Rotterdam readies Tigers

Holland fest sets preems

ROTTERDAM — Holland’s largest film event, the Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam, has selected 16 titles, six of them world premieres, for the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition.

The three top nods are prizes of 10,000 euros ($8,915) each. Event’s 31st edition kicks off Jan. 23 for a 12-day run. Awards, which aim to put unknown talent in the spotlight, also include committed theatrical and TV distribution.

Jury members include Marie-Pierre Macia, artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival’ Directors Fortnight; Dutch film director and scripter Mijke de Jong; Argentinean producer Lita Stantic; African film director and scripter Gaston Kabore; and Chinese director, producer and Asian cinema maestro Hou Hsiao-hsien.

The choice of films for the competition, the 120 or so titles to unspool in the main program, as well as other sidebars such as Cinemart and Filmmakers in Focus all reflect “the spirit of the festival and its focus on independent filmmaking, diversity of national cinema” and an increasingly global perspective, said Simon Field, joint director of the event along with Sandra den Hamer.

Plenty of preems

The fest features some 20 world premieres outside of the competition. Among the six world preems in the competition are Kurdistani filmer Jano Rosebiani’s “Life” and Slovenian filmer Igor Sterk’s “Ljubljana,” as well as “Sleeping Rough,” from Dutch home player Eugenie Jansen.

Filmmakers in Focus will include a look at U.S. experimentalist Stan Brakhage, Yugoslavian filmmaker Goran Markovic and Canadian Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk.

In a series of screenings, panels and debates focusing on the theme “What (is) Cinema?,” event has extended an open invitation to festgoers to examine the influence and future of the medium. “This festival,” Field noted, “has always been about key questions regarding art, film and politics and about the relationship between filmmakers and their works, on a global level.”

The normally strong Asian showing at the fest is repped in Tiger Award competition international premieres, which include South Korean films “One Fine Spring Day” by director Hur Jin-Ho and “Take Care of My Cat” by Jeong Jae-Eun, as well as the European premieres of “Weekend Plot” by Chinese helmer Zhang Ming and Nan T. Achnas’ entry “Whispering Sands” from Japan and Indonesia.

U.S. filmmaker Andrew Repasky McElhinney’s “A Chronicle of Corpses” is also an international premiere in the Tiger Awards Competition.

Fest will include a selection of new projects by the Hubert Bals Fund and a harvest of films financed last year by the fund, which hands out some $890,000 a year for script and development, post-production and distribution.

Opening night film “Delbaran” by Iranian director Abolfazl Jalili is a past beneficiary of the Bals Fund.