International Debut Feature Film Competition

International Debut Feature Film Competition

The Cologne edition of the Festival pays particular attention to showcasing the work of young film-makers. The International Debut Feature Film Competition is considered a useful barometer not just of directorial talent – which we would like to much more of in future – but also of current themes, narrative styles and tonalities. Worth 10,000 euros, the biennial prize recognises the directorial accomplishments of women and provides award-winners with financial support for future film projects. Introduced in 1995 and presented for the 10th time in this form, the award has celebrated such directors as Neus Ballús, Susanna Nicchiarelli, Claudia Llosa (Golden Bear Berlinale 2009) and Carla Simón (Golden Bear 2022).

In 2024, eight films from Belgium, Germany, Finland, Great Britain, Cameroon, Morocco, Mongolia and the Netherlands were nominated from a record 170 submitted feature film debuts. These films take risks, break with stylistic conventions and make bold use of genres and different narrative traditions. They explore perspectives often overlooked in mainstream cinema. We are interested in films that offer a clear view of the world, but treat their characters with empathy and respect and they tackle difficult subjects like grief and separation with great sensitivity.

Curators:

Awardees
2022: Gessica Généus Freda (HT / FR / BJ)
2020: Maya Da-Rin A Febre (BR/DE/FR)
2018: Carla Simón Estiu (ES)
2016: Ana Cristina Barragán Alba (EC)
2014: Neus Ballús La Plaga (ES)
2012: Belma Baş Zefir (TR)
2010: Susanna Nicchiarelli Cosmonauta (IT)
2008: Aurélia Georges L’Homme Qui Marche (FR)
2006: Claudia Llosa Madeinusa (PE)

Jury

Thelma Buabeng

Jury

The versatile actress and activist has appeared in award-winning productions such as Berlin Alexanderplatz, Borga and Wunderschön but also in the feminist satire series Clashing Differences and as journalist Marla Blum in Löwenzahn. She has worked at Schauspielhaus Zürich since 2019 and was one of the presenters of the SWR chat show Five Souls. In her web series Tell Me Nothing From the Horse, she plays a variety of characters to satirise racist clichés and prejudices. With her Black Womxn Matter community, she works to strengthen the voices and perspectives of Afro-German women in the media and society as a whole.

Cristina Andreu Cuevas

Jury

The film-maker, producer, screenwriter and lecturer from Madrid has directed a host of documentaries and short films. She was nominated for the Spanish Goya Award for Best Debut Director for her feature film Brumal. She wrote A Woman Under the Influence about Isabel Coixet and has been president of CIMA, the Spanish Association of Women Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media, since 2018. In this role, she has spearheaded programmes to promote the rich cinematic legacy of female directors. CIMA has also played a key role in enshrining in law gender equality in the film industry – with Spain being the first country in the world to do so.

Jennifer Reeder

Jury

The award-winning feature films of the director, screenwriter, video artist and lecturer from Chicago have screened at numerous international festivals. They tell stories about teenagers, relationships, trauma and dealing with trauma. Her work often draws on genres such as after-school specials and amateur music videos. Reeder was an advisor to the Sundance Indigenous Program and Bong Joon Ho recently named her one of 20 film-makers he believes will shape the cinema over the next decade. Her fourth feature film Perpetrator »cemented her status as a horror doyenne« (The Playlist).

Animalia

Sofia Alaoui

FR / MA / QA
2023
Spielfilm
89’
OmeU

In a village in the Atlas Mountains, newly-wed and heavily pregnant Itto lives in the home of her wealthy in-laws. […]

Camping du lac

Éléonore Saintagnan

BE / FR
2023
Spielfilm
69’
OmeU, dt. UT

»I’d like to tell you about an odd thing that happened.« This is the opening line of Camping du lac, […]

City of Wind

Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir

FR / MN / PT / NL / DE / QA
2023
Spielfilm
103’
OmeU

Roughly half of Mongolia’s 3.2 million people reside in the capital Ulaanbaatar, a sprawling maze of roads and jagged skyscrapers. […]

Elbow

Aslı Özarslan

DE / TR / FR
2024
Spielfilm
86’
OmeU, dt. UT

Hazal is 17 and lives in Berlin. Her greatest wish is to have a life, a real future! Despite writing […]

Family Time

Tia Kouvo

FI / SE
2023
Spielfilm
116’
OmeU

Christmas time is family time. The children arrive. Doors open. Doors close. For Ella and Lasse’s daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren, […]

Mambar Pierrette

Rosine Mbakam

BE / CM
2023
Spielfilm
93’
OmeU, dt. UT

It’s the rainy season and the new school year is about to begin. From dawn ’til dusk, Mambar Pierette sews […]

Milk

Stefanie Kolk

NL
2023
Spielfilm
96’
OmeU, dt. UT

Seldom does a feature film explore the profound significance of breast milk production, a symbol of nurturing life. However, when […]

Scrapper

Charlotte Regan

GB
2023
Spielfilm
84’
OFe

A »scrapper« may embody improvisational determination and a fighting spirit in the face of adversity. Other meanings refer to dealing […]