By Andy Lauer | Indiewire February 5, 2010 at 9:56AM
The 39th annual International Film Festival Rotterdam announced the winners of its VPRO Tiger Awards competition this evening, with "Agua fría de mar" ("Cold Water of the Sea") by Paz Fábrega (Costa Rica, France, Spain, Netherlands, Mexico), "Mundane History" ("Jao nok krajok") by Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand), and "Alamar" ("To the Sea") by Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio (Mexico) taking the top Tiger. Each VPRO Tiger Award comes with a prize of €15,000.
IFFR's FIPRESCI Award, meanwhile, went to Ben Russell's "Let Each One Go Where He May," while the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award went to Whang Cheol-Mean's "Moscow" ("Yang han-mari, yang doo-mari"), "for the author's deep understanding of the internal world of the girl-outsider on her journey to find herself." The Mexican production "Norteado" ("Northless") by Rigoberto Perezcano was chosen by the Association of Dutch film critics for the KNF Award, along with a grant for subtitling the film.
Fifteen films by first or second-time filmmakers competed in the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition 2010. The jury consisted of French actress and singer Jeanne Balibar (who appears in Pedro Costa's "Ne change Rien," which screened during the festival), Polish-Dutch filmmaker Úrszula Antoniak ("Nothing Personal"), former director of the Singapore Film Festival Philip Cheah, Mexican film-maker and jury chair Amat Escalante ("Sangre," "Los bastardos" and attending CineMart with his project "Heli") and Ugandan actor and activist Okello Kelo Sam.
Earlier in the festival, the prizes for the Tiger Awards Competition for Short Films were announced. The three awards went to "Wei Wen" ("Condolences") by Ying Liang (China), "Atlantiques" by Mati Diop (France/Senegal) and "Wednesday Morning Two A.M." by Lewis Klahr (USA).
On Saturday February 6, the IFFR 2010 Audience Award and the Dioraphte Award for Best Hubert Bals Fund Supported Film will be announced. Fourteen films from the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition as well as five films from the Tiger Awards Competition of Short Films screen in the Rotterdam @ BAM showcase, March 3 - 9 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's BAMcinématek in New York.
The jury statements on the VPRO Tiger Award winning films:
Agua fría de mar (Cold Water of the Sea) by Paz Fábrega (Costa Rica, France, Spain, Netherlands, Mexico, 2010)
"We are impressed by the film that accomplishes to present in a convincing and poetic way the mysterious relationship between a woman and a young girl. The film takes the audience on an unusual trip into Nature that interacts in a magical way with humans. The superb editing builds organic flow of images while the strong directing creates an unnerving atmosphere and tension."
"Agua fría de mar" ("Cold Water of the Sea") is supported by the Hubert Bals Fund.
Mundane History (Jao nok krajok) by Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand, 2009)
"Constantly surprising, this film offers philosophical and political dimension of Thai society, while presenting a seemingly mundane story. To us, this film appeals to both intellect and spirituality. We are impressed by the film's accomplished way to interplay abstract ideas and harrowing reality."
"Mundane History" ("Jao nok krajok") is supported by the Hubert Bals Fund. Earlier in the festival, Anocha Suwichakornpong’s CineMart 2010 Project "By The Time It Gets Dark" was awarded with the Prince Claus Fund Film Grant of 15,000 euro.
Alamar (To the Sea) by Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio (Mexico, 2009)
"This naturalistic film stays true and honest to its subject and shows both: the happiness of being a child and tragedy of growing up in separate upbringing. To us the simplicity applied by the maker is at the same time the greatest strength of the film that cuts straight to a heart while avoiding sentimentality. The bondage between humans and Nature is beautifully rendered and ultimately transforms the films’ documentary approach into poetic image of childhood."