In this day and age of torrent downloads, film aficionados throng film festivals primarily for one reason- to discover new filmmakers. This year,  at the 18th edition of the Mumbai film festival, film lovers have an array of debutant filmmakers to choose from.  

ScoopWhoop has compiled a list of films that may just change your perception about cinema in the coming years. 

1. Saudi Arabian film:  Barakah meets Barakah

Directed by Mahmoud Sabbagh. The film is a comedy masquerading as a love story. It talks about an official working at a municipal law office smitten by an Instagram star who hails from an affluent family. Two individuals from a totally different worlds trying to find a common ground.  The film is laced with some humorous undertones as the two adults try to comprehend each other’s lives and fall in love. And remember, the setting of the film is Saudi Arabia where women cannot even meet men in public unchaperoned.

2. Alba

A Spanish language film representing Ecuador, Alba is directed by debutant Ana Cristina Barragán. Not too long ago, Ecuador was famous for being a country that produced only one film per year. Yes you read that right. Considering the number, it’s heartwarming to see Alba . The fact that it’s helmed by a debutant filmmaker makes this even more appealing. Alba is about an eleven year old girl who is struggling with confidence. The film revolves around the girl’s troubled relationship with her separated parents. And how living with them individually with minimal conversation has its affect on her. The daughter and her parent may have nothing to share in words but the noise around them makes up for the silences. 

3. Sand Storm

A Hebrew film  from Israel, Sand Storm talks about the struggles women face in a rather patriarchal Bedouin village. How even women oppress one another. Sand Storm is about a woman struggling to come to terms with her husband’s marriage to another young woman . She also has to deal with  a teenage daughter having a secret affair with her classmate. 

4. Bezbog

A Bulgarian film, directed by Ralitza Petrova. Bezbog means ‘Godless’. The film depicts a world where cruelty and criminality win. Where you get away with murder without any consequence, and a possibility for hope can only emerge when all is lost, beyond a ‘godless’ reality. A nurse traffics the ID cards of demented patients at the black market. Driven by easy cash, and an addiction to morphine, she struggles to keep tabs on her emotional void, and a growing fear of punishment.

5. Autohead

A film made by Indian director, Rohit Mittal revolves around a documentary crew that starts to capture the life of an auto rickshaw driver in Mumbai on tape. As they dig deeper into his life they discover angst, sexual frustration and paranoia that leads to a terrible end.

6. Under the Shadow

Directed by Babak Anvari. The film is in Farsi- language . As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home. The film was much appreciated at the Sundance film festival leading it to being sold to Netflix. Despite being an Iranian film, the cinematic censorships faced in Iran led the filmmaker to shoot his film in a foreign land. 

7.  Lao Shi

Lao Shi which means an old stone is a film made by debutant Candian-Chinese filmmaker, Johnny Ma. A psychological thriller about a taxi driver battling bureaucracy and legal manipulation in China. The film revolves around the protagonist’s moral quandary within a social milieu of spine-chilling callousness of the society.  

8. Hounds of love

This Australian film, directed by debutant filmmaker Ben Young, is about a  teenager who is randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple. As she observes the dynamics between her captors she quickly realizes that she must drive a wedge between them if she is to survive. The film is psychological thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat.