Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IFFR Closes Its 48th Edition and Zhu Shengze Won the Tiger Award

Last Sunday, after twelve days filled with the best of worldwide independent cinema, the International Film Festival Rotterdam closed.

  • 2019 festival’s motto was 'feel IFFR'
  • 500+ films - including 146 (festival) world premières.
  • 327,000 visitors
  • 2,400 film professionals
  • 337 directors

Zhu Shengze won the Tiger Award with her "Present.Perfect.", a film that – according to the jury – “takes audiences to places we’ve never been” and which “expands the cinema’s language with new grammar”. "Take Me Somewhere Nice" by the Dutch Ena Sendijarević won the Special Jury Award for “portraying a journey with a unique and exacting personal vision”. Aya Koretzky’s "A volta ao mundo quando tinhas 30 anos" won the Bright Future Award, Anna Eborns' "Transnistra" won the VPRO Big Screen Award, and Nadine Labaki’s "Capharnaüm" won the BankGiro Loterij Audience Award. Finally, a celebration of the power of short film in the Ammodo Tiger Short Competition. We presented three equal prizes to Wong Ping's "Fables 1" by Wong Ping, "Ultramarine" by Vincent Meessen, and "Freedom of Movement" by Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sanim, all of which take home the Ammodo Tiger Short Award.

And The Winners Are…

The juries have pondered, the votes are in and the winners of 2019 IFFR Pro prizes are:



International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has announced the award winners of its 48th edition. Zhu Shengze won the Tiger Award for her film "Present.Perfect.," a USA/Hong Kong co-production. Dutch filmmaker Ena Sendijarević won the Special Jury Award for "Take Me Somewhere Nice". Audience favourite "Capharnaüm" by Nadine Labaki won the BankGiro Loterij Audience Award. The VPRO Big Screen Award was awarded to "Transnistra" by Anna Eborn from Sweden.

Aya Koretzky’s "A volta ao mundo quando tinhas 30 anos" won the Bright Future Award for best feature-film debut. The Bright Future jury gave a special mention to "Historia de mi nombre" by Karin Cuyul. "La Flor (Parte 2)" by Argentine filmmaker Mariano Llinás picked up the Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award.
In congratulating all winners, festival director Bero Beyer said: “These filmmakers don’t just show that independent cinema is alive and kicking, but that they are able to explore new cinematic grounds. We thank them for their courage and passion.”

The FIPRESCI Award from the international film critics went to "End of Season" by Elmar Imanov. The KNF Award, presented by the Circle of Dutch Film Journalists, went to "Tarde para morir joven" by Dominga Sotomayor.
"Last Night I Saw You Smiling" by Kavich Neang won the NETPAC Award for best Asian film premiering at the festival. The winner of the IFFR Youth Jury Award is "Lazzaro felice" by Alice Rohrwacher from Italy. Filipe Martins won the Voices Short Award for "Casa de vidro" and "Kodak" by Andrew Norman Wilson won the Found Footage Award.

