Awards go to Costa Rican, Mexican, Thai pics

Latin America triumphed at the Rotterdam Film Festival, bagging two of the fest’s three VPRO Tiger awards.

Costa Rican helmer Paz Fabrega won with “Agua fria de mar” (Cold Water of the Sea), the country’s first entry in the Rotterdam competition, on Friday night. Pic tells the story of a young couple and a seven-year-old girl from different social backgrounds spending Christmas on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

The jury commended the pic’s unnerving atmosphere and tension. International sales are handled by Berlin-based Films Boutique.

Mexico’s Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio won with “Alamar” (“To the Sea”), a naturalistic account of life among fishermen on the Banco Chinchorro coral reef. International sales are handled by MK2.

The third award went to “Mundane History,” by Thai helmer Anocha Suwichakornpong, about the relationship between a bitter young man and his nurse. The jury commended the pic’s interplay of abstract ideas and harrowing reality.

Each Tiger winner takes home e15,000 ($20,575), but Suwichakornpong will double her money after also winning the Prince Claus Fund Film Grant for her project, “By the Time It Gets Dark,” looking for co-production coin in the fest’s CineMart.

International rights on the pic are still up for grabs, according to fest organizers.

Among other awards, the Fipresci jury of international film critics singled out U.S. Tiger contender “Let Each One Go Where He May” by Ben Russell. Pic follows two brothers on a journey retracing the slave routes of Suriname.

The Netpac jury, charged with promoting Asian cinema, chose non-competing Korean pic “Moscow” by Whang Cheol-Mean.

The Arte France Cinema Award, also given to a CineMart project, went to “Layla Fourie” by South African helmer Pia Marais.

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