Cameroonian filmmaker Cyrielle Raingou’s debut feature Le Spectre De Boko Haram was presented with the Tiger Award at the close of this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR, January 25-February 5).
One of 16 films selected for IFFR’s Tiger Competition, the documentary follows a group of children navigating life in a war zone. The jury described it as: “a story that centres on its filmmakers’ patient and honest gaze on the hovering presence of violence, seen through the eyes of innocents.”
Special Jury Awards in the Tiger Competition went to Munnel, directed by Sri Lankan filmmaker Visakesa Chandrasekaram, and New Strains, from US filmmakers Artemis Shaw and Prashanth Kamalakanthan. Munnel tells the story of an ex-Tamil Tiger militant returning home, while New Strains is a pandemic romcom, “set amidst the banality of lockdown life”.
The Tiger Competition jury consisted of Sabrina Baracetti, Lav Diaz, Anisia Uzeyman, Christine Vachon and Alonso Díaz de la Vega.
Meanwhile, Abbas Amini’s Endless Borders was presented with the VPRO Big Screen Award in the Big Screen Competition. The film follows an exiled Iranian teacher helping an Afghan refugee family, which triggers a multi-layered crisis of commitment.
The Big Screen Competition, which also selected 16 films, aims to bridge the gap between popular, classic and arthouse cinema. The winning film receives a theatrical release in the Netherlands, broadcast on Dutch TV by VPRO and NPO, and a €30,000 cash prize.
The Fipresci Award went to Ukrainian filmmaker Philip Sotnychenko’s feature debut, La Palisiada, which explores post-Soviet life in 1990s Ukraine. Sri Lankan filmmaker Jagath Manuwarna picked up the NETPAC award for Whispering Mountains, set in the near future when young people are committing suicide in droves and the government is blaming a supernatural virus.
This year’s IFFR was the first edition held as an in-person event since the festival was forced to move online by the pandemic in 2021.
IFFR 2023 WINNERS:
Tiger Competition Award: Le Spectre De Boko Haram, dir: Cyrielle Raingou
Special Jury Awards:
Munnel, dir: Visakesa Chandrasekaram
New Strains, dirs: Artemis Shaw, Prashanth Kamalakanthan
VPRO Big Screen Award: Endless Borders, dir: Abbas Amini
Fipresci Award: La Palisiada, dir: Philip Sotnychenko
NETPAC Award: Whispering Mountains, dir: Jagath Manuwarna
KNF AWARD: Aqueronte, dir: Manuel Muñoz Rivas
IFFR Youth Jury Award: Something You Said Last Night, dir: Luis De Filippis
Robby Müller Award: Hélène Louvart.
Ammodo Tiger Short Competition winners:
Natureza Humana, dir: Mónica Lima (Portugal, Germany)
Tito, dir: Kervens Jimenez and Taylor McIntosh (Haiti)
What The Soil Remembers, dir: José Cardoso (South Africa, Ecuador)