The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has announced the 15 films competing for the VPRO Tiger Awards at this year's festival (Jan 23-Feb 3).
The competition line-up includes eight world premieres; all films are first or second features. Five of the 15 have been backed by Rotterdam 's Hubert Bals Fund.
Films selected include Eat For This Is My Body, a Haiti-set film starring Sylvie Testud directed by Michelange Quay; acclaimed Swedish short film-maker Jens Jonsson's feature debut adolescent comedy The King Of Ping Pong; China-set love story Shanghai Trance by Dutch director David Verbeek; and US low-budget indie Wellness by Jake Mahaffy. The full list of competitors follows.
The opening-night film, in competition, is the world premiere of Lucia Cedron's debut Lamb Of God (Cordero De Dios) from Argentina. The drama is about an elderly man kidnapped during Argentina's economic crisis of 2002, forcing his exiled daughter to return to Buenos Aires and confront her family's past.
'I feel Lamb Of God is an Opening Night Film made in true Rotterdam vein,' said Rutger Wolfson, who is serving as director of this year's festival after the departure of Sandra Den Hamer in mid-2007. 'Produced by veteran producer Lita Stantic, Lucia Cedron's film stands out as an exceptionally accomplished feature film debut. Lamb Of God shows the connections between very personal stories and family histories and the political, historical events of her country, Argentina, in an intelligent, controlled and, finally, emotional way.'
Woflson said that the compeition programme 'reflects the festival's diversity in programming, and features what may be a wider range than ever in style, attitude, origin or topic. Festival programmers Ludmila Cvikova, Gerwin Tamsma and Gertjan Zuilhof have chosen films that are striking on a visual, formal, and narrative level, and show the unmistakable talent of the makers.'
The Tiger Awards have been increased to $22,070 (Euros 15,000) for each of three winning features and $4,414 (Euros 3,000) for the short film awards.
Rotterdam 2008 VPRO Tiger Awards Competition
Eat, for This Is My Body (Mange, ceci est mon corps) by Michelange Quay (France/Haiti), European premiere
Flower in the Pocket by Liew Seng Tat (Malaysia), European premiere
Fujian Blue (Jin bi hui huang) by Wemg Shou-ming (China), European premiere, Hubert Bals Fund supported
Go with Peace Jamil (Ma salama Jamil) by Omar Shargawi (Denmark), world premiere
The King of Ping Pong (PingPong-Kingen) by Jens Jonsson (Sweden), European premiere
Lamb of God (Cordero de dios) by Lucia Cedron (Argentina), world premiere, Opening Film, Hubert Bals Fund supported
Las meninas by Igor Podolchak & Dean Karr (Ukraine), world premiere
Shanghai Trance by David Verbeek (The Netherlands), world premiere
The Sky, the Earth and the Rain (El cielo, la tierra y la lluvia) by Jose Luis Torres Leiva (Chili), world premiere, Hubert Bals Fund supported
Strizh by Abai Kulbai (Kazakhstan), international premiere
Tale 52 (Istoria 52) by Alexiou Alexis (Greece), world premiere
Waltz in Starlight (Hoshikageno Waltz) by Shingo Wakagi (Japan), international premiere
Wellness by Jake Mahaffy (US), world premiere
Wonderful Town by Aditya Assarat (Thailand), European premiere, Hubert Bals Fund supported
Years When I Was a Child Outside (Taon noong ako 'y anak sa labas) by John Torres (Philippines), world premiere, Hubert Bals Fund supported
IFFR 2008's Tiger Awards Competition for Short Films
27,000 Days by Naveen Singh (US)
5 Walks by Anna Abrahams (The Netherlands)
The Adventure by Mike Brune (US)
Ah, Liberty! by Ben Rivers (UK)
Allen Ginsberg Gives Great Head by X'Ho (Singapore)
As I Lay Dying by Ho Yuhang (Malaysia)
Batbox/Beatbox by Jani Ruscica (Finland)
Dear Bill Gates by Sarah Christman (US)
Elements of Nothing by Makino Takashi (Japan)
Foggy Mountains Break Down More Than Non Foggy Mountains by Jessie Stead (US)
Half Teaspoon (Setengah sendok the) by Ifa Isfansyah (Indonesia)
Launch by Brian Doyle (US)
Loud _Things by Telcosystems (The Netherlands)
Minot, North Dakota by Angelika Brudniak & Cynthia Madanski (US)
Mosaik mecanique by Norbert Pfaffenbichler (Austria)
Nook & Cranny by Francien van Everdingen (The Netherlands)
Observando el cielo by Jeanne Liotta (US)
The Rocket by Uruphong Raksasad (Thailand)
Sketch Film #5 by Tomonari Nishikawa (US)
Vertigo Rush by Johann Lurf (Austria)