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TIFF 2019 14-20 January

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January 14-20 2019

GIRL POWER

Amandla Stenberg in THE HATE U GIVE (2018)
A side program with a big focus on strong and engaging stories about young women.

Five films all about young girls in their search for their own identity. The films offer exciting situations, where crossroads in life and questioning who determines your life, are some of the central themes.

- These are all films with compelling stories about youth that is appropriate for all ages, ranging from high school students to adults, says Festival Director Martha Otte.

The Hate U Give - Chillingly relevant

In THE HATE U GIVE we meet sixteen year-old Starr who's split between two worlds. On the one hand, she lives in Garden Heights, a low-income, predominantly African-American neighborhood where her father – a former drug dealer – runs a local grocery store. On the other, she attends a preppy private high school across town. Her fellow students are mostly white and from wealthy families. She has managed to keep the two worlds separate, but when a childhood friend is shot by police, with her as the sole witness, things start falling apart.

- The film is about her awakening and journey to find out who she really is, says the director of the film George Tillmann Jr.

Starr must decide whether to testify or stay silent. Both alternatives come with a cost. Based on the bestselling novel by Angie Thomas, this captivating and highly relevant drama highlights the overt and the subtle injustices that certain segments of the American population must grow up with. A chillingly relevant film, which is both American and global, complex and thought provoking.

Rising star Amandla Stenberg (THE HUNGER GAMES) delivers a remarkable performance in the lead role. Watch her and several of the film's actors talk about the film's message here:

Other films in the programme are:

EIGHT GRADE

Being a teenager in 2018 is the same as it always has been – but also totally different. For thirteen-year-old Kayla this means being constantly attached to her cellphone, taking in the world through social media while coping with the challenges of adolescence and the terrifying world of middle school. This precise depiction of contemporary adolescence should be painfully relatable to current and former teenagers alike.

 - In the way he perfectly captures our imperfect adolescence, his directorial debut "Eighth Grade" makes awkward kids everywhere feel a little less alone (Roger Ebert i Sundance Review).

COMMUNION

Anna Zamecka's documentary COMMUNION takes us into the midst of an unorthodox, fractured family in the build-up to the eponymous religious event. Hyperactive, autistic Nikodem is the one (somewhat reluctantly) preparing for his first communion, but the main focus of the film is really his 14-year-old sister Ola – for whom the expression "growing up fast" could have been coined. Forced to take over household responsibilities when her mother Magda departed the scene, fed up with her husband Marek's alcoholism, Ola is by some measure the most mature and competent individual on view here. Denied the everyday pleasures enjoyed by her high-school peers, Ola instead dreams of the day when her mother might return – and hopes that Nikodem's communion might possibly help repair long-burned emotional bridges. 

THE FIREFLIES ARE GONE 

Eighteen-year-old Léo yearns to get out of her small Canadian town. Though she is intelligent and a good student, she shows no eagerness to live up to her potential. Instead she initiates a friendship with the underachieving rocker Steve, who is twice her age and still lives in his mother´s basement. Léo takes her misanthropy out on everyone, but in particular her stepfather as he, years earlier, had forced her beloved father out of town following a labor union dispute. She thinks she has everyone figured out, but gradually learns that the circumstances are somewhat more complex than she realized. THE FIREFLIES ARE GONE is a warm and honest depiction of people that in one way or another feel stuck in their lives.

MAKI'LA

Maki became an orphan at 13, and a few years later she has not only survived, but also wields some power on the streets of Kinshasa. She is married to the gang leader Mbingazor and controls a group of street kids who steal for her in exchange for protection and supplies. Things begin to turn sour when Maki takes the younger Acha under her wing, and Mbingazor, suspecting that the women are more than just friendly, succumbs to his jealousy. MAKI’LA is an intimate and deeply authentic depiction that acknowledges both the brightness and darkness of a life in struggle.

See the full programme here.

Tromsø International Film Festival is held for the 29th time from January 14 to 20, 2019.​  

The full film programme is released on Friday 14th of December.