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Rotterdam@BAM Brings Best of Fest to Brooklyn

Rap music and urban renewal aren't the only things Brooklyn, New York, and the Dutch city of Rotterdam have in common. Both advance a version of the Rotterdam film festival.

On March 3-9, 2010, a month after curtains closed at the 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam (January 27—February 7), the Brooklyn Academy of Music rolls out Rap music and urban renewal aren't the only things Brooklyn, New York, and the Dutch city of Rotterdam have in common. Both advance a version of the Rotterdam film festival.
On March 3-9, 2010, a month after curtains closed at the 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam (January 27—February 7), the Brooklyn Academy of Music rolls out Rotterdam @ BAM. The stateside series reprises 14 features and shorts from IFFR’s Tiger Award competition sponsored by the Dutch public television network VPRO.
For Florence Almozini, program director of BAMcinématek, the week-long showcase is a chance to tap into the "bold artistic vision" of IFFR, which launches emerging independent and experimental work, including art exhibitions and live performances. One of the largest film festivals in the world, IFFR is notched among Europe's finest — Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Locarno.
Nearly all of the films at BAM will receive their New York premieres, with some also debuting in the US and North America.
The opening-night selection is the US premiere of Alamar, marking documentary filmmaker Pedro González-Rubio's first plunge into the narrative feature depths. Also shot (largely underwater) by González-Rubio, the film probes the relationship between a father and son vacationing off the coast of Mexico before the latter moves to Rome to live with his mother.
Following the premiere, an invitation-only affair, will be a reception for filmmakers, festival organizers and industry professionals. Civilians can catch Alamar on March 4 at BAM and subsequently in theaters.
Anocha Suwichakornpong's Mundane History brings a bit of Thailand to Brooklyn. Continuing the father-son motif, this philosophical and political musing takes on the unsteady relationship between an elusive man and his invalid kid, inviting into the breach a new caretaker and a post-rock Asian soundtrack.
Cold Water of the Sea (Aqua fría de mar), by Costa Rican filmmaker Paz Fábrega, is another Tiger Award-winner having its U.S. premiere at BAM. Like Alamar, it finds its Latino protagonists on holiday by the sea, only this time the lens trails a young woman grappling with her confined life through the prism of a runaway girl. The film has its North American premiere on March 6.
Rotterdam @ BAM braves the first partnership between a European festival and an American film house. Yet it's hardly BAMcinématek’s maiden collaboration; the successes of "Sundance Institute at BAM" and "Directors’ Fortnight at 40" provided inspiration.
The transatlantic series encompasses industry screenings and events, reaching out beyond the usual BAMcinématek crowd to target distributors, sales agents and other film professionals.
Narrowed from IFFR's 250 feature films and 450 shorts, the lineup takes to heart the Renaissance-era adage, "We cannot all do everything." Can it be any coincidence that this wisdom was authored by Dutch humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam?
Rotterdam @ BAM feature films:
Alamar (Pedro González-Rubio, Mexico)
Autumn Adagio (Tsuki Inoue, Japan)
C'est déjà l'été (Martijn Maria Smits, The Netherlands/Belgium)
Cold Water of the Sea (Paz Fábrega
Let Each One Go Where He May (Ben Russell, U.S./Suriname)
Mama (Yelena & Nikolay Renard, Russia)
Miyoko (Tsubota Yoshifumi, Japan)
Mundane History (Anocha Suwichakornpong, Thailand)
My Daughter (Charlotte Lay Kuen Lim, Malaysia)
R (Michael Noer & Tobias Lindholm, Denmark)
Street Days (Levan Koguashvili, Georgia)
Sun Spots (Yang Heng, Hong Kong/China)
The Temptation of St. Tony (Veiko Õunpuu, Estonia/Sweden/Finland)
La vie au Ranch (Sophie Letourneur, France)
By Laura Blum

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