Today’s announcement from the International Film Festival Rotterdam of the first seven films selected for the Hivos Tiger Awards Competition 2013 opens with a statement from IFFR Director Rutger Wolfson: “The films in last year’s Hivos Tiger Awards competition, like Clip, De jueves a domingo, Egg and Stone, or Neighbouring Sounds have collected great interest and prizes at festivals and theaters throughout the world. It looks as if we will be able to present an equally strong selection in our upcoming Hivos Tiger Awards Competition. These films are powerful and convincing. I expect these will become the breakthrough works for the young filmmakers.”
The lucky seven are:
Noche (Night), directed by Leonardo Brzezicki / Argentina, 2013 — World premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film, first feature film.
Penumbra, by Eduardo Villanueva / Mexico, 2013 — World premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film, second feature film. Synopsis: “An experienced old and poor hunter shows us his captive world within a rural Mexico lost in time: A place where suspense and mystery-loaded atmospheres will be very present, creating in his mind a fascinating and illusory world together with the spirits of the forest.”
It Felt Like Love, by Eliza Hitmann / USA, 2013 — International premiere, first feature film. Director’s statement: “With It Felt Like Love, I wanted to show outtakes from childhood: the lonely moments, the surges of false confidence, and small humiliating details that are often buried in our memories.”
Larzanandeye charbi (Fat Shaker), by Mohammad Shirvani / Iran, 2012 — European premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film, second feature film.
Halley, by Sebastián Hofmann / Mexico, 2012 — European premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film, first feature film. Synopsis: “Alberto is dead and can no longer hide it. Make-up and perfume can no longer conceal his quickly decomposing body. Dismayed, he decides to withdraw from the world. But before surrendering to his living death, Alberto forms an unusual friendship with Luly, the manager of the 24-hour gym where he works as a night guard.”
Soldate Jeannette (Soldier Jane), by Daniel Hoesl / Austria, 2012 — European premiere, first feature film. Synopsis: “Fanni has had enough of money and leaves to buy a tent. Anna has had enough of pigs and leaves the farmer—one needle in the hay. In the new game Fanni rolls the dice while Anna does not think twice—she knocks down all the pins. Together they raise their voice and shape one mutual tune. Differences attract each other, and jolly they move on—together on their distinct journeys, where their dreams are set—towards a new found liberty.”
36, by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit / Thailand, 2012 — European premiere, first feature film, Busan New Currents Award co-winner. Description: “Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s experimental film consists of 36 static camera shots that tell a story of how we store memories in the digital era. Sai, a location scout working for a studio, takes pictures whenever she’s working and stores them on her computer. One day, she finds out that she has lost all the files saved on her laptop and sets about trying to restore them with help from an old friend, Kai. The film hinges on Sai’s missing photo files, but the main character is not a person: Memories stored on digital devices and disappearing old buildings are the main characters. The film portrays memories in a very dry way, suggesting our memories are as unstable as old buildings, liable to disappear if someone loses a snapshot. We cannot guess when stored memories might be lost. The past is important to Sai, and one of the reasons why Sai and Oom, an art director who goes location hunting with her, fail to recognize each other’s feeling is, ironically, perhaps their insensitivity to the present.”
I’ll be adding more notes on the films over the next few days. Meantime, the 42nd IFFR runs from January 23 through February 3.
Update, 12/2: From the IFFR: “Completing this year’s Boost! edition, projects by Michel Lipkes (Mexico) and Teboho Edkins (South Africa) have been added to those by Pablo Stoll (Uruguay), Ognjen Glavonic (Serbia) and Gurvinder Singh (India) selected earlier this year.”