NRFF London 2016 Press Release


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August 11, 2016


Media Contact:

Massimo Barbato




One of the UK’s “top” film festivals to know about – METRO 01.08.16

Female Filmmakers from Sundance and Cannes in the line-up

New UK Voices 

Powerful International Drama

BAFTA award-winning director gives Masterclass

Festival Passes SOLD OUT but some tickets for screenings still available


One of the UK’s “top” film festivals to know about – METRO 01.08.16

LONDON, WEST END – The New Renaissance Film Festival (NRFF) will take place Saturday August 20, 2016 at the Courthouse Hotel in London’s West End. Indie filmmakers from all over the world, including young talent (aged 18-24), will have the chance to showcase their short film or documentary in this new UK festival. The London METRO described NRFF as “one of the UK’s top film festivals to know about”, alongside Raindance and Aesthetica. (O1.08.16)


Female Filmmakers from Sundance and Cannes in NRFF’s official line-up

NRFF is a festival for new stories and storytellers and in the line-up for Best Female Filmmaker are three strong contenders from the USA, Russia and China. They are:

SMOKE THAT TRAVELS / USA. Director: Kayla Briët. What happens when a story is forgotten? “Smoke That Travels” is a personal documentary by 2016 Sundance Film Festival Ignite Fellow Kayla Briët that explores preservation and loss of Native American culture and her own identity as Prairie Band Potawatomi.

THE PIGEON / RUSSIA. Director: Anna Smirnova. Based on a story by Patrick Suskind “The Pigeon”is about the fictional character Jonathan Noel, a solitary Parisien bank security guard who undergoes an existential  crisis when a pigeon roosts in front of his one-room apartment’s door, prohibiting him entrance to his private sanctuary. This will be the premier screening of director Anna Smirnova’s film in the UK.

FLAVOR OF THE MOON / CHINA. Director: Yan Zhang. A man whose marriage proposal is rejected, decides to unveil the unsolved legend of the moon in the little town where he is from, to win back his lover’s heart. “Flavor of the Moon” is a romantic comedy that examines human desire in an original way. The film was recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival.


New UK Voices 

Being a London festival, NRFF is especially proud to have a very strong collection of new UK filmmakers and films with strong themes, depth, and will engage you as an audience in a very emotional way. Here is an overview of the UK nominees for Best Narrative Short 2016:

ANOTHER LIFE. Director: Javid Rezai. This is a portrait of two young women over a single day, whose lives are interconnected by the story that one of them is writing. Jen lives in a world of abuse and finds solace in the stories that she writes. As her final chapter draws near, her perfect character Emma quickly unravels. “Another Life” is an original and deeply emotional story about loss and love, and writer / director Javid Rezai’s first time as a filmmaker. The two female leads, Sally Paffett (Jen) and Francesca Bailey give stand-out performances.

DARK LAUGH. Director: Michael McCarthy. Egg Man carries a magical, Teleporting YO-YO. Wannabe crook Hunter, Wants it! Caught in the middle is Dominik. All Running through London’s Soho Square! This fast-paced action comedy will have you laughing out loud. Recently selected into the Cannes Film Festival, Writer / director Michael McCarthy has previously worked on visual effects for several short motion pictures and directed promo music videos, which have given him the technical knowledge and inspiration to bring “Dark Laugh” to life.

DIEMBE. Director: Anderson West. A Kenyan teenager moves to the UK with high hopes only to be welcomed by bad weather, ignorant pupils and even worse, touchy girls. As he struggles to fit in at school, one unlikely friendship with a curious classmate is going to change everything. “Diembe” is a heart-warming story by director Anderson West, who drew upon his own experiences of racism growing up in a northern town.

HEAVY WEIGHT. Director: Jonny Ruff. When a talented new arrival begins using the local boxing club, Paris, a skilled and confident fighter, is forced to face the truth about his own emotional vulnerability. ‘Heavy Weight’ attempts to explore ideas around masculinity, attraction, vulnerability and what it is to be genuinely, emotionally expressive. It’s a gay-themed film and Chuku Modu and Jace Moody give emotionally intense performances. Both actors co-wrote the screenplay. Jonny Ruff is a director and producer of films, mostly fiction but also documentary. They have been screened at the BFI and London Short Film Festival, amongst other places.

MINISTRY OF GUILT. Director: Detsky Graffam. Sam Smith is woken by the late-night delivery of strange and threatening notes through his letterbox. Each note more disturbing than the last. What did you do, Sam? The clock is ticking. Time to confess. This darkly humorous short thriller by director, Detsky Graffam, is set against the nightmarish scenario of 24/7 surveillance, privacy invasion and those dark thoughts that keep us awake at night. Highly imaginative, “Ministry of Guilt” stars Alex Beckett (W1A, Twenty Twelve, Youth) as Sam.

PARIS IN THE RAIN. Director: Eli Hart. Ike reluctantly attends his father’s funeral, knowing full well that elsewhere, his girlfriend is minutes away from leaving him to pursue a better life in Tokyo. To add insult to injury, he gets lumped with his father’s large, ugly painting of a rainy street in Paris, and spends the rest of the day trying to dump it on someone else. “Paris in the Rain” is tragic and yet adopts a darkly funny view of the world. The film is a farewell message to director Eli Hart’s late Grandfather. The painting in the film was his and had been mounted above his fireplace for fifty years, becoming a significant image from Eli’s childhood.


