Sixteen films have been selected for this year's VPRO Tiger Awards Competition in Rotterdam (Jan 21-Feb 1), among them eight world premieres.
The films come from all corners of the world, including Peru, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Japan and Macedonia (see full list below).
International Film Festival Rotterdam director Simon Field said that many of the films - such as Young Gods, How I Killed A Saint, Days of Santiago, Uniform and to some extent The Wooden Camera - dealt with the theme of a younger generation trying to find their way in a very unclear and uncertain world.
Field added that Japanese competition film Peep 'TV' Show is about a generation that is completely separated from their parents. "It's about this culture of women in the city of Tokyo, who dress up in very strange clothes and lead odd lives."
Field also noted that a lot of interesting work was beginning to emerge from the Balkans, with two competition films - How I Killed A Saint and Summer In The Golden Valley - coming from the region. Field commented: "In these films, there's a close involvement with politics and a reaction to political issues'they're about the way people are surviving in countries in turmoil."
Field also said that, while making his selection, he had noticed a resurgence in Italian independent filmmaking "in the sense that there are films that deal with regional themes and are often much more modest and poetic in their approach to storytelling and are just trying to describe just ordinary people's lives. That's one of the things I like about Three Steps Dancing."
Two of the Tiger competitors are shot on DV: Chinese film Uniform, which springs from the new generation of young Chinese filmmakers, and Peep 'TV' Show. "DV should be valued for the competition just as a 35mm feature," said Field.
He pointed out that no Argentinian film features in competition this year - unlike previous years where they have regularly played in competition.
Rotterdam competition titles 2004:
Four Shades Of Brown (Fyra Nyanser Av Brunt) by Tomas Alfredson (Sweden, 2004), world premiere.
Aaltra by Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern (Belgium, 2004), world premiere.
Uniform (Zhifu) by Diao Yinan (China/Japan, 2003), European premiere.
Somnambulance (Somnambuul) by Sulev Keedus (Estonia/Finland, 2003), international premiere.
Asshak, Tales From The Sahara (Asshak, Geschichte Aus Der Sahara) by Ulrike Koch (Switzerland/Germany, 2004), international premiere.
En Route (Unterwegs) by Jan Krueger (Germany, 2003), world premiere.
The Missing (Bu Jian) by Lee Kang-sheng (Taiwan, 2003), European premiere.
The Wooden Camera by Ntshaveni Wa Luruli (South Africa, 2004), European premiere.
Scent Of The Lotus Pond (Bora Diya Pokuna) by Satyajit Maitipe (Sri Lanka, 2004), world premiere.
Days Of Santiago (Dias De Santiago) by Josue Mendez (Peru, 2004), world premiere.
Three Steps Dancing (Ballo A Tre Passi) by Salvatore Mereu (Italy, 2003), European premiere.
How I Killed A Saint (Kako Ubiv Svetec) by Teona Strugar Mitevska (Macedonia, 2004), world premiere.
Grande Ecole by Robert Salis (France, 2004) world premiere.
Young Gods (Hymypoika) by J.P. Siili (Finland, 2003), international premiere.
Summer In The Golden Valley (Ljeto U Zlatnoj Dolini) by Srdjan Vuletic (Bosnia-Herzegovina/France/United Kingdom, 2003), European premiere.
Peep "Tv" Show by Yutaka Tsuchiya (Japan, 2003), world premiere.