Winners of the Tiger Competition, Big Screen Competition and Ammodo Tiger Short Competition revealed at the IFFR Awards Ceremony, which streamed live from ‘de Doelen’ in Rotterdam on Wednesday 2 February.
The magic-realist film EAMI by Paraguayan filmmaker Paz Encina won the Tiger Award and €40,000. Excess Will Save Us by French Morgane Dziurla-Petit and To Love Again by Chinese director Gao Linyang both won Tiger Competition Special Jury Awards. The VPRO Big Screen Award went to Kung Fu Zohra by French filmmaker Mabrouk El Mechri. The Ammodo Tiger Short Awards were handed out to Becoming Male in the Middle Ages by Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Neves Marques, Nazarbazi by Iranian director Maryam Tafakory and Nosferasta: First Bite by American filmmakers Bayley Sweitzer and Adam Khalil. The competition selections, which have been exclusively screening online for press and industry guests during the festival, will screen in cinemas for audiences later in the year.
The Tiger Award went to EAMI by Paz Encina. This powerful ode to nature was aptly named ‘Eami’ – a word that means both ‘forest’ and ‘world’. In this feature film steeped with indigenous Ayoreo-Totobiegosode mythology, young protagonist Eami wanders the Paraguayan rainforest, as her community is forced out by deforestation. The project received development support from IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund in 2017, as well as an award in 2019 from NFF+HBF Co-production Scheme through its Dutch co-producer Revolver Amsterdam.
Jury: Zsuzsi Bankuti, Gust Van den Berghe, Tatiana Leite, Thekla Reuten, Farid Tabarki
Jury report: “We were unanimously affected by the powerful film created by the director and the team that succeeds in building a strong narrative that not only sustains itself visually, politically and also poetically, putting the lights on the global massacres of indigenous tribes, through the cry of the Paraguayan Ayoreo Totobiegosode. This film gave us the opportunity to dream and at the same time the chance to wake up.”
Tiger Competition Special Jury Awards
The jury also awarded two Tiger Competition Special Jury Awards. French Morgane Dziurla-Petit received an award for her playfully unfolding narrative on family ties Excess Will Save Us and Chinese director Gao Linyang won for his debut film To Love Again, a stunning observation of a traumatised older couple in contemporary China.
Jury report Excess Will Save Us:
“This is a real debut film, unique in every possible way, full of ideas and crazy storytelling, proving that hybrid filmmaking can be hilarious and also reach audiences. It is a very generous film, bridging the gap between several worlds. Actors and non-actors, the past, the present and the future. It is a village v.s. the world with all its current issues.
The beauty lies in the complexity of every character, their hopes and dreams, the situation of small individuals dealing with outside problems that seem too big for them to understand, and then their fantasy steps in. It is also the kind of film where the filmmaker and the making of the film plays a huge role and is intertwined with a scripted plot. The film is funny, extremely moving and always original.”
Jury report To Love Again:
“We are all too aware of complex conflicts all around the world that have deep and painful roots in history and that have wounded societies and people. The jury was moved by this light at times humorous portrait and the gentle perspective of two characters with most of their life behind them. A small yet revolutionary idea of this optimistic yet scarred couple stirs up more emotion than expected. The will to bury the past and the present harmoniously is strong but proves difficult. The filmmaker walks a thin line and leaves space for the viewer to decide if the past can be forgiven and if indeed, we allow ourselves To Love Again.”
Big Screen Competition
An audience jury granted the VPRO Big Screen Award to Kung Fu Zohra by French filmmaker Mabrouk El Mechri, a film that cleverly applies the conventions of the kung fu genre to deal with domestic violence.
Jury: Louk Haffmans, Karen Kroese, Eva Langerak, Mylaine Roelofs, Alex Spaanderman
Jury report: “As the lucky members of this year’s Big Screen Award, we had the unique experience of watching nine movies in an almost empty KINO theater. Given the name of this award, we are convinced that we could only make a fair judgment when they were shown on a big screen. In four days, we became familiar with a surprising range of genres, perspectives and topics. We also felt that most movies were, in their own way, urgent, because they showed us something about political power, the environment, sexual harassment or gender identities. As a jury, we were blown away by one film specifically…
Due to the unconventional use of different film genres and humor as a tool to address the film’s severe topic, the viewer is subsequently caught off guard, which causes one to feel emotionally triggered. The film breaks through expectations; forming a balancing act, in which the director addresses controversial themes in an accessible way. We expect viewers to raise critical points about the chosen format of this film, as well as the central theme.”