Details on the awards
Tiger Competition
The Tiger Award is IFFR’s most prestigious award and includes a prize of €40,000 to be divided between filmmaker and producer. The Tiger jury also chooses an outstanding artistic achievement within the Tiger competition to receive a Special Jury Award worth €10,000.
Winner Tiger Award: Present.Perfect. by Zhu Shengze (USA/Hong Kong)
Jury report: “A daring film that takes us to places where we have never been, brings to light characters that want and need to be seen, expanding the language of cinema to a new grammar, using the new found footage of this millennium.”
Winner Special Jury Award: Take Me Somewhere Nice by Ena Sendijarević (Netherlands/Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Jury report: “The exceptional artistic achievement is for the director who portrayed a journey through a unique and very precise personal vision with humor and a deep sense of history.”
Jury: Alfredo Jaar, Daniela Michel, Susanna Nicchiarelli, Pimpaka Towira, Katriel Schory
Bright Future Award
Filmmakers presenting the world or international premiere of their first feature-length film in the Bright Future Main Programme are eligible for the Bright Future Award worth €10,000.
Winning film: A volta ao mundo quando tinhas 30 anos by Aya Koretzky (Portugal)
Special mention: Historia de mi nombre by Karin Cuyul (Chile/Brazil)
Jury report: “The jury wants to give a special mention to Historia de mi nombre, a documentary relating to a personal story and the history of a country underlining at the same time the importance of images to preserve memory. However, the Bright Future Award goes to A volta ao mundo quando tinhas 30 anos, a film about gardening and travelling, about openness and curiosity. A strong cinematic approach to an intimate and poetic journey with a superb sound design merging perfectly with the images in every second.”
Jury: Sata Cissokho, Beatrice Fiorentina, Christoph Friedel
VPRO Big Screen Award
The winner of the VPRO Big Screen Award is chosen by an audience jury of five film fanatics. The film wins a guaranteed release in Dutch theatres and will be broadcast on Dutch public television channel NPO 2. Of the €30,000 in prize money, €15,000 is spent on the winning film’s theatrical release and €15,000 goes towards the production of the filmmaker’s next project.
Winning film: Transnistra by Anna Eborn (Sweden)
Jury report: “A beautiful, intimate portrait. The amazing characters in this coming-of-age film made us relive our own memories through recognisable themes such as self-assertiveness and feeling lost, being in love and feeling reckless. The director managed to capture these feelings making excellent use of colour, shots and great music. This movie proves it’s possible to accomplish great things with little resources. We can’t wait to see the director’s next move.”
Jury: Vlada Brenici, Annelies Groot, Keston Pollard, Dorien Riswick-Keultjes, Marinko Saponja
BankGiro Loterij Audience Award
Using tear-to-vote cards, visitors rate the films after the screening. The film with the highest rating at the end of the festival wins the BankGiro Loterij Audience Award worth €10,000.
Winning film: Capharnaüm by Nadine Labaki (Lebanon)
Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award
The highest-rated film supported by the Hubert Bals Fund wins the Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award worth €10,000.
Winning film: La Flor (Parte 2) by Mariano Llinás (Argentina)
Voices Short Award
The Voices Short Award is for narrative-driven short films from the festival’s Voices section. IFFR 2019 screened five different Voices Short compilations, totalling over 20 films from 18 countries. The audience chose the winner (prize money €2,500) using voting cards.
Winning film: Casa de vidro by Filipe Martins (Portugal)
The FIPRESCI Award is given to the filmmaker of the best film among all the world premieres in Bright Future (excluding the Tiger Competition), by the jury of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique (FIPRESCI).
Winning film: End of Season by Elmar Imanov (Germany/Azerbaijan/Georgia)
Jury report: “For its deeply mysterious depiction of familial disintegration, its frequently surprising narrative angularity, and its refreshingly evocation of a world in which every home is a private chamber of frustrated desire – most especially for women.”
Jury: Kristin Aalen, Renata Habets, Rasha Hosny, José Antonio Teodoro, Giovanni Vimercati
The NETPAC Award is awarded to the best Asian feature film world premiering at IFFR 2019 by a jury from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema.
Winning film: Last Night I Saw You Smiling by Kavich Neang (Cambodia/France)
Jury report: “Putting people in front of politics, this visually poised and polished documentary is a brave attempt in revealing the collapse of a society undergoing drastic transformation. At once specific in terms of the place it is set in but also universal in its reflections of how disenfranchised people confront the past and the present, the filmmaker invites the audience to enter both the soul of his family and also that of his country.”
Jury: Diana Ashimova, Lee Sang-yong, Clarence Tsui
KNF Award
The KNF Award is given to the best Dutch, or Dutch co-produced, feature film at IFFR. The winner is selected by a jury of the ‘Circle of Dutch Film Journalists’.
Winning film: Tarde para morir joven by Dominga Sotomayor (Chile/Brazil/Argentina/Netherlands/Qatar)
Jury report: “We would like to award the modest honour of the prize from the Dutch film critics to a film that is also modest but at the same time incredibly broad in its recognisability: a story that is set almost twenty years ago, but is just as pungent today. Under the steady and impressive direction the leading role is played by an incredible talent, in this sensory coming-of-age film. As Mazzy Star sang in ‘Fade Into You’, we faded into Tarde para morir joven and wanted to stay in this moment with the protagonist played by Demian Hernández forever.”
Jury: Sacha Gertsik, Omar Larabi, Jim Pedd, Jasper Tonnon, Alexander Zwart
IFFR Youth Jury Award
The film that makes the biggest impression on this jury of young people is awarded the IFFR Youth Jury Award.
Winning film: Lazzaro felice by Alice Rohrwacher (Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany)
Jury report: “After a long and passionate discussion, we are happy as Lazzaro to present the IFFR Youth Jury Award to Alice Rohrwacher for her outstanding achievement: Lazzaro felice. A surreal experience, Lazzaro felice fits perfectly with this year’s theme: feel IFFR. The original and allegorical story about the pure and innocent Lazzaro moved us. We were captivated by Hélène Louvart’s cinematography, carried away by the soundtrack, detailed characters and Rohrwacher’s masterful direction. We believe that Lazzaro will inspire a future audience to be more humane and reflect on their daily experiences and interactions. It is not only an enchanting film experience, but also a beautiful depiction of humanity and the course of its progress.”
Jury: Jildou Loskamp, Marie Liland, Sofia Rosa Milošević, Sonia Shvets, Michael Slootweg
Found Footage Award
The Found Footage Award is granted to a filmmaker who has made outstanding use of archive material. The award, worth €2,500, is supported by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
Winning film: Kodak by Andrew Norman Wilson (USA)
Jury report: “For its innovative use of a very diverse range of archival audio and visual sources; for its dense and layered framing of these materials; for the way it weaves together a family narrative with the broader history of an industry; for its poetic, literary and historical ambition in chronicling the trajectory of an entire medium; for pushing cinematic, narrative and theoretical boundaries in the use of found footage.”
Jury: Eric Baudelaire, Tom de Smet, James Steffen.

