American Indie Competition 2016

Presenting the official competition of the 11th Leiden International Film Festival

2016 marks the fourth year of the American Indie Competition at the Leiden International Film Festival. With the competition, we try to discover new and exiting voices in American Independent cinema. Previous winners of the competition are:

2015 — Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon 
2014 — Whiplash by Damien Chazelle
2013 — Short Term 12 by Destin Cretton

First Girl I Loved

The 2016 competition:

FIRST GIRL I LOVED
dir. Kerem Sanga
Seventeen-year-old Anne just fell in love with Sasha, the most popular girl at her L.A. public high school. But when Anne tells her best friend, Clifton — who has always harbored a secret crush on her — he does his best to get in the way.

LOVESONG
dir. So Yong 
Sarah (Riley Keough), a young mother, raises her precocious daughter in their country home while feeling abandoned by her husband, who perpetually travels for work. When Sarah’s old friend Mindy (Jena Malone) comes to visit, they decide to take a road trip, and after an alcohol-infused heart-to-heart, a long unspoken intimacy emerges between the longtime friends.

FROM NOWHERE
dir. Matthew Newton
Nearing their high school graduation, three undocumented Bronx teenagers navigate the difficulties of adolescence while living with the threat of being discovered by the authorities and their friends.

BORN TO BE BLUE
dir. Robert Budreau
Born to be Blue is a re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker’s life in the 60’s. When Chet (with talent to burn and movie-star looks that have him dubbed the “James Dean of Jazz“) stars in a film about himself, a romance heats up with the African American female lead, the enigmatic Jane.

SWISS ARMY MAN
dir. The Daniels
Hank, a hopeless man stranded in the wild, discovers a mysterious dead body. Together the two embark on an epic journey to get home. As Hank realizes the body is the key to his survival, this once-suicidal man is forced to convince a dead body that life is worth living.

GOAT
dir. Andrew Neel
Reeling from a terrifying assault, a 19-year-old boy enrolls in the same college as his brother and pledges his fraternity. Swept up in a world of shotgunning beer, all-night ragers, and hooking-up with nameless coeds, a protective shell forms to mask his insecurities. But as the hazing escalates in the name of “brotherhood,” his loyalty to his brother is tested in brutal ways.

AMERICAN PASTORAL
dir. Ewan McGregor
American Pastoral follows Seymour “Swede” Levov, a legendary high school athlete, who grows up to marry a former beauty queen and inherits his father’s business. Swede’s seemingly perfect life shatters when his daughter rebels by becoming a revolutionary and committing a deadly act of political terrorism during the Vietnam War.

TRANSPECOS
dir. Greg Kwedar
On a remote desert highway a makeshift Border Patrol checkpoint is manned by three agents: Flores (Gabriel Luna): with an uncanny ability to track; Davis (Johnny Simmons): joined the Border Patrol with dreams of romancing señoritas and riding on horseback; Hobbs (Clifton Collins Jr): one of the old guard who believes a college degree can’t stop a bullet.

AS YOU ARE
dir. Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
Set in the early 1990’s, As You Are is the telling and retelling of a relationship between three teenagers as it traces the course of their friendship through a construction of disparate memories prompted by a police investigation.

KICKS
dir. Justin Tipping
When his hard-earned kicks get snatched by a local hood, 15-year-old Brandon and his two best friends go on an illadvised mission across the Bay Area to retrieve the stolen sneakers.

JOSHY
dir. Jeff Baena
Josh treats what would have been his bachelor party as an opportunity to reconnect with his friends.

BURN YOUR MAPS
dir. Jordan Roberts
A family in emotional turmoil is taken by surprise in this quirky adventure where an eccentric 8-year-old American boy, Wes, has an existential epiphany — He believes that he is in fact a Mongolian goat herder.


Founded in 2006, the Leiden International Film Festival (LIFF) has become one of the leading film festivals in the Netherlands showcasing feature films that examine the border between art-house and mainstream from all over the world.

With its American Indie Competition, LIFF aims to discover and cultivate an audience for today’s emerging American filmmakers in the Netherlands.

The 11th edition of LIFF will be from October 28 till November 6.