The International Film Festival Rotterdam has announced the initial films in its Tiger Awards competition and other special programmes for its 40th annual event, which runs Jan 26-Feb 6.

The Tiger Awards for first or second films includes a strong number of Asian titles: The Journals of Musan by Park Jungbum (South Korea), Bleak Night from Yoon Sung-hyun (South Korea), The Image Threads by Vipin Vijay (India), Flying Fish by Sanjeewa Pushpakamara (Sri Lanka), Eternity by Sivaroj Kongsakul (Thailand) and Rainy Seasons by Majid Berzagar (Iran).

The single European selection so far is Lawrence Tooley’s Headshots (Germany/Austria). More Tiger competitors will be announced in January.

The jury will include Argentinean filmmaker Lucrecia Martel, EYE Film Institute Netherlands director (and former IFFR head) Sandra den Hamer, Romanian filmmaker Andrei Ujica, Thai filmmaker Wisit Sasanatieng, and Sonic Youth member Lee Ranaldo. The jury will select three Tiger Award winners, each receiving Euros 15,000 (donated by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds).

For its 40th edition, and to mark the 15th Tiger competition, IFFR will present a special one-time programme Return of the Tiger, which will present new films from former Tiger winners and competitors. Those selections include Koen Mortier’s 22nd of May, Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff, Hong Sang-Soo’s Oki’s Movie, Alex Stockman’s Pulsar, Patrick Keiller’s Robinson in Ruins, and Tan Chui Mui’s Year Without A Summer.

For shorts, the Tiger competition has already selected new films including Maska by the Quay Brothers and Aleksandra Streyanaya’s Bread For Bird. The jurors for shorts include Fiona Tan, Anocha Suwichakornpong, and Thom Andersen.

One of its special Signals programmes this year will be Water Tiger Inn, which will present Chinese martial arts (wu xia) films and create a special festival venue modelled after a Chinese tavern (to be located inside main festival home de Doelen). The 20-film programme, curated by Chinlin Hsieh, includes Red Heroine (1929), Golden Swallow (1968), Executioners from Shao Lin by Lau Kar-leung (1977), Drunken Master (1978) and Yip Man (2008), and Reign of Assassins (2010).

The Shorts section of Spectrum will include several hundred recent films, now shown at the new LantarenVenster. Special sections of shorts will be devoted to Rotterdam-based Telcosystems and Canadian filmmakers Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Batterby. Also there will be compilations from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Another previously announced programme, Red Westerns, will open Jan 29 with a special screening of 1924 film The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West In The Land of the Bolsheviks, with live accompaniment by the Metropole Orchestra.

The festival is also celebrating its 40th anniversary year with additional locations to host film screenings, video installations or film-related art: Rotterdamse Schouwburg, Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy, Cine-Qua-Non bookshop and Water Tiger Inn-tavern in de Doelen, Galerie Wilfried Lentz and installation by Peggy Ashweh in the Groothandelsgebouw, Czech Centre, Alliance Française, PrintRoom, Kunst en Complex, Chabot Museum, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Natuurhistorisch Museum, V2_Institute for Unstable Media, TENT, Showroom MAMA, RO Theater, Blaak10 Galerie, Margreet Olsthoorn/MGHO, Oogziekenhuis Rotterdam, Theater Zuidplein, Sub Urban Video Lounge, Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum, Roodkapje, Your Space, Worm & Fitness First, Schieblock, Gemeentearchief Rotterdam, Cucosa and Hotel New York.

The festival welcomes three new sponsors – Dutch telecoms company UPC, drinks brand Jameson and Dutch rail company NS.

The full festival programme will be published at the festival website on Jan 20.