Robby Müller Award
In the spirit of late Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller, the Robby Müller Award honours an ‘image maker’ (director of photography, filmmaker or visual artist). The third annual award went to Thai cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. The award is a collaboration between IFFR, the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers (NSC) and Andrea Müller-Schirmer, Robby Müller’s wife.
Jury: Andrea Müller-Schirmer, Jay Rabinowitz, Josje van Erkel, Richard van Oosterhout, Evgeny Gusyatinskiy, Gerwin Tamsma
“The images that Mukdeeprom creates always captures the fragility of things, an immanent tactility, understated yet profound. Somehow, the result appears to honor these things: be it a man, a plant, a ray of light, a dance, a dream, a flow of time, nature itself. When he films an empty space, it becomes clear that it was actually never empty.
We can say that Sayombhu’s quiet, respectful eye has animated even the most surreal stories, revealing them as real, or at least potentially real. He discovers the real, the natural, and the sensual within the realm of pure fiction. And vice versa: when he turns his camera to things undoubtedly real and unstaged, his images conjure up dreams and mysterious imaginations.”
Ammodo Tiger Short Competition
The Ammodo Tiger Short Competition jury handed out three equal Ammodo Tiger Short Awards. Becoming Male in the Middle Ages by Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Neves Marques won for their intimate tale of queer sexuality. Nazarbazi by Iranian director Maryam Tafakory won for her cinematic collage on Iranian film, which prohibits men and women touching on the silver screen. Nosferasta: First Bite by American filmmakers Bayley Sweitzer and Adam Khalil won with their vampire story about colonialism and punitive marijuana laws. IFFR additionally nominated Becoming Male in the Middle Ages by Pedro Neves Marques to the short film category for the European Film Awards (EFA).
Jury: Tim Leyendekker, Nduka Mntambo, Rieke Vos
Jury report Becoming Male in the Middle Ages:
“A film that stands out for its beautiful cinematography, its well-crafted characters and remarkably crisp dialogues. It introduces a conversation on gender, sex and the choice of reproduction that is both timely, controversial and thought-provoking. A film that is an excellent collision between classical narrative cinema and fine arts.”
Jury report Nazarbazi:
“An exceptionally skillful film, through the way it translates rigorous research into a convincing dramaturgical experience. The filmmaker managed to capture an argument into a piece of poetry – a seamless collage crafted with directorial intelligence and a seemingly effortless fluidity in both text and image. A film that seductively interrogates responses to censorship and suppression.”
Jury report Nosferasta:
“A film that bends our discursive awareness and challenges our analysis with regards to western colonial history, in a way that is original, humorous and inventive. The deliberate political intentions of the filmmakers result in a conceptual agility that is joyful, disrupting, generous and attractive. A film that is both an indictment and a comedy.”
VriendenLoterij Audience Award
Freaks Out by Italian director Gabriele Mainetti is the winner of the VriendenLoterij Audience Award 2022. Following online screenings on IFFR.com, audience members who purchased a ticket are invited to rate the film through online voting. The award, worth €10,000, is granted to the film which received the highest average rating in the audience poll during the festival.
Freaks Out: Four eccentrics with supernatural talents are forced to flee the rise of fascism in this adventurous mix of fantasy and war film. Alongside the stunning decors and attractive camerawork, Aurora Giovinazzo’s moving lead role is particularly striking.
Jury: Andrea Crozzoli, Diego Faraone, Ronald Glasbergen, Ana Sturm, Mikhael Essam Zakarea
Jury report: "To Love Again, debut fiction feature by Gao Linyang, is a tender and poignant observation of two deeply wounded souls, a portrait of a generation haunted by the traumas of the past and a delightful, bittersweet slice of life from the everyday of an elderly couple in contemporary China. With mature and sensible direction, Linyang realistically captures the pain that some still feel today due to misfortunes experienced in the recent past. His precise script skilfully mediates between humour and sadness, love and loss, life and death, patiently waiting for a glimpse of fragile hope, for a chance to love – and to be loved – again.”
Jury: Fritz de Jong, Joyce Roodnat, Clementine van Wijngaarden
Jury report: “A well-informed, precise and playful depiction of a gamified world. Punctured Sky invites us to play along with Jon Rafman’s entertaining reconstruction of perceived memories of adolescence. The jury is delighted to be unanimous in their decision.”