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2017 International Film Festival Rotterdam Award Winners

Sexy Durga by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan is the winner of the Hivos Tiger Competition of International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Filmmaker Niles Atallah of Rey won the Special Jury Award for an exceptional artistic achievement in the competition. The Warsteiner Audience Award went to the audience favorite Moonlight by filmmaker Berry Jenkins. The winner of the Impact Cinema Bright Future Award is Sophie Goyette’s Mes nuits feront écho.

This year’s VPRO Big Screen Award went to Pop Aye by Kirsten Tan. In this competition a five person audience jury awards a cash prize and distribution support to one of the eight films having their international premiere at IFFR. All films screening at IFFR 2017 that received support from the Hubert Bals Fund were eligible for the Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award. This year, La Flor (Parte 1) by Mariano Llinás received the highest score in this audience poll.

Festival director Bero Beyer: “It is a joy to see how the films at this year’s IFFR expand our horizons and offer new visions of cinema, particularly in a time when we explore different perspectives to relate to the state of the world. With outspoken and uncompromising work the filmmakers in the festival emphasized the unique empathic strength of cinema in all its hues with films that struck a chord with the audience. Congratulations to all the winners.”

The winner of the FIPRESCI Award, presented by the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique, went to Pela janela by Caroline Leone. Children Are Not Afraid of Death, Children Are Afraid of Ghosts by Rong Guang Rong won the NETPAC Award for best Asian movie. The KNF Award, given by the Circle of Dutch Film Journalists, went to King of the Belgians by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth. The MovieZone jury, the Dutch youth film jury gave the MovieZone Award to Quality Time by Daan Bakker.

Complete list of award winners of 2017 International Film Festival Rotterdam

Hivos Tiger Competition

The Hivos Tiger Competition was set up in 1995 with the aim of discovering, promoting and distinguishing up-and-coming international film talent. The award is accompanied by a €40,000 cash prize to be divided between director and producer. In addition, a Special Jury Award worth €10,000 is presented for an exceptional artistic achievement within the competition.

Winner Hivos Tiger Award: Sexy Durga – Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

Jury report: “For its daring and resourceful approach in creating a mood of constant tension. The particular use of camera and acting give a sense of immediacy and momentum, while providing an insight into multi-layered power dynamics of gender, class and authority.”

Winner special jury award: Rey – Niles Atallah, for an exceptional artistic achievement.

Jury report: “Rey is a visionary, ambitious and playful chronicle that has the intensity of a fever dream. The jury values and encourages the risks the film director deliberately was willing to take.”

Warsteiner Audience Award

Using the familiar tear-to-vote slips, visitors to IFFR select the audience’s festival favorite. The film getting the most votes wins the Warsteiner Audience Award, worth €10,000.

Winnaar Warsteiner Audience Award: Moonlight by Barry Jenkins.

All films supported by the Hubert Bals Fund screening at IFFR 2017 are eligible for the Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award, worth €10,000.

Winner of the Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award: La Flor (part 1) by Mariano Llinás

Impact Cinema Bright Future Award

Filmmakers whose first feature film has a world premiere or international premiere in the Bright Future section are eligible for the Impact Cinema Bright Future Award. This award is accompanied by a cash prize of €10,000. A jury of three film professionals determines the winner.

Winner Impact Cinema Bright Future Award: Mes nuits feront écho – Sophie Goyette

Jury report: “This film gently knits together the different sounds and colors of varied landscapes, countries, generations and passions, so that the whole delicate fabric produces a blanket under which fantasy, pain, loss and waiting of death can take place in an always singular way.”

Big Screen Competition

In the Big Screen Competition, a five person audience jury chooses a film, which deserves to be released in Dutch cinemas and to be purchased by Dutch broadcasting service NPO for broadcast on television on the VPRO channel. In addition, the award is associated with a cash prize for the filmmaker. The VPRO Big Screen Award has a total value of €30,000.

Winner VPRO Big Screen Award: Pop Aye – Kirsten Tan

Jury report: “We enjoyed all entries of this year’s competition. Each film showcased colourful characters who dealt with memories, personal expectations, societal pressure and with different points of view in their own unique way. The winner was able to excel in all those aspects and made us laugh and cry at the same time. Without getting too sweet. It is a movie that gives hope in times where the world is becoming more and more divided with every day. And it does all this in a surprising story about a man who goes on a trip with an elephant.”


The FIPRESCI Award is presented by the jury of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique (FIPRESCI) to the director of a film from the Bright Future section: the best debut film to have its world première at IFFR screening outside the competition.

Winner FIPRESCI Award: Pela janela – Caroline Leone

Jury report: “For the subtle portrait of a middle-aged woman’s turning point in her life, for the minimalistic yet complex mise en scene and for the way it intermingles emotional and political spheres without being overly demonstrative, the FIPRESCI prize goes to Pela janela.”


The NETPAC Award was presented by a jury from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) to the best Asian fiction feature.

Winner NETPAC Award: Children Are Not Afraid of Death, Children Are Afraid of Ghosts – Rong Guang Rong

Jury report: “The film is praised for its sincere expression of the director’s view on social issues still existing in Chinese society with a strong emotional impact. In this personal film that shows the bigger picture, the director cleverly observed the story using various methods that recounts the past and looks for a hope for future.”

KNF Award

The KNF Award is given to the best Dutch, or Dutch co-produced, feature film selected for IFFR 2017. The winner is selected by five delegates of the Circle of Dutch Film Journalists (Kring van Nederlandse Filmjournalisten (KNF)).

Winner KNF Award: King of the Belgians – Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth

Jury report: “Our winner is an immensely likable film set in a parallel world that closely resembles ours. Through its humour and charming main character, it touches on themes that are urgent and meaningful in today’s world. Along the way, the filmmakers also turn the camera back on themselves, questioning the responsibilities artists may have when playing with fact and fiction. Then again, who cares about protocol?”

MovieZone Award

MovieZone, which is part of EYE, presents the MovieZone Jury – the Dutch youth film jury – at all major film festivals. With a new jury team of young film-lovers at each festival, the MovieZone Jury determines which film will win the coveted MovieZone Award.

Winner MovieZone Award: Quality Time – Daan Bakker

Jury report: “This film pushes the boundaries of film further than we could have imagined with our mundane minds. A true talent rose to the occasion and manages to perfectly seize the pace of our human everyday life and our struggle to cope both with the world around us and ourselves. A world so similar to ours is created, but yet so absurd and surrealistic, in which there is still a lot more to explore and wander around.”

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