44th International Film Festival Rotterdam
The Netherlands, January 21 - February 1 2015
The 44th International Film Festival Rotterdam brought twelve days of provocative cinema to big screens and installation works to non-cinematic venues across the city. From a great wealth of titles across an almost incomprehensible list of categories, screen culture and visual arts in all their diversity were celebrated.
It was also the year that the festival saw the (return of) “The Critics’ Choice” program. Organised by Dutch film critics Jan Pieter Ekker and Dana Linssen the focus was on the video essay as a form of criticism, in conversation with a film of each esteemed critics’ choosing. The program brought an impressive collection of international names to Rotterdam including video essayist Kevin B. Lee, academics Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López, and writers Roger Koza and Rüdiger Suchsland.
There was little surprise in seeing Bens – Rivers and Russell – both take a prize in the Tiger Awards Competition for Short Films. Ben Rivers won with his film “Things” – his 14th film to screen at IFFR since his debut in 2007 – and Ben Russell won for “Greetings to the Ancestors”. Safia Benhaim also took home a Tiger for “La fièvre” and “Our Body” by Dane Komljen was selected as the official entry for the European Film Awards nomination.
From the main selection, the HIVOS Tiger Awards Competition saw three winners; “La obra del siglo” by Carlos M. Quintela, “Vanishing Point” by Jakrawal Nilthamrong and “Videophilia (and other viral syndromes)” by Juan Daniel F. Molero.
The International Critics’ Prize from FIPRESCI went to Isabelle Tollenaere’s “Battles”, and the jury included one vote from the IFFR Trainee Project for Young Film Critics. Taking part in the trainee project and writing for the 2015 “Daily Tiger” was Oris Aigbokhaevbolo (Nigeria), Ruben Demasure (Belgium), Harriet Warman (Scotland), Tina Poglajen (Slovenia).
The KNF Award was given to Michael Noer for “Key House Mirrror”, the NETPAC Award for the best Asian feature film screening in Official Selection went to “Poet on a Business Trip” by Ju Anqi, and the MovieZone IFFR Award, chosen by the young people’s MovieZone jury from EYE, went to James Napier Robertson for “The Dark Horse”. The Big Screen Award went to “Second Coming” by Debbie Tucker. (Tara Judah)
International Film Festival Rotterdam: www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com