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ROTTERDAM 2019

Rotterdam unveils its Tiger Competition and Big Screen Competition films

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- Titles that approach cinema in a new, unconventional way will be vying for the main prizes at the 48th IFFR, while Claire Denis, Sacha Polak and Jia Zhangke will host master classes

Rotterdam unveils its Tiger Competition and Big Screen Competition films
Take Me Somewhere Nice by Ena Sendijarević

As you no doubt saw earlier today (via our video stream on this very page), International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has announced the complete selection for the Tiger Competition and Big Screen Competition for its 48th edition. Furthermore, new names in the Talks & Masterclasses programme have been revealed, and they include Claire Denis, Sacha Polak and Jia Zhangke.

Looking first at the Tiger Competition, half of the eight participating filmmakers have attended IFFR before, while the rest will be presenting their works at the gathering for the first time. Amsterdam-based director of Bosnian heritage Ena Sendijarević returns after her successful short film Import, bringing her debut feature, Take Me Somewhere Nice [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, an unpredictable, tragicomic road trip set in the heart of the Balkans; Catalonian filmmaker Carlos Marqués-Marcet (Anchor and Hope [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlos Marques-Marcet
film profile
]
) is presenting his third feature, The Days to Come [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, a detailed account of a couple’s unexpected pregnancy (see the news); Swedish director Johannes Nyholm (The Giant [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Johannes Nyholm
film profile
]
) is bringing along his sophomore effort, Koko-di Koko-da, which follows a couple on a trip as they are lured into a maelstrom of psychological terror and humiliating slapstick; and first-time Brazilian duo Gabriel Martins Alves and Maurílio Martins portray the tough lives of the inhabitants of the city of Contagem in Brazil in No coração do mundo.

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The IFFR newcomers who are taking part in the Tiger Competition are: Danish debutant director Ulaa Salim with Sons of Denmark [+see also:
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]
, a political thriller that follows a 19-year-old who descends into radicalisation; acclaimed Russian actor Grigory Dobrygin with his directorial debut, Sheena667, where the low-key life of a man is turned upside down after he meets a girl from far away; Nona. If They Soak Me, I’ll Burn Them [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Chile’s Camila José Donoso, who portrays her grandmother as an anarchistic warrior in a town plagued by forest fires; and Present.Perfect., in which Chinese documentarian Shengze Zhu uses 800 hours of found footage of live-streamers. It’s worth noting that each film will have its own individual premiere day.

Bero Beyer, director of IFFR, stated: “The fringes of the globalised world, a nightmarishly catchy children’s song, and love and connection through ones and zeros – they all feature in the films selected for this year’s Tiger Competition: truly the forefront of off-beat, new approaches to cinema. This selection is a wonderful showcase of the imaginative ways in which today’s filmmakers try to comment on the world.”

Also, the Tiger Jury has been announced, and comprises Chilean filmmaker-artist Alfredo Jaar, Morelia Film Festival director Daniela Michel, former director of the Israel Film Fund Katriel Schory, Thai filmmaker-producer and programme director of the Singapore Film Festival Pimpaka Towira, and Italian filmmaker Susanna Nicchiarelli. The Tiger Award is worth €40,000, and the Special Jury Award comes with €10,000.

In the Big Screen Competition, eight films have been selected and will be vying for the €30,000 VPRO Big Screen Award, which guarantees a theatrical release in the Netherlands as well as broadcasting on Dutch public TV network NPO. Half of the prize is spent on the release and the rest on the next project by the winning filmmaker. The jury consists of five selected audience members.

Belgium’s Anke Blondé will open the competition with her dramedy The Best of Dorien B. [+see also:
trailer
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]
; Swedish documentarian Anna Eborn explores the post-Soviet unrecognised state of Transnistria in Transnistra; Anna Odell (The Reunion [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) orchestrates a provocative gender-identity experiment in her sophomore outing, X&Y [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Anna Odell
film profile
]
; Phaim Bhuiyan depicts a second-generation immigrant in Rome through the personal romantic comedy Bangla; May el-Toukhy’s sophomore feature, Queen of Hearts [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, is a controversial story about a stepmother (Trine Dyrholm) who seduces her teenage stepson (see the news); Israel’s Itay Tal will rock up with God of the Piano [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, a suspenseful drama about a mother with obsessive behaviour and high expectations for her son; Peny Lane examines the controversial religious group The Satanic Temple in her documentary Hail Satan?; and Argentinian director Carlos Sorín’s Joel is a refined adoption drama set in a small town in Patagonia.

The closing film of the 48th IFFR will be the existential thriller The Hummingbird Project [+see also:
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]
by Kim Nguyen, a Canadian-Belgian co-production starring Salma Hayek, Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skårsgard.

Finally, in addition to Cliff Martinez, Carlos Reygadas, Guillermo Arriaga and Alfredo Jaar, new names that will be participating in IFFR’s Talks & Masterclasses programme have also been announced. They include, among others, Claire Denis, whose High Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Claire Denis
film profile
]
is screening in Signatures; Sacha Polak, whose Dirty God will open the festival (see the news); Jia Zhangke, whose Ash Is Purest White [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
is showing in Limelight; and Agnieszka Holland, who will give the annual Freedom Lecture.

Here is the complete selection:

Tiger Competition

Sons of Denmark [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Ulaa Salim (Denmark)
No coração do mundo - Gabriel Martins Alves, Maurílio Martins (Brazil)
Take Me Somewhere Nice [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Ena Sendijarević (Netherlands/Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Present.Perfect. - Shengze Zhu (USA/Hong Kong)
Sheena667 - Grigory Dobrygin (Russia)
Nona. If They Soak Me, I’ll Burn Them [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Camila José Donoso (Chile/Brazil/France/South Korea)
Koko-di Koko-da - Johannes Nyholm (Sweden/Denmark)
The Days to Come [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 - Carlos Marqués-Marcet (Spain)

Big Screen Competition

Bangla - Phaim Bhuiyan (Italy)
The Best of Dorien B. [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Anke Blondé (Belgium)
God of the Piano [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Itay Tal (Israel)
Hail Satan? - Penny Lane (USA)
Joel - Carlos Sorín (Argentina)
Queen of Hearts [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- May el-Toukhy (Denmark)
Transnistra - Anna Eborn (Sweden)
X&Y [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Anna Odell
film profile
]
- Anna Odell (Sweden/Denmark)

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