The International Film Festival Rotterdam has announced that, following November’s initial round of eight, the lineup for the Hivos Tiger Awards Competition is now complete. 16 films in all, competing for three awards. The jury: Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamedarya, who’s been banned from acting for the past two years, Russian director Sergei Loznitsa, Dutch director Kees Hin, and José Luis Cienfuegos, artistic director of the Seville European Film Festival. The IFFR’s also announced that Ai Weiwei, who, of course, won’t be able to attend, will nevertheless join the jury from his home in Beijing.
The full lineup, with descriptions straight from the IFFR:
Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand 2012, European premiere
Director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit uses 36 shots for his original, crisply-told film about memory and lost digital time. In this light-footed and melancholic feature, a location scout loses a year’s worth of her photos. She has the feeling that part of her own memory has been deleted and she does everything to get the photos back. In a playful way, this film tackles the issue of changing memory. Deeply hidden in the broken hard disk is also the picture of a possible lover.
A csendesek (Silent Ones)
Ricky Rijneke, Netherlands/Hungary 2013, world premiere, CineMart Project 2009
Rotterdam-based Ricky Rijneke shot her first feature film for a large part in Hungary. A young Hungarian woman (played by Hungarian actress Orsi Tóth) wakes up inside a crashed car in the middle of nowhere, not knowing where her brother Isti is. Upset and alone, she leaves aboard a cargo ship to keep a promise she made to him. Once at sea, she withdraws into a dream world and loses grip on her life completely.
Chungmeng (Longing for the Rain)
Yang Lin, Hong Kong 2013, world premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
Linking several genres in a surprising and successful way, Yang Lin’s fiction feature debut is an Asian ghost story in which documentary scenes show how incongruous today’s reality can look in China. Protagonist Fang Lei lives in material wealth and only has to care for her daughter. One night, a young mysterious lover appears and makes passionate love to her.
Matt Hulse, United Kingdom 2013, world premiere, CineMart Project 2007
More than 50 years ago, deaf Scotsman James Duthie cycled from his fishing village to the Arctic cycle. Together with deaf actor / filmmaker Samuel Dore, Matt Hulse set out on the long journey through northern Europe to adapt this story into his first feature film. Hulse mixes fictional and documentary elements into a virtuoso blend: unusual people in fictional Super 8-films, playful animated sequences and archive footage of the era in the countries traversed.
Eles voltam (They’ll Come Back)
Marcelo Lordello, Brazil 2012, international premiere
Cris, aged 12, and her brother are left at the side of the road by their parents. The punishment quickly turns into an even greater challenge. Marcelo Lordello’s first feature film Eles voltam, which follows Cris in her attempts to find her way back home, is a modern-day fable through different realities guided by the people that inhabit them.
Gozetleme Kulesi (Watchtower)
Pelin Esmer, Turkey 2012, European premiere
After her successful fiction feature debut and Hubert Bals Fund-supported film 10 to 11, Pelin Esmer’s second feature film Watchtower is a profound character study that takes a critical point of view towards conservatism and the patriarchal system. Haunted by a tragic incident, a fire warden has isolated himself in his remote observation tower. Through a series of events, his life and that of a bus station hostess are brought together.
Sebastián Hofmann, Mexico 2012, European premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
In Halley, protagonist Beto’s days are numbered. He has been dead for years, but can no longer hide the fact. Perfume and make-up do not help to mask his physical decline; the end is now final for this silent zombie. Sebastián Hofmann shows the world through the eyes of a zombie in decline. His first feature film is a contemporary Gothic story without the spectacle, but with plenty of compassion.
It Felt Like Love
Eliza Hittman, USA 2013, international premiere
In her debut film, Eliza Hittman sketches a sensitive and often painful portrait of a 14-year-old girl on her way to adulthood. During an uneventful summer on the outskirts of Brooklyn, Lila turns her attentions to Sammy, an older thug she sees at Rockaway beach. Wanting something to brag about, she weaves a story about him and becomes fixated on seeing it realized. When her attempts fail, she propels the lie even further, claiming they have had sex.