Dutch Post-production Awards

Two projects each win a cash prize of €50,000, with a surplus of €5,000 in kind, to be spent on post-production in the Netherlands.

Days of Cannibalism by Teboho Edkins

Citation: The jury were struck by this smart, funny, fascinating and innovative documentary. And were impressed by the way director is creating a documentary using a fiction narrative to produce a film that goes beyond pretense.

Lotus Position by Liu Shu

Citation: Inspired by the tradition of the Hubert Bals Fund to support urgent and remarkable films the jury were moved to use this prize where it could be most effective and make a real difference. In this case, we chose to support a courageous filmmaker to complete her film which without this support may not be realised.

The Dutch Post-production Awards are a collaboration between the Netherlands Film Fund, the Hubert Bals Fund and the Netherlands Post-production Alliance.

Eurimages Co-production Development Award

€20,000 prize for a project that is, or will be, a European co-production.

Stillborn by Olga Chajdas (Poland)

Citation: There was a very vivid discussion among the jury members, but in the end we unanimously chose a project which reflects on recent European history and is carried by a female character with a young and vibrant heart. A national story with an international impact. The director’s visual style, her determination and approach to the recent history of her nation makes the jury confident that this film will travel over many borders.”

Filmmore Post-production Award

This post-production award by Visual Effects & Post Production lab Filmmore comes with a €7,500 cash prize.

A House in Jerusalem by Muayad Alayan (Palestine)

Citation: A House in Jerusalem sets out as an ordinary film about a girl who, after the death of her mother, longs for the happy past while facing a painful future. Soon the film is injected with supernatural elements. The loss of a doll sets in motion a search for the mother of a ghost. Present and past, realism and supernatural, A House in Jerusalem is a powerful story about universal human experiences, told through the innocent eyes of children.”

ARTEKino International Prize

Valued at €6,000 and awarded to the producer of the best CineMart project to support its financial development.

La fiebre by Mateo Bendesky (Argentina)

Citation: The film is a tale of adolescence and discovery of personal freedom. It tells the story of a teenager oppressed by her strict and religious family who tries to escape this oppressive environment. This important contemporary subject is treated with an original and convincing artistic vision.”

Wouter Barendrecht Award

This prize of €5,000 is awarded by CineMart in conjunction with the Wouter Barendrecht Film Foundation to a filmmaker under the age of 35 who has directed three or fewer films.

La hija de todas las rabias by Laura Baumeister (Nicaragua/France)

Citation: The first feature in Nicaragua made by Nicaraguans. An at first sight totally depressing topic loses its heaviness by the general approach, written from the point of view of a young but resilient girl ready to turn dystopia into a manageable reality.

BoostNL Audience Award

For this new award worth €2,500, the Big Screen Jury (an audience jury of five film fans) picked a winner among the BoostNL projects presented during the BoostNL Spotlight event.

When We Lost to the Germans by Guido van Driel (The Netherlands)

Citation: We really want to emphasise that there has been quite a lot of back and forth while trying to make a decision. It was all very close! There were definitely several projects that really deserved it, but in the end, the three of us came to one project which was the one we talked about most. That’s what closed the deal.

HeYou Media VR Award

Including a prize of €1000

Cosmos Within Us by Tupac Martir

Citation: The jury was impressed with this ambitious project and said "we cannot not be behind it." It is clearly pushing all boundaries, is very well thought through and tackles a difficult theme in such a way that it completely lends itself to be made in VR.

IFFR Pro head Marit van den Elshout commented after the awards: "This year we added four more awards, which reflects IFFR Pro’s increasing and serious engagement with project development, and continued commitment to the realisation of HBF projects from all corners of the globe. These are all very worthy winners whose cinematic vision is unique and indicative of a considerable talent. We can’t wait to see their progress towards success at top festivals and on the international sales and distribution circuit."


Click here for all the reports.

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