The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) on Sunday announced the three winning short films of this year’s Ammodo Tiger Short Competition. The winning films are Freedom of Movement by Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani, Wong Ping’s Fables 1 by Wong Ping and Ultramarine by Vincent Meessen. Freedom of Movement has also been selected as IFFR’s Short Film Candidate for the European Short Film Awards 2019.
The jury was made up of Vietnamese artist Nuyen Trinh Thi, festival director of Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur John Canciani, and filmmaker/artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan. The three Ammodo Tiger Short Awards each come with €5,000 in prize money.
Freedom of Movement
Evoking the Olympic marathon in Rome 1960 in which Ethiopian Abebe Bikila won Africa’s first gold medal, running barefoot and becoming a sporting legend and symbol of an Africa freeing itself from colonialism in the process, the artists have re-contextualized this amidst Rome’s rationalist architecture as a new race involving refugees and immigrants staking a claim to ‘freedom of movement’: also understood as the possibility of being welcomed in another country.
The jury on Freedom of Movement: “This film thoughtfully contrasts images of emancipation and resistance, against sobering illustrations of what feels like the unsurpassable reality of structural racism. Most effectively this is achieved through two sudden and compelling stylistic shifts. Although the jury thinks it could be more condensed, this film effectively expresses the complexities of race and migration through architecture and the body.”
Wong Ping’s Fables 1
Poppy animation combines stories about a Buddhist elephant, a social media-addicted chicken and a tree trunk with an insect phobia. Artist Wong Ping was inspired by his own everyday observations. He deals with personal issues including digital contact, physical love, narcissism and fear shamelessly and with biting humour, all in neon colour. Ultimately there is a moral to this fable.
The jury on Wong Ping’s Fables 1: “This film inhabits yet subverts the form of fables in their use of animals, plants and objects to illustrate a particular moral lesson. This film plays with the expectations we have with narratives, leading it uncompromisingly to absurdity. It questions the lessons we have been told since childhood. Its most effective and innovative tool in this task is the bright, colourful, puerile, beautiful and sometimes repulsive digital imagery of the world that it creates.”
Ultramarine is a visual poem, narrating the ‘exile blues’ through spoken word performance, improvised rhythms and textile display. It is a poetic essay in repoliticising one of the most universal colours, which also has colonial references. Objects and documents are rendered in words by the Afro-American poet Kain, voiced in music improvised by drummer Lander Gyselinck and animated in images by Vincent Meessen. Ultramarine is composed like a spectrum: it unfolds and intertwines fragments of meaning.
The jury on Ultramarine: “Rarely has the relevance of film to performance been so clear. The role of cinema here stunningly enforces the rhythm, vision, and urgency of the poet’s delivery. The film is precisely structured in a way that allows us to see the images the poet conjures, to sonorise the beat at which he speaks and to feel what is so radical in his utterance. The jury was utterly convinced.”