Pebbles by Vinothraj P.S. wins the 2021 Tiger Award

07 February 2021

IFFR 2021 Awards Ceremony

After a thrilling week in which audiences across the Netherlands experienced IFFR from home, the first part of our 50th edition came to a close. A live-streamed event from the festival’s yearly home ‘de Doelen’ announced this edition’s award winners.

The jury granted IFFR’s Tiger Award and €40,000 to the “seemingly simple and humble” Pebbles directed by Indian filmmaker Vinothraj P.S, which they described as “a lesson in pure cinema”. Although it deals with gruelling poverty in the searing drought-ridden landscapes of southern India, it succeeded nonetheless in captivating the jury with its “beauty and humour”.

The Special Jury Award went to I Comete – A Corsican Summer – a “true love letter of humanity” – by French filmmaker Pascal Tagnati for his humble take on daily life on the island of Corsica, alongside Looking for Venera by Norika Sefa. They were moved by the “purposeful restraint and unassuming sincerity” of the Kosovan director who tells the intimate coming-of-age story of a young girl navigating her strictly hierarchical surroundings.

El perro que no calla by Ana Katz from Argentina won the VPRO Big Screen Award after a  jury of five dedicated audience members decided what they called a “hopeful and optimistic story” deserved the guaranteed Dutch theatrical release and €30,000 prize. Katz was praised by the jury for her “radical choices regarding narrative, structure and cinematography” which came together in an empathetic, deadpan, and at times absurd look at a young man's struggle through life.

IFFR audiences voted to give the BankGiro Loterij Audience Award to Quo vadis, Aida? by Jasmila Žbanić for her portrayal of the Srebrenica massacre. Her drama will have profoundly touched local viewers by using the perspective of a UN interpreter working with Dutch Battalion soldiers who ultimately failed in their efforts to de-escalate this horrifying conflict.

A jury of international film journalists from the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique awarded the FIPRESCI Award to The Edge of Daybreak, their standout Tiger Competition title. Thai filmmaker Taiki Sakpisit used a “mysterious atmosphere and rich imagery” to depict the “trauma and violence” of decades of political turmoil in this despairing family chronicle. IFFR’s Youth Jury selected La nuit des rois by Philippe Lacôte for the Youth Jury Award. The jury were amazed by the film’s “ground-breaking blend of genres'' which included dance, poetry and prose in the surroundings of the La Maca jail outside the city of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, creating an “innovative, enchanting” film.

The Ammodo Tiger Short Awards were given to the “daring”, “sensitive”, “emotional journey” Sunsets, everyday by Pakistani filmmaker Basir Mahmood, the Havana-set reimagined city-symphony Terranova by Cubans Alejandro Pérez Serrano and Alejandro Alonso Estrella and the “savvy collage” Maat Means Land by California-based Native American artist and filmmaker Fox Maxy – described by the jury as “an empowering tool to join forces, speak up and reach unexpected audiences.” Norwegian director Ane Hjort Guttu won the KNF Award for her short film Manifesto which with its satirical view on art and contemporary society was the standout Tiger Short in the eyes of the Kring van Nederlandse Filmjournalisten jury. IFFR has also nominated Flowers blooming in our throats by Eva Giolo for the short film category of the European Film Award (EFA).

During the awards ceremony we also presented American filmmaker Kelly Reichardt with the Robby Müller Award, which honours an ‘image maker’ (director of photography, filmmaker or visual artist) in the spirit of the late Dutch cinematographer. The jury announced last December that Reichardt, who’s First Cow was a Limelight title in the 2021 edition, would be given the award for her “liberating independence and clarity of aesthetic vision” and for “creating pristine, unforced images in which the narrative can unfold and evolve, and the viewer's gaze can wander”.

Watch the Big Talk with Kelly Reichardt

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