Powerful International Drama 

Some breath-taking indie dramas from around the world will be screened at NRFF. Here’s a look at some of the International nominees for Best Narrative Short 2016.

3000 / AUSTRALIA. Director: Antonis Tsonis. When Leon’s best friend Ari shares tragic news about his battle with cancer, unemployed and desperate to help, Leon secretly decides to become a criminal to pay for more cancer treatments. Against the backdrop of contemporary Athens, Greece, Leon’s actions to save his best friend have irreversible consequences. Shot in black and white, “3000” stars Panos Natsis who makes his debut performance as Leon. The idea was conceived in Melbourne by Australian writer/director Antonis Tsonis and producers Tia Spanos Tsonis and Panagiotis Fafoutis. The drama comments on a topic poignant to them all – the current economic and social crisis in Greece.

LAIKA STARDUST / ITALY. Director:  Antonin Bobò.  This is an original science-fiction drama set in the household of an upper class Italian family. Each family member is captivated by their use of technology, almost to the point of obsession. When the boy becomes seriously ill, his mother begins to unravel and we discover the hidden truth behind her heartbreak… Two years in the making, “Laika Stardust” is directed and produced by– a pseudonym – and stars Tiziana Bozzacco who gives a convincing and emotional performance as the mother. This experimental film is not to be missed.

MINH TÂM / FRANCE. Director: Vincent Maury. At the age of 33, Minh Tâm has given up on love. Devoted to the education of her autistic son, overwhelmed by a domineering mother, she uses men just to escape briefly from daily life. Until the day she meets Olivier, who causes her to question her certainties. Writer / director Vincent Maury grew up in Paris where he developed a love for cinema. He is inspired by strong-willed characters and emotions, and chooses his projects with this perspective in mind. “Minh Tâm” is no exception, and Leanna Chea gives a powerful and poignant performance in the title role.

SITUATIONAL / USA. Director: Scott Simensen. After being prescribed his third antidepressant, Charlie returns home only to have his Craigslist roommate Miles toilet flush his pills and kidnap him to see a sunrise over the ocean. Tension mounts as the fast talking road trip drives us to the bottom of Charlie’s pain and to the impending sunrise on the coast, where life could begin or end, literally… And then there are chinchillas. “Situational” marks Scott Simonsen’s debut as a director (as well as producer and editor… and location scout and and wardrobe and crafts services…). He is a Winner of the prestigious Academy of Motion Pictures Nicholl Fellowship and an active member of the WGA (Writer’s Guild of America). The film stars Matt Devine (Charlie) and Michael Gazin (Miles). Both give phenomenal performances in this dialogue-rich drama.

THE DARK SIDE / ITALY. Director: Vincenzo Alfieri. Dr. Stanne, a child psychiatrist, is called to assess a unique and troubled case: a patient accused of murder following some of his ‘Patrols’, during which he dressed as a famous character from a comic book, the executioner ‘Rorshach’ . The psychiatrist, however, still cannot seem to find an answer to an apparently/ a seemingly simple question: What turns a man into a monster? Not for the squeamish, “The Dark Side” is an exceptional psychological thriller which delivers on every front. It was recently in the official selection of Nastri Argento 2016, one of the most important Italian awards. Writer, director and lead actor, Vincenzo Alfieri, drew inspiration from psychological studies in the 60’s and 70’s on the long-term effects of television on the American population, and The Aurora massacre that took place in 2012, in the town of Aurora (Colorado). One night a former medical student dressed in a riot suit, opened fire in a movie theatre during the screening of the premiere of the movie the “Dark Knight.” The attack killed 12 people and wounded 58.


BAFTA award-winning director gives Masterclass

Running alongside the festival will be a series of masterclasses delivered by industry experts, including executive producer  Peter Gerard Dunphy (Gizmo Films),  BBC screenwriting expert Ray Grewal, and BAFTA award-winning director Jonas Grimås. Grimås’ masterclass ‘Everything you need to know before you shout ACTION!!’ is based on his new book “The Film Director Prepares’ and will define the role of the director and the all-important relationship with the producer and the crew.


Festival Passes SOLD OUT but some tickets for screenings still available

Festival Passes are now SOLD OUT, however, there remains a limited number of tickets for screenings priced at £10 per block. Tickets can be purchased from the festival’s website. Information can be found here:


Festival Sponsors

The 2016 New Renaissance Film Festival Sponsors are:, Film Inquiry Magazine and InkTip.


About the New Renaissance Film Festival

Organised by JAN HENDRIK VERSTRATEN and MASSIMO BARBATO who are themselves filmmakers and writers, the New Renaissance Film Festival believes at the heart of every great film is a great story, one that will inspire an audience and hopefully help to shape culture in a positive way. “It is our passion to not only provide a stage for our filmmakers but also to strengthen the film community in London, by building an engaged audience through social media.” In the coming months, NRFF will be launching in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


For the complete Programme click here:

NRFF’s trailer:

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