World Premiere: SAT, 5 August – 21:30, Piazza Grande

Press Screening: FR, August 4 – 23:30, Teatro Kursaal

Screenings here

Teaser here

Directors Richard Karpala and Gabriel Bienczycki are available for interviews in Locarno.

FALLING STARS the debut feature film by writer / director Richard Karpala (IRIS) and Gabriel Bienczycki (NOWHERE BAND) is celebrating its World Premiere in the Piazza Grande Competition at the Locarno International Film Festival 2023.

FALLING STARS is set in the California desert, a wind-blasted badland where the stars in the sky are fraught with danger. In this puritanical, fervently religious American West dominated by ritual and old sins passed down across generations, three brothers are facing the costs of coming-of-age, of leaving home and venturing off into the unknown.

It’s the night of the first harvest which means sacrifices are performed to placate witches in the sky. These are usually offerings in the form of fruits and herbs. For three brothers living in the American West, this year’s harvest will be different. When they discover a friend of theirs has buried a witch he killed, they ventured out to the desert to see it for themselves. During their visit, they accidentally desecrate the body which sets into motion a sequence of perilous events for the brothers. The only way they can put a stop to a curse set upon their family is to burn the witch’s body before sunrise.

Richard Karpala is the writer, co-director, editor and producer of FALLING STARS. His screen- writing feature debut, AMOK (2017, dir. Kasia Adamik) premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and was distributed in Poland by Kino Świat and Netflix Polska. His shorts include the sci-fi thriller IRIS (2015), which premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival and was acquired for the horror anthology, GALAXY OF HORRORS (2017) available on major SVOD everywhere. More recent shorts include MURDERABILIAC (2019) which premiered at Beyond Fest, and PSYCHOS (2021) which premiered at Fantastic Fest.

Gabriel Bienczycki (co-director, producer), born in Poland, studied music, fine arts and modern dance. FALLING STARS is his feature-length directorial debut. Recent projects include feature narrative and documentary films, commercial campaigns, music video and humanitarian assignments. Recent work includes a Tribeca selection feature FREEDIA GOT A GUN (2020, dir. Chris McKim), Emmy® winning feature OUT OF IRAQ (2016, dir. Chris McKim), feature length gangster comedy MAYDAY (2020, dir. Sam Akina) and Tribeca and Berlinale official se- lection ALL ON A MARDI GRAS DAY (2019, dir. Michal Pietrzyk) now streaming at The New Yorker.

FALLING STARS is produced by Latarka Studio and Zebra Visual, USA.

International sales are handled by Raven Banner Entertainment. North American sales rights are handled by XYZ.


80 min. / USA 2023 / Color / Feature

International Sales:
Raven Banner Entertainment / https://ravenbannerentertainment.com



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