45th International Film Festival Rotterdam

The Netherlands, January 27 - February 7 2016

The jury

Yael Shuv (Israel), Toni Junyent (Spain), Dragan Jurak (Croatia), Kevin B. Lee (USA), Joost Broeren (The Netherlands)

Awarded films

The 45th IFFR ended with a bang – a very special screening of Brady Corbet’s The Childhood of a Leader that had already won awards in Venice. The film’s smashing score, composed by the avant-garde musician Scott Walker, was played live on stage by Codarts Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Mark Warman. It was a thrilling event.

Under the guidance of its new charismatic director – independent producer Bero Beyer – the festival kept its tradition of presenting challenging programs and attracting large crowds, thus offering a warm experience despite the miserable weather.

The main competition – Hivos Tiger Awards Competition – included eight very different films. The winner was the gentle comedy Radio Dreams (about a little Iranian radio station in San Francisco) by the very surprised Babak Jalali, who claimed he never wins awards.

Some of the more interesting films in the festival were presented under the umbrella of Critics Choice organized by Dutch film critics Jan Pieter Ekker and Dana Linssen. The theme “Whose Cinema” strung together the eight films, among them Alexander Sokurov’s Francofonia, Hong Sangsoo’s Right Now, Wrong Then and Andreas Horvath’s shocking documentary Helmut Berger, Actor – a portrait of  the Europeans star as an old abrasive man, completely lost in his own narcissism. The eight films were introduced with fascinating video essays by international film critics, two of which (Kevin B. Lee and Joost Broeren) were also members of the FIPRESCI jury.

The FIPRESCI jury focused on the Bright Future section, which included 11 films by promising young directors. The jury included five critics, as well as one vote from the IFFR Trainee Project for Young Film Critics. Taking part in the trainee project and writing for the 2015 “Daily Tiger” were Martin Kudlac (Slovakia), Archana Nathan (India), Taylor Hess (USA) and Rowan El Shimi (Egypt).

The jury chose to award Bodkin Ras by Kaweh Modiri, born in Iran and living in Europe, very much like Jalali, the winner of the Hivos Tiger Award. The motivation for the jury’s choice: Bodkin Ras, which throws an actor – portraying a mysterious foreigner – into the real environment of a small Scottish town, is a fascinating hybrid of documentary and fiction, filled with unforgettable characters, a strong sense of place and of life lived, and an urgency that turns the experiment into a thrilling and humanistic film. (Yael Shuv)

Trainee Project. Four participants of the Rotterdam “Trainee Project” joined the FIPRESCI jury and participated with one voice and vote: Martin Kudlac (Czech Republic), Archana Nathan (India), Taylor Hess (USS/Germany), Rowan El Shimi (Egypt).

International Film Festival Rotterdam: www.iffr.com