Seven films in race for ‘Best Debut Feature Film of Director Award’ at IFFI54


Seven debut films have been nominated under the Best Debut Feature Film of a Director Category and are being showcased across various screens at the 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. This competition category at IFFI provides a platform for budding filmmakers and their outstanding films – both from India and abroad. IFFI by instituting this Award celebrate and nurture innovation in storytelling, freshness of perspectives, and excellence in cinema.

The films included under this curated collection this year are:


ALMOST ENTIRELY A SLIGHT DISASTER: Directed by Umut Subaşı, this Turkish film explores the contemporary life of four individuals in Istanbul. Zeynep, a distressed student; Ayşe, attempting to flee her perceived future in Turkey; Mehmet, an unsatisfied married engineer; and Ali, an unemployed individual stuck living with his parents. The film, which had its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2023, skilfully intertwines humour with the anxieties faced by the new generation.



Directed by Maxime Rappaz and set in Switzerland, the film revolves around Claudine, a devoted mother and demanding lover. Every Tuesday, a neighbour takes care of her son while she goes to a mountain hotel to meet transient men. When one of them decides to extend his stay for her, Claudine is confused and finds herself dreaming of another life. The movie had its world premiere at Cannes 2023, and has also featured in ACID, Vancouver IFF 2023, and Stockholm International Film Festival 2023.



OCARINA: An Albanian movie, directed by Alban Zogjani, Ocarina is a tale of family issues that emerge due to a shift in lifestyle upon moving to a new country, driven by a strong aspiration to improve their circumstances. Shaqa and Selvia opt to challenge their sense of “morality” in pursuit of a brighter future. Conversely, Giovanni’s unintentional involvement steers their chosen path in an unforeseen direction. However, their journey does not culminate as they initially anticipated.



SLEEP: The South Korean Movie directed by Jason Yu’s passion tells the story of a pregnant wife that becomes increasingly concerned about her husband’s disturbing sleeping habits, starting with harmless sleep-talking but escalating to unsettling behaviour. Despite seeking help from a sleep clinic without success, the couple turns to a shaman as the husband’s nightmarish actions intensify. The movie also featured in Cannes (Critics’ Week), 2023, Toronto International Film Festival 2023 and Melbourne International Film Festival 2023.



WHEN THE SEEDLINGS GROW: Directed by a Turkish filmmaker Rêger Azad Kaya, this movie revolves around Hüseyin and his family in Kobanê, who make a living selling yogurt. A missed market opportunity leads to a day-long journey, intertwining their lives with a boy named Hemude and the effects of the Kobanê war on their lives and community.



DHAI AAKHAR: A Hindi movie, directed by Praveen Arora is based on the novel ‘Teerthatan Ke Baad’ by Amrik Singh Deep. Set in 1980’s in Uttarakhand, the film narrates the journey of Harshita, who rebuilds her life after escaping an abusive marriage through heartfelt letters with a compassionate writer. Finding solace and respect with Sridhar after her husband’s death, Harshita’s story sheds light on the normalization of abuse in patriarchal societies, emphasizing love as a liberating force with a compelling message of empowerment for women.



IRATTA: An Indian movie, directed by Rohit M.G. Krishnan, the movie explores the murder of ASI Vinod, an identical twin working in the police department, shot dead with three gunshots just before a minister’s arrival. DYSP Pramod, Vinod’s twin, faces pressure to investigate, revealing a complex web of motives involving Vinod’s confrontational nature and raising questions about the true circumstances of his death.

As IFFI54 unfolds, the announcement of the Best Debut Film award in recognition of the outstanding emerging talents, will be out in the next few days, even as the ongoing screenings offer a glimpse into the visions of the next generation of directors.


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