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Rotterdam awards En Route, The Missing and Summer...

33rd International Film Festival Rotterdam
Wednesday, January 21 - Sunday, February 1, 2004

During the IFFR 2004 Awards Ceremony on Friday, January 30, 2004 in Concert and Congress Centre 'de Doelen' in Rotterdam, the winning films of the 33rd International Film Festival Rotterdam were announced. The three VPRO Tiger Awards were granted to BU JIAN (THE MISSING) by Lee Kang-sheng from Taiwan, UNTERWEGS (EN ROUTE) by Jan Krüger from Germany and the Hubert Bals Fund supported LJETO U ZLATNOJ DOLNINI (SUMMER IN THE GOLDEN VALLEY) by Srdjan Vulectic from Bosnia-Herzogovina. On Saturday January 31, 2004 the KPN Audience Award will be announced.

Following the IFFR Awards Ceremony, the City of Rotterdam awarded IFFR director Simon Field the Wolfert van Borselen Medal as a token of appreciation for his hard work and passionate commitment to the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The French Ministry of Culture and Communication awards Simon Field with the grade of 'Officier dans l'ordre des Arts et Lettres' for his achievements in the artistic domain and for his contributions to propagation of the French culture. The farewell ceremony for Simon Field, who will leave the IFFR after this 33rd edition, concluded with a series of cinematographic hommages by some of his favourite filmmakers like Kitano Takeshi (Japan), Jan Svankmajer (Czech Republic), Catherine Breillat (France), Patrick Keiller (UK), Abolfazl Jalili (Iran), Tsai Ming-liang (Taiwan), Kees Hin (The Netherlands) and Kawase Naomi (Japan).

VPRO Tiger Awards
Sixteen films by first or second filmmakers competed in the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition 2004. The Jury consists of chairman and Brazilian filmmaker Mr. Júlio Bressane (FILME DE AMOR, DIAS DE NIETZSCHE EM TURIN), Mr. Chris Dercon (director of the HAUS DER KUNST in München, Germany), writer Mr. Hafid Bouazza (The Netherlands), filmmaker Ms. Claire Denis, (VENDREDI SOIR, TROUBLE EVERYDAY) (France) and South Korean filmmaker Mr. Jang Sun-Woo, (RESURRECTION OF A LITTLE MATCHGIRL).

The jury statements on the VPRO Tiger Award winning films:

"It is apparent that precise inertia still exerts a magic attraction in film. Lee Kang-sheng does not eschew the metaphor in portraying the story of split families in the modern city in a melancholy, humorous way. The liberating effect of the provisional innocence of the child plays an important role in this film too".

"Jan Kruger uses a raw and unconventional film style to portray a contemporary virus, namely fear of the unknown and the dislocating effect of the alien. In the end everyone is left behind alone - even the viewer of this fairytale about good and evil".

"In sparkling dialogues and an attractive narrative rhythm, Srdjan Vuletic shows that self-deprecating humour has a salutary effect on coping with the traumas of war. The film is discordant and about discord. Only individuals can stay on their feet. But who can really survive?"

Each VPRO Tiger Award comes with a prize of Euro 10,000, and guaranteed broadcast by Dutch public television network VPRO.

The jury of the international association of film critics FIPRESCI (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique), consisting of chairman Mr. Ikbal Zalila, Mr. Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader (US), Le Renouvau (Tunisia), Ms. Ruth Pombo, Levante (Spain) Mr. Sabbir Chowdhury, The Protom Alo (Bangladesh), Mr. Pieter van Lierop, GPD (Geassocieerde Pers Diensten) (The Netherlands), has awarded its FIPRESCI Award to PEEP "TV" SHOW by Tsuchiya Yutaka (Japan), selected for the IFFR 2004 VPRO Tiger Awards Competition.

KNF Award
The jury of the KNF, the Association of Dutch film critics, at the International Film Festival Rotterdam consisting of chair Ms. Bianca Stigter (NRC Handelsblad), Mr. Peter van Bueren, Mr. Gerhard Busch, VPRO, Mr. Ruben van Eijl, Schokkend Nieuws/TMF Movie Facts, Ms. Remke de Lange, Trouw, gives its award to BU JIAN (THE MISSING) by Lee Kang Sheng (Taiwan).

The jury on THE MISSING: "A film as concrete as it is mysterious, that expresses in a simple, profound and obstinate way the sense of loss people experience in modern society".

