Film Guide 2021

Narrative Competition

Discover thrilling new talent in our prestigious competition section. Each year, the Competition Awards honor emerging narrative and documentary directors who represent cinema’s next generation of innovative film artists.


2021 Narrative Competition | narrative feature | 106 min New York Premiere HIFF alum Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s debut feature is the riveting tale of Clara (played by the wonderful Wendy Chinchilla Araya, in her first role), who is believed to have special powers as …

Directed by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén


2021 Narrative Competition | narrative feature | 99 min North American Premiere Hafsia Herzi’s sophomore feature is a tender character study of matriarch Nora (Halima Benhamed), a caretaker in her fifties who also looks after her multigenerational family, struggling to make e …

Directed by Hafsia Herzi


2021 Narrative Competition | narrative feature | 117 min North American Premiere In postwar Germany, the Allies’ liberation does not mean freedom for everyone. Under Paragraph 175, Hans (Franz Rogowski, TRANSIT) is spied on and imprisoned again and again, solely because of his …

Directed by Sebastian Meise


2021 Narrative Competition | narrative feature | 95 min US Premiere On an exquisite Croatian island, tensions rise between father Ante (Leon Lučev) and daughter Julija (Gracija Filipović), as Ante’s verbally abusive patriarchal ways become too much for Julija to …

Directed by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović