For the seventh time, Willemstad will host Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam (CIFFR), from Wednesday April 11 through Sunday April 15, 2018. CIFFR presents the highlights of the most recent edition of IFFR, gripping new titles from other film festivals, and promising new work by filmmakers from the region, most importantly in its Yellow Robin Award Competition and the Caribbean Shorts Competition.
This year’s edition opens with Gustav Möller’s thrilling debut The Guilty, which won the Audience Award at IFFR 2018, and closes with Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin) with a wonderful role played by Annette Bening.
Yellow Robin Award Competition
For the sixth time, CIFFR presents the Yellow Robin Award Competition, in which five films by emerging filmmakers from the Caribbean and Latin America compete for the Yellow Robin Award. This year’s selections are Khalik Allah’s Black Mother (Jamaica, USA), Gustavo Ramos Perales’s El chata (Puerto Rico), Luis and Andrés Rodríguez’s Hijos de la sal (Venezuela), Vashti Anderson’s Moko Jumbie (Trinidad and Tobago, USA) and Álvaro Aponte-Centeno’s El silencio del viento (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, France). An international jury picks the winning film, which is guaranteed a spot in IFFR 2019’s Bright Future program and will also screen at Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico later in the year. The winning filmmaker receives a cash prize of $2,500 as well as $7,500 worth of training in the context of talent development in programs such as BoostNL or CineMart.
The five nominees for the 6th Yellow Robin Award are:
Khalik ALLAH | Jamaica, USA | 2018 | English | n.s.
In his artistic documentary, filmmaker/photographer Khalik Allah (1985, US) gives Jamaicans the opportunity to share their dreams and wisdom, but also to talk about the harsh everyday reality. The self-taught photographer and filmmaker portrays contemporary Jamaicans in a particularly honest fashion. From young streetwalkers and streetwise rappers to Rastafarians, mothers, agricultural laborers and devout church girls.
EL CHATA (The Sparring Partner)
Gustavo RAMOS PERALES | Puerto Rico | 2018 | Spanish | e.s.
Director Ramos Perales (1980, Puerto Rico) took the scintillating boxing scene of Puerto Rico as the point of departure for his debut drama The Sparring Partner about second chances and perseverance. Convincing acting and action-packed fight scenes reveal that boxing seems to promise a better life for many Puerto Ricans, but even with great ambition and talent, there’s a constant pull to abandon the straight and narrow.
HIJOS DE LA SAL (Children of the Salt)
Luis and Andrés RODRÍGUEZ | Venezuela | 2018 | Spanish | e.s.
Hijos de la sal is the second feature film by brothers Luis and Andrés Rodríquez (1974, Venezuela). This luxuriant, absorbing family drama is set in the salt pans of Cumaragues, Venezuela where, after the death of their father, Evaristo, the lives of Enrique (13) and Maria (16) get a lot harder. Sound plays a major role in the film; the almost tangible presence of the wind, waves and music lend it a magic-realist edge.
Vashti ANDERSON | 2017 | Trinidad & Tobago, USA | English | n.s.
A romantic drama about roots and tolerance by Trinidadian-American filmmaker Vashti Anderson. While visiting her aunt in Trinidad, young Englishwoman Asha meets mysterious neighbour Roger. This starts a romantic, magical search for identity and love. Intense debut film that delicately navigates taboos, superstition and spirituality.
EL SILENCIO DEL VIENTO (Silence of the Wind)
Álvaro APONTE-CENTENO | Puerto Rico, Dom. Republic, France | 2017 | Spanish | e.s.
In his debut film, Silence of the Wind, Álvaro Aponte-Centeno (1979, Puerto Rico) depicts a humane, yet no less dramatic side of the global immigration crisis. Together with his sister Carmen, Rafael is part of a human trafficking network that helps move fortune seekers to Puerto Rico. The country’s beautiful landscapes contrast markedly with the tragedies of human trafficking victims.
CIFFR launched in 2012 as a collaboration between the Curaçao-based Fundashon Bon Intenshon and International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Since then, the festival has served as a platform for young local film talent and has brought feature films, documentaries and short films from all over the world together in Curaçao.
Festival Director Bero Beyer: “CIFFR offers a wonderful treat: five days of celebrating independent cinema on a beautiful island which has always been a meeting point for many different cultures. The voices represented at the festival range from those of internationally renowned filmmakers to those of emerging local artists, which results in a unique mix of different perspectives and tones. The selection for this seventh edition is as lively and diverse as ever and is sure to open up a world of daring and beautiful film to a wide audience.”
Caribbean Shorts Competition
Last year CIFFR introduced the Caribbean Shorts Competition, which returns for its second installment this year. The program is the result of a region-wide collaboration. Six film festivals – in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Martinique, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and CIFFR itself – submitted a short film to enter the Caribbean Shorts Competition. The winning film will later screen at all these festivals.
Besides the competitions, the seventh edition of CIFFR presents a special program entitled Scenes of Senses that investigates the way film stimulates not just the eye, but our other senses too. There is also an extensive educational program as well as the recurring Music Call program featuring music documentaries. Among the twenty or so highlights from IFFR 2018 shown in Curaçao are The Insult by Ziad Doueiri, The Florida Project by Sean Baker and three films that competed in the Hivos Tiger Competition, including the Special Jury Award and HBF Audience Award winner The Reports on Sarah and Saleem by Muayad Alayan.