A special mention goes to SAVE THE GREEN PLANET! (JI-GU-REUL JI-KYEO-RA!) by Jang Jun-Hwan, "A film that really justifies the exclamation mark in its title. Through this energetic, inventive mix of genres shines a big heart."

"The Award of the KNF is meant to stimulate the release of a film that is not assured of distribution in The Netherlands. We mourn the fact that films of well-known directors as Catherine Breillat, Michael Winterbottom and Tsai Ming-liang probably will not be shown in Dutch cinemas. Our award goes to THE MISSING, the first feature film by the Taiwanese director Lee Kang-sheng. It would be a joy to see it together with GOODBYE, DRAGON INN by Lee's teacher Tsai Ming-liang."

To the KNF Award, a grant is attached for subtitling the film, sponsored by HOLLAND SUBTITLING.

MovieZone Award
The MovieZone youth jury this year consisting of five girls with Ms. Michka Chel (17),
Ms. Ilmer Rozendaal (16), Ms. Tjakka Diddens (22), Ms. Marijke Lamers (22) and Ms. Kim Klijnsma (23), chose the VPRO Tiger Award candidate and Hubert Bals Fund supported LJETO U ZLATNOJ (SUMMER IN THE GOLDEN VALLEY) by Srdjan Vuletic as their favourite film.

"SUMMER IN THE GOLDEN VALLEY struck us immediately. The film is set in the postwar Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It tells us the humorous tale about a boy who finds himself in situations where it seems to be inevitable to make the wrong decisions. His sense of beauty, shown through visual symbols, saves him from a future in crime. In our vision, the protagonist represents a generation, which has to struggle to survive in a traumatized society. Luckily the director has a hopefull message. We left the cinema smiling."

On Thursday afternoon January 29, the prize of 5,000 Euro was given the filmmaker, followed by the screening of his film.

Prince Claus Fund Film Grant
The Prince Claus Fund Film Grant for a 2004 CineMart project has been awarded to
'THE ABANDONED LAND' by Vimukhti Jayasundara (Sri Lanka).

The Jury Report states that:
"The Jury has opted for a treatment that is very promising on a number of different levels and for a plan where the devastating effects of war merge with the will to live and a quest for identity. Moreover the Jury felt that it was particularly exciting to support a film-maker who appears to be on the threshold of an extremely important debut, a film-maker who also comes from a country that is rarely represented in the film world."

The Jury consisted of Mr. Karim Traïdia (film-maker and member of the Prince Claus Fund Board), Ms. Claire Lajoumard (producer, France), Mr. Wang Xiaoshuai (director, China), Mr. Imruh Bakari (festival director Zanzibar International Film Festival) and Mr. Ronald Ockhuyzen (film critic, the 'Volkskrant' newspaper).

The NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Jury consisting of Ms. Indu Shrikent, Cinemaya (India), Mr. Yves Thoraval, Le Monde Diplomatique/Cinemaya (France), Mr. Mani Kaul, filmmaker (The Netherlands) awards Lee Kang-sheng for his film BU JIAN (THE MISSING) and gives a Special Mention to ZHIFU (UNIFORM) by Diao Yinan (China), a Hubert Bals Fonds supported film.

"Lee Kang-sheng has in his film THE MISSING not only captured a tragic but random development in the life of an aging woman suddenly responsible for her missing grandson, but also managed to spread the profound anguish upon the city of Taipei itself. The Netpac Jury is pleased to observe that while THE MISSING dares to employ slow and almost real-time measures resulting in a dense visual stasis, the film in no way lapses into any mannerism, a danger some other Asian films might seem to face."

Amnesty International - DOEN Award
Alexei German Jr.'s THE LAST TRAIN (POSLEDNY POEZD) (Russia, 2003) is the winner of the second Amnesty International-DOEN Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). The jury gave a Special Mention to UNIFORM (ZHIFU) (China, 2003) by Diao Yinan. The Amnesty International-DOEN Award involves a € 5.000 stipendium prize. Filmmuseum Distribution will release THE LAST TRAIN in the Dutch art houses by the end of 2004.

Ten films from the IFFR programme were nominated for the Amnesty International - DOEN Award. Focal points in the evaluation process are the way human rights are portrayed, originality and style, as well as the personal involvement of the filmmaker(s).

The jury, existed of Ms. Hülya Uçansu, director of the International Film Festival Istanbul (Turkey), Chair Ms. Heikelien Verrijn Stuart, journalist/publicist (The Netherlands) Mr. Garin Nugroho, filmmaker (Indonesia) Mr. Mahamat Saleh Haroun, filmmaker (France) Mr. Murali Nair, filmmaker (UK)


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