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British invasion at Rotterdam 2015

  • Short Film Tiger Award winners 2015

Winners of the Canon Tiger Awards for Short Films at Rotterdam 2015: Safia Benhaim, Ben Russell and Ben Rivers. Photo by Nichon Glerum/courtesy of IFFR

January 2015

It’s a strong year for British Film at the 2015 International Film Festival Rotterdam. Indeed, the festival’s well-received opening night selection was Tom Harper’s War Book.

British Council Film Programme Manager Wendy Mitchell was in Rotterdam this weekend, and she reports:

Saturday night saw the world premiere of Martin Radich’s Norfolk, in Rotterdam’s Tiger Awards Competition.

There was a full house (more than 400 people at least) in the audience for the premiere of Norfolk. Festival director Rutger Wolfson introduced the film by praising, “the style of the film balances a paradox between realism and absurdum.”

Director Martin Radich told me how the audience here impressed him: “It’s a friendly audience. I felt like they were on our side. They want to see different cinema, and that’s encouraging.”

Other British highlights in the IFFR programme include Luke Fowler and Mark Fell’s documentary To The Editor of Amateur Photographer, in a special What The F?! programme about feminism; Charlie Lyne’s Beyond Clueless about teen films; and Adam Curtis’ latest documentary Bitter Lake in its world premiere.

Even more selections include Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy, Daniel Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy, and Debbie Tucker Green’s Second Coming.

In the shorts programme, there were 13 British productions or co-productions, including Ben Rivers’ Things, the director’s 15th work to screen in Rotterdam; Ben Russell, another frequent visitor to Rotterdam, brought his 20th film to IFFR, Greetings to The Ancestors.

Both Rivers and Russell were triumphant at the awards ceremony for short films, they each won one of three equal Canon Tiger Awards for short films. (The third winner was Safia Benhaim’s La Fievre from France.)

Elsewhere at the festival, Edinburgh-based writer and programmer Harriet Warman was selected to participate in the festival’s young critics programme.

The Rotterdam Lab’s UK participants are Daisy Allsop of Zeitgeist Films, James Cotton of Cotton Real Entertainment, Emily Morgan of Quiddity Films, Rob Watson of Poisson Rouge Pictures, Rebecca Day of the Scottish Documentary Institute,  independent producers Sam Ferguson and Lindsay McGee, and Lauren Davies of Lola Cove Films.

In CineMart, there were three UK co-productions pitched: The Girl from the Estuary, directed by Gaelle Denis and produced by Ohna Falby; Vita & Virginia directed by Sacha Polak and produced by Evangelo Kioussis and Marleen Slot; and Mr. Sing Sing directed by Phil Collins and produced by Anja Lindner.

Rotterdam participates in British Council’s selector screenings. To read more about this programme click here.