READ MORE: Why This Year's Rotterdam Gems Were Outside the Competition
With the Dutch economy in crisis and the news dominated by the resignation of Holland's Queen, Rotterdam was relatively subdued this year. Nonetheless, it unfurled a typically varied and dense slate, featuring sidebars on the works of Ukranian provocateur Kira Muratova and German Dominik Graf, a sweeping collection of recent Iranian cinema and a program titled "Changing Channels," devoted primarily to new TV work and web series. Lena Dunham's "Girls" popped up here, as did recent work by Rotterdam alum Kitao Sakurai for Comedy Central, Ry Russo-Young's Paper Magazine web series "Muscle Top," the first foray into TV production of Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda, and an hour long dramatic series titled "Burning Bush."
Eurimages, the Council of Europe's fund for co-production, distribution, exhibition and digitization, awarded its 30,000 Euro Co-Production Development Award to Swede Johannes Nyholm's "The Giant." A regular at Sundance and Cannes with his short work, which often straddles the line between animation and traditionally photographed narrative, Nyholm's latest project -- budgeted at just over a million Euros with less than a twentieth of that figure in place when they arrived in Holland -- is about Rikard, an autistic and severely deformed man who is reeling from the loss of his mother when he escape to an imaginary world in which he is the hundred foot tall giant of the title.
ARTE France, the French-German TV network which is a key player in funding many co-productions and is newly headed by ex-Director's Fortnight and Locarno festival chief Olivier Pére, awarded its International Prize of 7,000 Euros to "Dogtooth" and "Alps" auteur Yorgos Lanthimos' new film "The Lobster." The project, which has just 25,000 Euros in place on a 1.9 million Euro budget, is Lanthimos first English language production. Hoping to shoot in 35mm throughout the UK and Ireland, Lanthimos has prepared a dystopian love story in which being single is illegal and those caught doing so are transported to an ominous place known as The Hotel. Once there, they have 45 days to find a mate or they must be transformed into an animal of their choosing, at which point they are released in the woods.
The WorldView New Genre Fund Development Award of 5,000 Euros went to "The Headless Woman" and "The Holy Girl" auteur Lucrecia Martel’s Spanish-Argentinian co-production "Zama," about an provincial official in an unnamed 18th century Spanish colony winding down what he thinks are the last days of an assignment that gets extended time and time again. Eventually he begins a quest to track down a dangerous Indian bandit, hoping to attract the attention of the crown and bring his perpetually elongated mission to an end. At just under four million Euros, the film is one of the largest-budgeted CineMart projects. Martel and her producers have raised about a third so far.