Post-Punk Coming-of-Age Comedy ‘Head South’ to Open International Film Festival Rotterdam

Jonathan Ogilvie’s post-punk coming-of-age comedy “Head South” will open the 53rd International Film Festival Rotterdam on Jan. 25, with the festival running until Feb. 4.

Ogilvie’s semi-autobiographical film is set in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1979 where a private schoolboy becomes desperately enamored with all things post-punk. The director’s last film, thriller “Lone Wolf,” screened in the festival’s Big Screen competition section in 2021.

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Vanja Kaludjercic, IFFR festival director, said: “With ‘Head South,’ Jonathan Ogilvie returns to the festival with an unpredictable coming-of-age story that delights in its shifting tone. Quirkiness and nostalgia become sober and thoughtful, only to turn exuberant and then something else again, in a fitting tribute to post-punk subculture. Ogilvie is the kind of filmmaker we cherish at IFFR: those for whom the art is, above all, an adventure of discovery.”

Other films to have their world premieres at the Dutch festival include Indian filmmaker Ishan Shukla’s dystopian sci-fi animation “Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust,” and U.S. director Billy Woodberry’s “Mário,” a documentary biography of Mário de Andrade, a key figure in African independence struggles.

“Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust,” which runs in the Bright Future program of feature debuts, is set in a ultra-regulated society in which the citizens wear paper bags on their heads to disguise their differences. The voice cast includes actors Golshifteh Farahani and Asia Argento, as well as filmmakers Gaspar Noé and Lav Diaz. New Europe Film Sales is handling world sales.

“Mário” tells the story of the Angolan-born writer and nationalist leader De Andrade, who was central in struggles for pan-African independence. It poses the question: Are even the best and brightest revolutionary movements doomed to inevitable compromise, betrayal and failure? The film screens in Harbour, the festival’s largest and broadest program.

Among other films announced are the European premieres of “So Unreal” by Amanda Kramer, “Elegies” by Ann Hui, and Egypt’s Oscar submission Omar Hilal’s “Voy! Voy! Voy!”

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