nhanhh 2024/03/17 00:25

The First or Second Feature Film Category at HIFF sings praises to the first steps, opening doors to dreams and boundless creativity.

We are proud to announce this list as a cheer for the youthful energy, fresh perspectives, and the desire to express through the cinema of emerging filmmakers. Each selected work stands as a testament to diversity in genre and theme, reflecting the passion and infinite potential of new talents.

This is not just a competition; it is the beginning of promising cinematic journeys, a solid stepping stone for filmmakers on their creative path.

Congratulations to those who will lead in the world of cinema tomorrow, who have made this journey so worthwhile and moving.

Director: Antonio Sequeira
Country: Portugal


In a small Portuguese town, a family is turned upside down when their son leaves to study in London. Focusing only on the school breaks when he comes back home (Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn), we observe snapshots of a daughter’s coming of age, a father’s mid-life crisis, a son’s emancipation and a mother learning to cope with an “empty nest”.

‘Autumn’ is an intimate, heartwarming and nuanced portrayal of family relationships, offering a poignant reflection on how we all often struggle to move on, grow up and grow old.

Director: Choy Ji
Country: China


A late summer typhoon looms as Ting’s wedding approaches. Urged on by her mother, Ting sets out from Guangzhou to Hong Kong to look for her father who has been absent for 20 years.
On her trip, Ting’s vague memories from the past come back to her. An unexpected encounter leads Ting to find out the truth about her family. She gets in touch with an old friend, Yuseng. They spend a night together at Yuseng’s place, both feeling as if they were in a dream, searching for the lost time…

Title: FRAU
Director: Lyubov Mulmenko
Country: Russia


Vanya works at the “Hunter and Fisher” store. Kristina dances at the Opera and Ballet Theatre. Kristina thinks that Vanya is a real man. Vanya thinks that Kristina is a real woman. They try to be a family, but as time goes by, they see that their family is not real. It’s just a project built on the fear of being alone instead of love. Living with another human just to live with another human makes no sense. 

Director: Linh Tran
Country: USA


Best friends since high school, Kim and Amy haven’t seen each other since Amy moved to the West Coast for grad school. Now the two are reunited as they join a group of friends for a trip to a lake house with Kim’s boyfriend, Jay. When Amy had left for the West Coast, she was in love with Jay, though she never pursued it due to her insecurities thinking she was too fat and ugly. While she has changed physically, her feelings for Jay haven’t, and the reunion has brought them back to the surface. That maelstrom of emotions within her is poised to reveal itself at any moment as the group’s struggles to find something to do in the empty little beach town turns into an unsuccessful effort by all of them to sort through attractions to each other, as well as suppress old resentments, jealousies and desires before they leave.

Title: VALLI
Country: India


A religious devotee, trapped in an enforced gender identity, plots an escape from his oppressive village in this delicately layered examination of gender fluidity. Every night Valli is sought after for his blessings as a jogta—presenting as a woman devotee bound to a Hindu goddess. Though he is spiritually revered, he is also ostracised by the villagers and routinely subject to their harassment and violence. Stifled by his life of servitude, he wishes to renounce his jogta identity and live as a man. To do so, he enlists the help of his only friend and fellow castaway, Tara.
With its intimate portrayal of the jogappa tradition in the rural regions of western Maharashtra, the film immerses us in Valli‘s world, capturing his difficult journey while bravely interrogating gender expectations and religious tradition without reaching for easy answers. 

Director: Hong Chi-Lee
Country: Taiwan


Since his release from prison, Sweet Potato has been content with running a small business with meagre earnings by the seaside, heedless of other people’s advice against it. He is pulled into the whirlpool of his past when his old “boss” (whom he has never met), his mother (who thrusts all her debts upon him), and his buddy Maozi all re-appear into his life. One after the other, they regain control over his present life leaving him no hope for the future. Only Seven can assuage his anxieties ever so slightly. One day, at the smoggy and oppressive seaside, Sweet Potato is finally granted a meeting with the “boss”…

Director: Liang Ming
Country: China


In Northeast China, Shenyang is a city in decay. Xu Lingling longs for love and family, yet the 25-year-old has contracted uremia and her life is crumbling. Amidst a family crisis and a series of changes, her troublesome father returns due to his daughter’s illness. Together with her best friend Tan Na and a former classmate Zhao Dongyang, the three lean on each other for solace. One day they decide to hit the road and the trip reveals intricate facets of human nature and emotions in this dimly lit world. 

Director: Wern-ying Hwarng
Country: Taiwan


This is a story of reminiscence, remembering my long-deceased Grandpa. To remember is to transcend, therefore it’s a story of time and space, overlapped and intertwined. It’s also a quest of love and work, a spiritual and emotional journey: through which values are re-examined and life reaffirmed. In the end, what Faye has been yearning for is not a ‘home’ in the conventional sense, but a ‘hotel’ that she owns and designs by herself like her Grandpa used to.

Director: Molly Manning Walker
Country: UK


It’s supposed to be the best summer ever. Tara, Skye and Em touch down at the Greek party resort of Malia for the vacation to end all vacations, the girls strip every British teenager ticks off at the cusp of adulthood. Tara, the last remaining virgin, is on a mission to change that: and her best friends are causing chaos right alongside her. The 16-year-old drinks and dances her way through the strip – with all its messy bars and grimy nightclubs – until she meets a couple of boys on the neighboring hotel balcony, who she hopes might give her a summer to remember. Making her debut feature with a vibrant, compassionate look at sex, friendship, consent and the sweet smell of a boozy sunburned summer holiday, director and cinematographer Molly ManningWalker (Scrapper, Good Thanks, You?) paints an exhilarating, moving, and painfully familiar portrait of young adulthood. 

Director: Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir
Country: Mongolia


A spiritual shaman is a crucial member of the community, the one who everyone depends on when in need of moral and spiritual guidance. What happens when that shaman is a 17-year-old high school student who must balance his profound Spiritual responsibilities while also juggling another life – that of a high school student – working hard to succeed in the cold, callous society of modern Mongolia.

Title: MANDOOB (Night Courier)
Director: Ali Kalthami
Country: Saudi Arabia


In the heart of Riyadh, where desperation and opportunity collide, MANDOOB brings forth the gripping tale of Fahad Algadaani, a mentally fragile man racing against time to save his ailing father. 

Director: Ryoma Kosasa
Country: Japan


The film is set in Tokyo during the Olympics amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Tired of rushing through life, young people gather at a small guesthouse in Tokyo, where they explore their own paths and grow through new relationships and experiences. The youthful ensemble drama is centred around the theme of “break” and depicts the modest growth of young people.