Asian pix chase Rotterdam Tigers

Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo joins jury

Asia made a strong showing in the first competish announcement from the Rotterdam Film Festival, which unspools Jan. 26-Feb. 6.

An initial lineup of seven films, all debut or sophomore features, was announced Tuesday. The complete competition lineup of around 15 pics follows early in 2011.

Park Jung-bum’s “The Journals of Musan,” which won the top prize at the Marrakech Film Festival, and Yoon Sung-hyun’s “Bleak Night” will rep South Korea. Pics shared the New Currents Award at Pusan in October.

Other selections include India’s “The Image Threads,” from Vipin Vijay; Sri Lanka’s “Flying Fish,” from Sanjeewa Pushpakumara; and Thailand’s “Eternity,” from Sivaroj Kongsakul.

Iran provides “Rainy Seasons,” by Majid Barzegar, while the sole European entry so far is “Headshots,” a German-Austrian co-production by Texas-born first-timer Lawrence Tooley.

The Tiger jury will include Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, who will perform during the short and feature film prize presentations.

Other panelists are Argentine multihyphenate Lucrecia Martel, helmers Andrei Ujica and Wisit Sasanatieng and former fest director Sandra den Hamer.

Sasanatieng’s superhero movie “The Red Eagle” and Ujica’s found-footage docu “The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu” will screen during the fest.

Some 20 helmers who earned kudos in past Tiger competitions will present new work in a one-off program, Return of the Tiger. Included will be Kelly Reichardt with “Meek’s Cutoff,” Hong Sang-soo with “Oki’s Movie” and Patrick Keiller with “Robinson in Ruins.”

Fest also unveiled details on the Water Tiger Inn program, combining Chinese martial-arts movies and a themed festival location. Selection will trace developments in the genre, from 1929 classic “Red Heroine” to 2010’s “Reign of Assassins” by Su Chao-pin and John Woo.