The 36th International Film Festival Rotterdam opens on January 24th with the world premiere of Argentine feature The Aerial (La Antena) by director Esteban Sapir. Festival director Sandra den Hamer calls the black-and-white feature 'one of the most original productions of the year. It is a cinematic statement again the influence of the mass media.'

The film is also one of the nominees in the Tiger Award Competition. The list of 14 international competitors includes eight world premieres. La Antena was partly financed by the Rotterdam Hubert Bals Fund.

La Antena is a magical allegory about the power of the television. The story is told in a surreal city lead by Mr Tv. The dictator supervises all words included in the broadcasting, as well as the food distribution in town. All inhabitants of the town are literally muted. Only singer 'La Voz' (the voice) has the strength to stand up to Mr Tv and save the city from his repressive reign.

Esteban Sapir has been working as a television cameraman and scriptwriter since 1995 and made his directorial debut with 1996's Fine Powder (Picado Fino).

Other films included in the Tiger Award Competition are La Marae by Diego Martinez Vignatti (Belgium), Fourteen by Hirosue Hiromasa (Japan), Die Unerzogenen by Pia Marais (Germany), Does it Hurt' The First Balkan Dogma by Aneta Lesnikovska (Macedonia) and Bog of the Beasts by Claudio Assis (Brazil).

Rotterdam's official selection includes 18 other films supported by the Hubert Bals Fund. They are Tan Chui Mui's Love Conquers All, Garin Nugroho's Opera Jawa, Lav Diaz's Book One: The Legend of the Lizard Princess (Heremias), Don Askarian's Ararat - Fourteen Views, Maria Saakyan's The Lighthouse (Mayak), Boris Khlebnikov's Free Floating (Svobodnoe Plavanie), Djamila Sahraoui's Barakat!, Tariq Teguia's Rome Rather Than You (Roma Wa La N'Touma), Eva Neymann's At The River (U Reki), Ho Yuhang's Rain Dogs (Tai Yang Yu), Wang Liren's Weed, Gan Xiao'er's Raised From Dust (Ju Zi Chen Tu), James Lee's Before We Fall In Love Again, Ruben Imaz Castro's Turtle Family (Familia Tortuga), Tata Amaral's Antonia, Ying Liang's The Other Half (Ling Yi Ban), Ramon Mes De Guzman's Balikbayan Box, Woo Ming Jin's The Elephant And The Sea and Deepak Kumaran Menon's Dancing Bells (Challanggai).