The main tranche of IFFR 2008 awards was announced Friday evening.
IFFR's 2008 VPRO Tiger Awards, open to fifteen first or second-time features, went to: Wonderful Town, Aditya Assarat’s delicate love story set in a town in the south of Thailand recovering from the Tsunami; Flower in the Pocket, Malaysian director Liew Seng Tat’s touching teen drama; and Go with Peace Jamil, Omar Shargawi’s urban revenge drama set among Copenhagen’s young Muslim community. Each VPRO Tiger Award comes with a prize of Euro 15,000 and guaranteed broadcast by Dutch public television network VPRO.
The Jury consists of Mr. Royston Tan - Singapore filmmaker and film producer, Russian filmmaker, actress and film producer Ms. Renata Litvinova, Mr. Rieks Hadders - former Deputy Director of the Filmmuseum in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Ms. Tiziana Finzi, Deputy Director Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, and Iranian filmmaker and film producer Mr. Jafar Panahi (jury president).
Wonderful Town was commended for its ‘amazing imaging through the film and a fresh perspective on the disaster of the Tsunami.’ Flower in the Pocket won, the jury continued, ‘because of its well-considered and aware look at the world of children.’ The ‘strong directing and acting work’ of Go With Peace Jamil also impressed the jury.
The Rotterdam 2008 FIPRESCI Award went to El cielo, la tierra y la lluvia (The Sky, the Earth and the Rain), Chilean director Jose Luis Torres Leiva’s debut fiction feature. Chosen from entries for the VPRO Tiger Awards competition, the film is an atmospheric rural drama revolving around three lonely women in southern Chile.
A statement by the jury of five international critics said: ‘The jury has selected this film for its breathtaking cinematography, combined with subtle sound design that seamlessly integrates and contrasts human beings and nature.’
Awarded to the best of the twenty-two Hubert Bals-supported films playing at IFFR, the Dioraphte Award went to Mutum, Sandra Kogut’s Brazilian drama revolving around a sensitive child protagonist on a remote farm.
Admitting to being ‘very moved’ by the film, the international jury of three said of Mutum: ‘With its condensed emotion and boundless energy, this precisely directed and acted film tells the story of a harsh world with genuine urge. It is uncompromising in its vision and unsentimental in its treatment. Its poetic wholesomeness is evident in the textured details of a remote time and place that are also very close to our hearts.’
Established to promote Asian cinema, the NETPAC Award, open to all Asian titles at IFFR, went to What On Earth Have I Done Wrong?!, Taiwanese director Niu Chen-zer’s mockumentary self-portrait.
Explaining their decision, the three-member jury said: ‘It is a début film that has deftly crafted a humorous drama that mocks filmmaking with great sensitivity and arrives at a profound insight into the human condition.’
They also made a Special Mention of Crude Oil, Wang Bing’s documentary about oil refining in the Gobi Desert. ‘Its dispassionate expose of the hardship of human labour which is the basis of economic progress.’
Cargo 200, Alexei Balabanov’s grueling thriller, won the KNF Award, the Association of Dutch Film Critics’ prize for best film in the official selection that hasn’t yet been acquired for Dutch distribution. The award includes a grant for subtitling the film, to boost its distribution prospects.
Tiger Awards for Short Film & Prix UIP Rotterdam
The three winning short films are Ah, Liberty! by Ben Rivers (UK), As I Lay Dying by Ho Yuhang (Malaysia) and Observando el cielo by Jeanne Liotta (USA). The Prix UIP Rotterdam 2008 for short film was handed to Joy by Joe Lawlor & Christine Molloy (UK). Unlith by Mihai Grecu (France) received an honorable mention.
KPN Audience Award
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud won the KPN Audience Award.
The MovieSquad Award given by the young people’s jury at IFFR has been given to French animated film Persepolis.
Lions Film Award
Estômago by Marcos Jorge has won The Lions Film Award, an award presented to a promising film project which previously received post production support from the Hubert Bals Fund.