‘Eami’ Wins Tiger Award at Rotterdam, ‘Excess Will Save Us,’ ‘To Love Again’ Take Prizes

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Paraguayan filmmaker Paz Encina’s “Eami” – being sold by MPM Premium – has won the top Tiger Award and a €40,000 cash prize at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), the festival announced Wednesday. The 51st edition of the Dutch event, forced online due to the Omicron wave, will wrap on Sunday.

The jury, made up of Zsuzsi Bankuti, Gust Van den Berghe, Tatiana Leite, Thekla Reuten and Farid Tabarki, was impressed with her complex, magical realist take on the suffering of the indigenous tribes, calling it a “powerful film.” “It gave us the opportunity to dream and, at the same time, a chance to wake up,” they stated.

Inspired by the stories of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode people, as well as their mythology, Encina created a tale about a young girl who embarks on a journey after her village is destroyed.

“All my films deal with an issue of exile, of the diaspora, of loss. In a sense it is what I know, and therefore what I can talk about,” she told Variety during the festival.

“It’s something I ask myself a lot, all the time. Why do I film and for whom do I film? What do I feel I have to do? What is my gaze and my place in the world of images that is ever more prolific?”

No stranger to Rotterdam, Encina previously presented “Hamaca Paraguaya” and her short “Viento sur” at the festival.

Tiger Competition Special Jury Awards went to “Excess Will Save Us” by French filmmaker Morgane Dziurla-Petit, a hybrid feature film inspired by her acclaimed documentary short, and “To Love Again” by Chinese director Gao Linyang; the latter was also honored by the FIPRESCI jury. Finally, the VPRO Big Screen Award was given to “Kung Fu Zohra” by Mabrouk El Mechri – an usual take on domestic violence, showing its protagonist take up martial arts after her husband mistreats her.

The third annual Robby Müller Award – a collaboration between IFFR, the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers (NSC) and Andrea Müller-Schirmer – was received by Thai cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. The KNF (Circle of Dutch Film Journalists) prize went to American filmmaker Jon Rafman for his short “Punctured Sky.”

“Even though we were forced to host our 51st edition online, we were determined to provide the competition filmmakers who trusted us with their films with visibility [through a platform] for press and industry,” said festival director Vanja Kaludjercic.

“We cannot wait to share these outstanding films with our audiences later in the year, in the way they were intended: on the big screen in the presence of the filmmakers.”

The awards ceremony also marked the closing of the 39th edition of CineMart, which offered an online platform to 28 projects in development. The Eurimages Co-production Development Award went to “Leave the Door Open,” by Judita Gamulin, with Mikael Bundsen’s “Love #NoFilter” getting a special mention.

Head of IFFR Pro, Marit van den Elshout, also announced that she will be stepping down from her role. “It’s not really sinking in – it’s my last official CineMart day! I am sad, melancholic and many times over this week I thought: What am I doing? But I am looking forward to new adventures. I will be part of the Tiger family forever.”

Winner of the Tiger Award: “Eami” by Paz Encina

Winners of the Special Jury Awards: “Excess Will Save Us” by Morgane Dziurla-Petit; “To Love Again” by Gao Linyang

Winner of the VPRO Big Screen Award: “Kung Fu Zohra” by Mabrouk El Mechri
Robby Müller Award: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom

Winners of the Ammodo Tiger Short Awards: “Becoming Male in the Middle Ages” by Pedro Neves Marques, “Nazarbazi” by Maryam Tafakory, and “Nosferasta: First Bite” by Bayley Sweitzer and Adam Khalil.

FIPRESCI Award: “To Love Again” by Gao Linyang
KNF Award: “Punctured Sky” by Jon Rafman

Eurimages Co-production Development Award: “Leave the Door Open,” Judita Gamulin, produced by Eclectica (Croatia)
Special mention: “Love #NoFilter,” Mikael Bundsen, produced by Kjellson & Wik (Sweden)
Filmmore Post-Production Award: “Nightsong,” Maya Da-Rin, produced by Tamanduá Vermelho & Still Moving (Brazil/France)
ArteKino International Award: “Sorella di Clausura,” produced by microFILM & Dunav 84 (Romania/Serbia)
Wouter Barendrecht Award: “Mother of Gold,” Madiano Marcheti, produced by Multiverso Produções (Brazil)

First prize: “Confident,” Jérôme Blanquet, Bertrand Jeandel, produced by Maneki Films & Wise Bird (France)
Second prize: “Duchampiana VR,” Lilian Hess, produced by Tchikiboum (France/Germany)
IFFR Young Selectors Award: “Love on Trial,” Koji Fukada, produced by knockonwood Inc. & Survivance (Japan/France)
Dutch Post-Production Award: “This City Is a Battlefield,” Mouly Surya, produced by Cinesurya (Indonesia)