Asian pics make a strong showing in the lineup for the Tiger Awards at the Rotterdam Film Festival, set to be unveiled today.
Six of the 14 candidates are from the East, checking in from Malaysia, China, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and Kazakhstan. Europe, which has dominated the selection in recent years, claims five places, with films from the U.K., Sweden, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands and Ukraine. A 15th film was unconfirmed at press time.
Seven films make their world bow at the fest, which unspools Jan. 23- Feb. 3. These include “Wellness” by the U.S. helmer Jake Mahaffy; “Go With Peace Jamil” from Danish helmer Omar Shargawi; “Las Meninas” by Ukrainian visual artist Igor Podolchak and U.S. music video director Dean Karr; “Shanghai Trance” by Dutch helmer David Verbeek; and “Tale 52” by Alexiou Alexis of Greece.
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Two more preems are projects nurtured by the fest’s Hubert Bals Fund, which supports film makers from developing countries: “The Sky, the Earth and the Rain” by José Luis Torres Leiva of Chile and “Years When I Was a Child Outside” by John Torres of The Philippines.
Bals coin also went into “Fujian Blue” by China’s Wemg Shou-ming and “Wonderful Town” by Thai helmer Aditya Assarat, which comes to the fest with a Pusan New Currents Award.
Star quality comes to the selection in the form of French thesp Sylvie Testud, who appears with an amateur cast in Haitian helmer Michelange Quay’s surreal “Eat, for This Is My Body”.
The Tigers are for first or second films, reflecting Rotterdam’s desire to be seen as the home of young talent. This year it backs the argument up with more coin, increasing the three awards to €15,000 ($22,000) each.
The Tiger Award jury consists of Renata Litvinova, Jafar Panahi and Royston Tan (all three filmmakers and producers); Tiziana Finzi, deputy director of the Locarno Film Festival; and Rieks Hadders, former deputy director of the Filmmuseum in Amsterdam.
Lineup for Tiger Awards:
- “Eat, for This Is My Body,” Michelange Quay (France/Haïti)
- “Flower in the Pocket,” Liew Seng Tat (Malaysia)
- “Fujian Blue,” Wemg Shou-ming (China)
- “Go With Peace Jamil,” Omar Shargawi (Denmark)
- “The King of Ping Pong,” Jens Jonsson (Sweden)
- “Las meninas,” Igor Podolchak & Dean Karr (Ukraine)
- “Shanghai Trance,” David Verbeek (Netherlands)
- “The Sky, the Earth and the Rain,” José Luis Torres Leiva (Chile)
- “Strizh,” Abai Kulbai (Kazakhstan)
- “Tale 52,” Alexiou Alexis (Greece)
- “Waltz in Starlight,” Shingo Wakagi (Japan)
- “Wellness,” Jake Mahaffy (U.S.)
- “Wonderful Town,” Aditya Assarat (Thailand)
- “Years When I Was a Child Outside,” John Torres (Philippines)