It would have been a great pleasure to have attended the 2010 International Film Festival of Rotterdam. The esteemed festival has always supported the most vanguard works of world cinema — firstly, if you’re a filmmaker and your work is selected as part of Rotterdam’s program, that’s a landmark achievement — secondly, if you’re a filmmaker and your film walks away with an award, you just entered the pinnacle of your career. Regardless of awards, if your film screens, you are a winner.
Ben Russell, a Chicago-based filmmaker, served as delegate of the Chicago underground film scene at the 2010 Rotterdam Film Festival, and his lengthy ethnographic film Let Each One Go Where He May, a film that was also nominated for a Tiger Award, walked away with the FIPRESCI award, an award that is decided by international film critics (B.R. representing Chi Chi!). Congratulations, Ben Russell.
Deborah Stratman, a Chicago-based filmmaker, was another representative of the Chicago underground film scene, with her short documentary Walking is Dancing screening as part of the Signals- Where is Africa program.
This post serves as a simple rundown of the 2010 tiger award winners, mostly because I could not find a rundown list of award winners on the official Rotterdam Film Festival website.
And the feature-length winners are:
Go With the Flow (Agua fría de mar) by Paz Fábrega
Synopsis: A young Costa Rican couple on holiday discover one evening a seven-year-old girl who has run away, yet the next morning, when they want to take her back to her camping parents, she has disappeared again. This leads to a confrontation between two women of different ages and social status in a spot that is ostensibly paradise.
What the Jury Said: Concerning Agua fría de mar, the jury said that the film ‘succeeded in telling the story of a mysterious relationship between a woman and a young girl in a convincing and poetic manner. The film takes the audience on an unusual journey through a nature that interacts with people in a magical way. The superb editing ensures an organic flow of images, whilst the strong directing and disturbing atmosphere create tension.’
Mundane History by Anocha Suwichakornpong
Synopsis: A simple story about the hesitant overtures between a bitter invalid and his new nurse is the prelude to a hallucinogenic meditation about our place in the universe. As impressive and mysterious as life itself.
What the Jury Said: Mundane History, about the wavering relationship between a bitter invalid and his new carer offered philosophical and political insight into aspects of Thai society, according to the jury report. ‘For us this film appeals to both intelligence and spirituality. We are impressed with the accomplished interplay of abstract ideas and harrowing reality in this film.’ Earlier this week Anocha Suwichakornpong won the Prince Claus Fund Film Grant for her new CineMart project By The Time It Gets Dark.
Alamar by Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio
Synopsis: Unusual film in an unusual location: the Mexican coral reef Banco Chinchorro, where grandfather, father and five-year-old son spend their days fishing for crabs and snappers. In a surging rhythm, Alamar shows that nature does not always form a stark contrast to cultivated humans.
What the Jury Said: Alamar is a film that ‘touches deeply without being too sentimental’. This film, about a father and son that go on a journey to the source of the open sea to find their old way of life, is ‘true and honest to its subject and shows both the good fortune and tragedy of being a child with divorced parents’, according to the jury.
And the short film winners are:
Condolences (Wel Wen) by Ying Liang (China),
Atlantiques by Mati Diop (France/Senegal)
Wednesday Morning Two A.M. by Lewis Klahr (USA).
And the other winners are:
From the IRFF:
This year there were fifteen films up for the VPRO Tiger Awards, which were either debuts or second films from novice directors. The three winners will each get €15,000. This year the jury consisted of director Amat Escalante, actress Jeanne Balibar, director Urszula Antoniak, former director of the Singapore film festival Philip Chea and the Ugandan actor, musician, scriptwriter and activist Okello Kelo Sam.
As well as the Tiger Awards, other prizes were announced. The KNF award, a prize from the Circle of Netherlands Film Journalists, was awarded to a film that is not yet available for distribution in the Netherlands: Norteado from Mexican director Rigoberto Pérezcano. According to the jury this is ‘a film that touched our hearts and minds with its high visual qualities, terrific acting and gripping story about the plight of illegal immigrants that try to get into the United States.’
The FIPRESCI award from international film critics was given this year to Let Each One Go Where He May from Ben Russell, a film that was also nominated for a VPRO Tiger Award. The prize rom the network for promoting Asian film, NETPAC, was given to the Korean film Moscow from Whang Cheol-Mean. (SM)