Imagine being part of the audience that first saw the boundless potential of a bright, blazing new filmmaker. What was it like to glimpse the early signs of the suspense master that Alfred Hitchcock would become? Who saw immediately that Agnes Varda would be making films and inspiring others for more than six decades? Our Pioneer strand invites you to go talent-spotting on a grand scale. All of the films in our Pioneer strand are first or second features from filmmakers at the very start of what promise to be glorious careers. Their work has caught the eye, laid down a marker, shown levels of accomplishment and daring that singles them out from the crowd. Carefully curated from hundreds of contenders, these are the new voices confirming that the future is bright. Don’t miss a single one.

Films in this Festival Strand

Image for A Ciambra (N/C 15+)
25-26 February

A Ciambra (N/C 15+)

A raw, plaintive, coming of age drama

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for No Date, No Signature (N/C 15+)
3-4 March

No Date, No Signature (N/C 15+)

A compelling tale of class, power and privilege from Iran

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Valley of Shadows (N/C 15+)
23-28 February

Valley of Shadows (N/C 15+)

A haunting fable in the Scandinavian Gothic tradition

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Thoroughbreds (15)
23-24 February

Thoroughbreds (15)

Teenagers Amanda and Lily decide to dispose of Lily's sleazy stepfather - they just need someone to do the dirty deed

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for The Rider (N/C 12+)
27-28 February

The Rider (N/C 12+)

A soulful portrait of a young Sioux cowboy at a crossroads in his life

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for The Eternal Feminine (N/C 15+)
26-27 February

The Eternal Feminine (N/C 15+)

Award-winning biopic of Rosario Castellanos - widely celebrated as one of the great voices of 20th century Mexican literature.

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for The Divine Order (N/C 15+)
22-23 February

The Divine Order (N/C 15+)

Swiss women fight for equality in entertaining historical drama

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for The Charmer (N/C 15+)
28 February - 1 March

The Charmer (N/C 15+)

Award-winning drama is a noir-ish tale full of guilty secrets

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for The Bachelors (N/C 15+)
22-23 February

The Bachelors (N/C 15+)

Oscar-winner J K Simmons gets to show a warmer, more vulnerable side in this poignant family drama

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Stand Up, Girl (N/C 15+)
23-24 February

Stand Up, Girl (N/C 15+)

Belgian comedian Nawell Madani will attend the screening on Fri 23 Feb

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Sicilian Ghost Story (N/C 15+)
1-2 March

Sicilian Ghost Story (N/C 15+)

Steeped in fairytale references and deftly blends teenage romance, gothic fantasy and Mafia thriller

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Revenge (N/C 18+)
24 February - 1 March

Revenge (N/C 18+)

Never underestimate the power of a vengeful woman

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Quality Time (N/C 15+)
3-4 March

Quality Time (N/C 15+)

Absurdist comedy confronting the fragility of the male psyche

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Pity (N/C 15+)
24 February - 2 March

Pity (N/C 15+)

Babis Makridis' latest follows a man who feels happy only when he is unhappy

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Old Beast (N/C 15+)
25 February

Old Beast (N/C 15+)

A compelling performance by Men Tu encourages us to look for a glimmer of humanity in a despicable figure

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Never Steady, Never Still (15)
25-26 February

Never Steady, Never Still (15)

Shirley Henderson stars in this auspicious feature debut from Kathleen Hepburn. Director Kathleen Hepburn will attend the screening on Sun 25 Feb.

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for A Letter to the President (N/C 15+)
23-25 February

A Letter to the President (N/C 15+)

A feminist elegy of a country at odds with itself

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for My Friend Dahmer (N/C 15+)
27-28 February

My Friend Dahmer (N/C 15+)

A disturbing portrait of a loner teenager in his senior year at high-school, and a small-town community unable to predict the atrocities to come.

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for More (N/C 15+)
24-25 February

More (N/C 15+)

​Can you avoid becoming a monster when you are raised by one?

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Mobile Homes (N/C 15+)
26-27 February

Mobile Homes (N/C 15+)

Imogen Poots and Callum Turner will attend the screening on Mon 26 Feb

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Man Proposes, God Disposes (N/C 15+)
2-3 March

Man Proposes, God Disposes (N/C 15+)

A dynamic, award-winning debut. Director Daniel Leo attends the screening on Fri 2 Mar.

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Lucky (N/C 15+)
25-26 February

Lucky (N/C 15+)

The late, great Harry Dean Stanton's swan song

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Liquid Truth (N/C 15+)
3-4 March

Liquid Truth (N/C 15+)

A timely exploration of the fall-out from an accusation of inappropriate behaviour.

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Keep the Change (N/C 15+)
22-23 February

Keep the Change (N/C 15+)

Charming New York City romantic comedy

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for High Fantasy (N/C 15+)
1-2 March

High Fantasy (N/C 15+)

Supernatural body-swapping dramedy explores race relations in South Africa

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Foxtrot (N/C 15+)
26-27 February

Foxtrot (N/C 15+)

​Israel’s official Oscar contender offers an intense, unflinching account of a family’s grief

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Find This Dumb Little #Bitch And Throw Her Into A River (N/C 18+)
2-3 March

Find This Dumb Little #Bitch And Throw Her Into A River (N/C 18+)

Chilling feature confronts responsibility and accountability in an Internet age

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Dayveon (N/C 15+)
26-27 February

Dayveon (N/C 15+)

A melancholy coming of age drama

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Columbus (N/C 12+)
22-23 February

Columbus (N/C 12+)

​Kogonada’s assured debut drama boasts style and substance

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Blue My Mind (N/C 18+)
24-27 February

Blue My Mind (N/C 18+)

A powerful coming of age body-horror

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Abundant Acreage Available (N/C 12+)
22-23 February

Abundant Acreage Available (N/C 12+)

A subtle, slow-burning family drama.

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
Image for Violeta at Last (N/C 12+)
3-4 March

Violeta at Last (N/C 12+)

Recently divorced, 72-year-old Violeta will stop at nothing to keep her home and her freedom

  • Part of a Festival Strand Pioneer
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