The 46th International Film Festival of Rotterdam (January 25th – February 5th) came to an end this year having proved its character to be the most risky and experimental of A-List film festivals while at the same time open to different kinds of viewers. Just as the city is widely appreciated for its cultural diversity (from outstanding contemporary architecture to multi-facet cuisine and very elaborate public space design that is welcoming and accepting to everyone), the festival is known to be a space of possibilities for daring new projects of various manners.
484 films were shown during ten days, and 108 of them were world premieres. Therefore, it was hard to grasp all the dimensions of the festival’s program. The audience could attend stunning workshops by Bela Tarr, Olivier Assayas and Barry Jenkins, the latter of whom was first discovered many years ago by this exact festival and who found virtually minutes in his hectic schedule to thank the IFFR for an opportunity given to him long ago. Visitors enjoyed films already appreciated by Cannes or Venice festivals as well as an extremely rare retrospective of Jan Nemec. A brand new program, Black Rebels, was also introduced this year; within this program one could see shorts telling the history of Black cinema in the Netherlands. And if that wasn’t enough, the public had an opportunity to admire interactive exhibitions and the works of Joost Rekveld, an abstractionist artist, whose films and light installations are based on the idea of visual music for the eye.
The members of this year’s jury consisted of American filmmaker Michael Almereyda, Columbian film producer Diana Bustamante Escobar, Malaysian filmmaker Amir Muhamad, Belgian filmmaker Fien Troch and photographer Newsha Tavakolian from Iran. The winner of the Hivos Tiger Competition of International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) was Sexy Durga by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan. Filmmaker Niles Atallah won the Special Jury Award for an exceptional artistic achievement in the competition with his film Rey. The Warsteiner Audience Award went to the audience favorite Moonlight by filmmaker Berry Jenkins. Sophie Goyette’s Still Night, Still Light (Mes nuits feront écho) won in the section Impact Cinema Bright Future. Also, the film Part 1 (La Flor) by Argentinian filmmaker Mariano Llinás received the Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award. (Victoria Smirnova © FIPRESCI 2017)
Edited by Steven Yates