Filipino director Maria Diane Ventura’s Deine Farbe will have its much-awaited U.S. premiere at this year’s Soho International Film Festival. And it’s not just as another face in the crowd, but as the opening film under the World Feature banner during opening night happening via livestream on Thursday, at 6:30 p.m. EST.
Besting almost a hundred hopefuls for the inaugural honors, Ventura’s interracial friendship drama is one of only two front-facers (the other being an American feature) during the festival’s kick-off. After that, Deine Farbe will have two regular screenings: on Oct. 15 at 12:00 nn, and once more on Oct. 22 at 11:45 p.m..
The SIFFNYC is a decorated independent film body with a pan-continental scope and a pledge to “[celebrate] cutting-edge digital technology while honoring traditional forms of storytelling.” Its expansive and discerning curation has made it a much-buzzed-about cinema gathering, with notables such as Octavia Spencer, Danny Aiello, Adam Brody, Pierce Brosnan, Joe Jonas, and Sean Young, among many others, being spotted in attendance.
Deine Farbe, Ventura’s first international film feature, tells the story of small-town friends Karl (Jannik Schümann) and Albert (Nyamandi Adrian), whose attempts to bolt from their humdrum existence in search of greater things reveal differences deeper than what is readily apparent. It is not so much a cautionary tale of zeros vying to be heroes—or a pair of Icarus archetypes edging precariously near the sun—but a startling look at the wedge of ambition that can drive lifelong comrades apart.
Ventura’s previous film Mulat — shot in four days while she was essentially still in film schoo l— earned her accolades from International Film Festival Manhattan and World Cinema Brazil, among other esteemed bodies.
“I dream of making films in places whose cultures differ from my own. Ultimately, I want to prove that despite our fundamental differences, emotional experiences are universal,” Ventura says. And she delivers on that goal with aplomb in Deine Farbe, which has also previously exhibited in Berlin and New Delhi.
The cultural journey of Deine Farbe is a curiosity that begs scrutiny: a Filipino-directed vehicle starring German actors, it was shot on location in the performers’ native country, but also partly in vibrant Barcelona. It is a latent commentary not just on race or immigration, but also on the great lengths people go to be heard and felt in the age of social media.
After a successful turn at Wim Wenders’ fabled Hofer Filmtage in Germany, Deine Farbe’s U.S. premiere via the Soho International Film Festival is surely an inspired and inspiring turn of events for the humble production. In a recent sit-down with legendary magazine NME, Ventura says she still very much identifies as an upstart, noting, “I’m just an independent filmmaker still trying to navigate her way into this world.”
The anticipation surrounding Deine Farbe is much-deserved, and nods from around the globe abound: Best Woman Filmmaker and Best Feature for the Vegas Film Awards; Best Director and Best Actor at Calella Film Festival in Spain. Best Cinematography and Best Feature for the Canadian Cinematography Awards; Best Ensemble Cast for Couch Film Festival in Toronto; and a citation at Canada’s Cyrus Film Festival.
The film has also secured official selection status and is set to be in competition in various territories: at Cardiff International Film Festival in the UK; Spanish film festival L’Hospitalet De Llobregat in Barcelona; the Lonely Wolf Film Festival and Gold Movie Awards in London; the Diorama International Film Festival in New Delhi, India; and the Geelong Underground Film Festival in Australia. In the U.S., celebrated cinema entities like the Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival, the New Filmmakers NY Festival, the New York Movie Awards, and Skiptown Playhouse International Film Festival also took notice. Technical honors at the European Cinematography Awards and the New York Cinematography Awards are also in the bag.
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