Larzanandeye charbi (Fat Shaker)
Mohammad Shirvani, Iran 2013, European premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
Fat Shaker is no ordinary film—certainly not by Iranian standards. Its maker, Mohammad Shirvani, is an artist who uses powerful and occasionally absurd images. The story is about a fat father who tries to con money from women with his young and attractive yet deaf-and-dumb son. The role of the father is played by Levon Haft, who is also the striking protagonist in the film Parviz (also in IFFR). As part of the Inside Iran program, Mohammad Shirvani has made a special art installation titled Elephant in Darkness.
Môj pes Killer (My Dog Killer)
Mira Fornay, Slovakia/Czech Republic 2013, world premiere
Môj pes Killer is a one-day drama portraying eighteen-year-old Marek living near the Slovak-Moravian border with his dad and his racist friends. However, Marek’s best true friend is his dog. His life is shaken up when he discovers the secret of his lost mother Marika. Fornay’s first film Foxes (2009) premiered in Venice and was presented in IFFR 2010’s Bright Future.
Leonardo Brzezicki, Argentina 2013, world premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
Six friends return to the big farmhouse in the middle of a subtropical landscape where their best friend Miguel spent his last days. While the sound of his recordings fills the house and gardens, they pack the things he left behind. Brzezicki’s directorial début is a haunting sensorial journey through memories, images and sounds.
Eduardo Villanueva Jiménez, Mexico 2013, world premiere, Hubert Bals Fund-supported film
In Penumbra, the second feature film by writer, producer and filmmaker Eduardo Villanueva Jiménez, an experienced old hunter shows his world within a rural Mexico lost in time: a place of suspense and mystery where he creates a fascinating and illusory world together with the spirits of the forest.
Sao karaoke (Karaoke Girl)
Visra Vichit Vadakan, Thailand 2013, world premiere
Young sex worker Sa is the protagonist of Visra Vichit Vadakan’s first feature film. Sa was sent to Bangkok when she was just 15. After three years in a factory, she decided to become a sex worker in order to support her family. Four years later, Vichit Vadakan met her and invited her to be the subject of this film. She documented Sa’s life in the city and in the country and also wrote a fictional script for her to act in. Karaoke Girl is made from these building blocks of real life and fiction.
Soldate Jeannette (Soldier Jane)
Daniel Hoesl, Austria 2012, European premiere
Daniel Hoesl makes his directorial debut with Soldate Jeannette after working in the arts for a while, and for filmmakers like Ulrich Seidl and Michael Glawogger. Soldate Jeanette, a film with a distinct personal signature, impeccable aesthetics and original narrative, portrays Fanni, a middle-aged woman living a lifestyle that only the most advanced post-postmodern capitalist society can offer: independence, financial speculation, compulsive consumerism, matcha, taekwondo. She meets Anna, an attractive young woman in dire need of reinventing herself. Together, the comrades set out for new horizons, defying all conventions.
Su Re (The King)
Giovanni Columbu, Italy 2012, international premiere
Transposing the story of the Passion of Jesus to Sardinia, Su Re draws for the very first time on the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John together. Giovanni Columbu’s distinct view is shot in a landscape unaffected by modernity and played out by an amateur cast, offering still new insights into the life of Christ.
De wederopstanding van een klootzak (The Resurrection of a Bastard)
Guido van Driel, Netherlands 2013, world premiere, CineMart Project 2010
The Resurrection of a Bastard, feature debut of visual artist and filmmaker Guido van Driel, is based on his own graphic novel. An original, bleak and sometimes surreal story shot in a compelling, controlled way, Van Driel’s film brings together an old Frisian farmer bent on revenge, an Amsterdam criminal barely surviving a liquidation and an illegal immigrant.