The main (international) competition of the festival has included 9 films produced by 13 countries: Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Serbia, Sudan, Switzerland, Turkey, and France. All the participating films will have their first screenings in Russia, but almost all of them have been featured and recognized at major international film festivals.

Black Dog by the Chinese director Hu Guan received the main prize of Un Certain Regard program of Cannes Film Festival (and the dog Sin, which played the main part, won the Grand Prix of the unofficial, but quite popular, Palm Dog competition). Another Chinese film, A Woman, by Wang Chao was recognized for its best scenario at the 70th San Sebastian International Festival. Sidonie in Japan by the French director and scriptwriter Élise Girard featuring Isabelle Huppert and August Diehl (who played Woland in Master and Margaret, which made quite a stir) was presented in the parallel program of Venice Film Festival.

Ivo by Eva Torbsich, a drama about the feelings between a palliative ward care nurse and its female patient, participated in the Encounters program of 74th Berlin Film Festival. Goodbye Julia by Mohamed Kordofani participated in Un Certain Regard program of Cannes Film Festival and is an Oscar nominee as The Best Foreign Film of Sudan. The Festival's competition also includes the Serbian social drama 78 Days by Emilija Gašić, which participated in Rotterdam International Film Festival and won the Best Film Prize at the Cyprus Film Days, and the Turkish drama Hayat (Life) of the well-known independent filmmaker Zeki Demirkubuz telling a story of a young lady who did not yield to the life imposed on her and ran away from home. The film was featured at Saloniki Film Festival and received the Best Supporting Actor Prize of the Turkish Film Critics Association (SIYAD).
The two Russian films, Father and Son by Ilya Zimin, whose native town is Ivanovo, based on Vasily Shukshin's story about the clash of two generations, mercy and cruelty, and the Yakutian mystical Cuckoo by Evgeny Nikolaev, will have their premiere screenings at the Zerkalo.