Discovery Film Festival 2023: 5 Films to See

Discovery Film Festival, which turns 20 this year, is back with an ambitious programme of films, shorts, events and workshops for young people and family audiences. Here are five picks from the international feature films on offer

Feature by Jamie Dunn | 09 Oct 2023
  • Dancing Queen

The Sleeping Beast

(Dir. Jaak Kilmi)

The imagination of youth blends with the harsh reality of adulthood in this evocative coming-of-age film from Estonia. The film follows a gang of adolescents who are whiling away the summer by hanging out at an abandoned factory, only for a freak accident to put the young teens in a difficult predicament. Like Lord of the Flies, Jaak Kilmi's film asks what happens to children’s morality when left to their own devices. 22 Oct, 11am


(Dir. Kajsa Næss)

A true-life expedition to the North Pole is told through the eyes of an adorable dog in this gorgeous 2D animation from Norway. This captivating tale tells how Italian aviator Umberto Nobile teamed up with Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen for an epic journey across the polar ice cap, and acts as a reminder that animation for young people doesn’t have to be hyperactive and candy-coloured. 29 Oct, 11am

The Worst Ones

(Dirs. Lise Akoka, Romane Gueret)

Middle-class Parisian filmmakers descend on a working-class coastal town to cast a bunch of socially deprived adolescents for a film, only to get wrapped up in the kids’ messy lives. Blending the chaotic production with snippets of the 'gritty' film they are making, this delightfully metatextual work will have you questioning the whole notion of 'authenticity' in social realist filmmaking. 29 Oct, 6pm

Dancing Queen

(Dir. Aurora Gossé)

This irresistible gem from Norway follows a geeky 12-year-old girl who becomes infatuated with a famous hip-hop dancer who moves to her town, and decides to audition for his show – despite the fact she has two left feet. It’s been described as Napoleon Dynamite meets Pitch Perfect meets John Hughes, which sounds pretty cool to us. 5 Nov, 11am


(Dir. Arturo Castro Godoy)

From Argentina, this moving, deeply humanist film centres on Damián, a self-sufficient 11 year-old who’s suddenly taken into care by the authorities, and we follow him as he slowly adjusts to his new situation. Rinoceronte doesn’t sugar-coat the realities of Damián’s life but there are flecks of hope within the darkness; a rare film about social care that manages to be neither judgemental, patronising nor sentimental. 5 Nov, 6pm

Discovery Film Festival runs 21 Oct-5 Nov at Dundee Contemporary Arts; all screenings pay-what-you-can, £0-8
Read the full programme at