The Rotterdam Film Festival, one of the world’s leading events for avant-garde pics, on Friday unveiled five of the 15 films that will compete for its VPRO Tiger Awards plus the 35 projects selected for co-production market CineMart.
Preeming in competition is Brit Simon Ellis’ feature debut, “Dogging: A Love Story,” about a boy obsessed with casual sex in parking lots.
It is joined by Ramtin Lavafipour’s “Be Calm and Count to Seven,” about smugglers on an Iranian island, while Naito Takatsugu’s “Dark Harbor” shows life in a Japanese fishing village.
“Breathless,” by Yang Ik-june, unfolds the relationship between a South Korean gangster and a precocious schoolgirl; from Taiwan, Leon Dai’s “No puedo vivir sin ti” concerns a father whose vagrant lifestyle endangers his family.
The Tiger jury includes South African artist Marlene Dumas, helmers Yesim Ustaoglu from Turkey and Kornel Mundruczo from Hungary, and Park Ki-yong, director of the Film Academy in Seoul.
Other world preems at the fest include U.S. docu “Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi” by Ian Olds, which recounts the tragic fate of a guide and translator hired by journalists reporting in Afghanistan.
New films have been commissioned from Guy Maddin, Carlos Reygadas and Nanouk Leopold. All three will create work for extra-large screens mounted on three Rotterdam office blocks.
Also bowing in Rotterdam are “Dazzle,” by Dutch helmer Cyrus Frisch, featuring Rutger Hauer; “FILM IST. a girl & a gun” by Austrian Gustav Deutsch; and “Border,” by Armenian Harutyun Khachatryan.
The full competition lineup will be unveiled in early January.
Notable CineMart projects include oil industry tale “Pioneer” from Norwegian helmer Erik Skjoldbjaerg, best known Stateside for his 1997 thriller “Insomnia,” remade in 2002 by Christopher Nolan; and New Zealand helmer Taika Waititi’s “Tama.” Waititi’s debut, “Eagle vs Shark” played at Sundance in 2007.
Fest unspools Jan. 21-Feb. 1, with the 26th CineMart running Jan. 25-29.