to exclude, I could not be prouder of the all-killer no-filler lineup we’ve finally curated. It works as an incredible tasting-menu of movies that may not otherwise come to Belfast, an extremely exciting roll-call of new international talent and most importantly, an eclectic swathe of stories that are as diverse as they are deeply universal.”

Co-sponsored by Yellow Moon the prize fund of £10,000 will be divided into a £7,000 award for the director of the Best Film, plus two £1,500 awards, for Breakout Performance and Outstanding Craft Contribution.

The eight films in competition are as follows:

Blue Jean directed by Georgia Oakley

Unrest directed by Cyril Schäublin

Beautiful Beings directed by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson

Falcon Lake directed by Charlotte LeBon

Tommy Guns directed by Carlos Conceição

Carajita directed by Silvina Schnicer, Ulises Porra

A Room of My Own directed by Ioseb ‘Soso’ Bliadze

Return to Seoul directed by Davy Chou 

Download the 22nd Belfast Film Festival Programme here.