8 films have been nominated for the VPRO Big Screen Award 2017 at the upcoming International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Films competing for the award include: Chez nous, the highly current election drama by Lucas Belvaux (38 Témoins), as well as the intelligent, poignant Marjorie Prime by Tiger Award jury member Michael Almereyda. A film with glittering performances by Lois Smith, John Hamm, Geena Davis and Tim Robbins. All eight nominated films are world, international or European premieres.
In the Big Screen Competition, an audience jury determines the winner of the VPRO Big Screen Award worth €30,000. The award consists of a cash prize for the filmmaker as well a guaranteed release in Dutch cinemas and a purchase by Dutch public broadcaster NPO to be shown on the VPRO channel.
The Big Screen Competition 2017
A Hustler’s Diary – Ivica Zubak, Sweden, 2017, world premiere
The actions of the criminal Metin – just like the disconsolate Swedish settings in which his life unfolds – are veiled in shades of grey. He has grand dreams of becoming famous, but reality keeps getting in the way and head-butting him in the face. A layered portrait, raw and funny.
Chez nous – Lucas Belvaux, Belgium/France, 2017, world premiere
In Northern France, a beloved and devoted nurse is offered the candidacy for Mayor by a far-right party. The political campaign tests her will and personal life. A timely and sharp study of how populist ideology can quietly but surely contaminate ‘good’ people.
Donkeyote – Chico Pereira, Spain/Germany/UK, 2017, world premiere
Manolo wants to walk the Trail of Tears, the route used during the forced removal of Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma. But the 73-year-old Andalusian has chronic arthritis, speaks no English and more importantly: how will he get his trusty donkey, Gorríon, into the US?
Lemon – Janicza Bravo, USA, 2017, international premiere
Isaac Lachmann is forty. His acting career is bogged down, he is a major disappointment to his family and, to add insult to injury, his blind girlfriend leaves him. This isn’t how things were supposed to be.
Marjorie Prime – Michael Almereyda, USA, 2016, international premiere
A fascinating film about identity and memory, love and loss. In a near future dominated by artificial intelligence, 86-year-old Marjorie has conversations with a hologram that resembles her dead husband.
Pop Aye – Kirsten Tan, Singapore, 2017, European premiere
A disillusioned architect thinks he has found Pop Aye, the elephant from his childhood, in the streets of Bangkok. Together they set off on a journey to the village where they grew up.
The Last Painting – Chen Hung-i, Taiwan, 2017, world premiere
Multi-layered thriller about politics, art and murder. A student and political activist becomes the new housemate of a solitary painter. He is brusque and disillusioned; she is full of hope.
Family Life – Alicia Scherson/Cristián Jiménez, Chili, 2017, European premiere
To impress single mother Paz, lonely house-sitter Martín acts as if the home and the family photos are his. He’s a good liar – but what if it turns out to be true love?