From left to right: Susanna Nicchiarelli (president Tiger Jury), Zhu Shengze (filmmaker), and Zhengfang Yang (producer) International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 Award Winners
From left to right: Susanna Nicchiarelli (president Tiger Jury), Zhu Shengze (filmmaker), and Zhengfang Yang (producer) International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 Award Winners

Present.Perfect. directed by Zhu Shengze, described as a “daring film” by the jury, won the top prize – Tiger Award at the 2019 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Dutch filmmaker Ena Sendijarević won the Special Jury Award for Take Me Somewhere Nice. Audience favorite Capharnaüm by Nadine Labaki won the BankGiro Loterij Audience Award. The VPRO Big Screen Award was awarded to Transnistra by Anna Eborn from Sweden.

Aya Koretzky’s A volta ao mundo quando tinhas 30 anos won the Bright Future Award for best feature-film debut. The Bright Future jury gave a special mention to Historia de mi nombre by Karin Cuyul. La Flor (Parte 2) by Argentine filmmaker Mariano Llinás picked up the Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award.

In congratulating all winners, festival director Bero Beyer said: “These filmmakers don’t just show that independent cinema is alive and kicking, but that they are able to explore new cinematic grounds. We thank them for their courage and passion.”

The FIPRESCI Award from the international film critics went to End of Season by Elmar Imanov. The KNF Award, presented by the Circle of Dutch Film Journalists, went to Tarde para morir joven by Dominga Sotomayor.

Last Night I Saw You Smiling by Kavich Neang won the NETPAC Award for best Asian film premiering at the festival. The winner of the IFFR Youth Jury Award is Lazzaro felice by Alice Rohrwacher from Italy. Filipe Martins won the Voices Short Award for Casa de vidro and Kodak by Andrew Norman Wilson won the Found Footage Award.

Tiger Competition

Winner Tiger Award: Present.Perfect. by Zhu Shengze (USA/Hong Kong)
Jury report: “A daring film that takes us to places where we have never been, brings to light characters that want and need to be seen, expanding the language of cinema to a new grammar, using the new found footage of this millennium.”

Winner Special Jury Award: Take Me Somewhere Nice by Ena Sendijarević (Netherlands/Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Jury report: “The exceptional artistic achievement is for the director who portrayed a journey through a unique and very precise personal vision with humor and a deep sense of history.”

Bright Future Award

Winning film: A volta ao mundo quando tinhas 30 anos by Aya Koretzky (Portugal)
Special mention: Historia de mi nombre by Karin Cuyul (Chile/Brazil)
Jury report: “The jury wants to give a special mention to Historia de mi nombre, a documentary relating to a personal story and the history of a country underlining at the same time the importance of images to preserve memory. However, the Bright Future Award goes to A volta ao mundo quando tinhas 30 anos, a film about gardening and travelling, about openness and curiosity. A strong cinematic approach to an intimate and poetic journey with a superb sound design merging perfectly with the images in every second.”

VPRO Big Screen Award

Winning film: Transnistra by Anna Eborn (Sweden)
Jury report: “A beautiful, intimate portrait. The amazing characters in this coming-of-age film made us relive our own memories through recognisable themes such as self-assertiveness and feeling lost, being in love and feeling reckless. The director managed to capture these feelings making excellent use of colour, shots and great music. This movie proves it’s possible to accomplish great things with little resources. We can’t wait to see the director’s next move.”

BankGiro Loterij Audience Award

Winning film: Capharnaüm by Nadine Labaki (Lebanon)

Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award

The highest-rated film supported by the Hubert Bals Fund wins the Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award worth €10,000.
Winning film: La Flor (Parte 2) by Mariano Llinás (Argentina)

Voices Short Award

Winning film: Casa de vidro by Filipe Martins (Portugal)


Winning film: End of Season by Elmar Imanov (Germany/Azerbaijan/Georgia)
Jury report: “For its deeply mysterious depiction of familial disintegration, its frequently surprising narrative angularity, and its refreshingly evocation of a world in which every home is a private chamber of frustrated desire – most especially for women.”


Winning film: Last Night I Saw You Smiling by Kavich Neang (Cambodia/France)
Jury report: “Putting people in front of politics, this visually poised and polished documentary is a brave attempt in revealing the collapse of a society undergoing drastic transformation. At once specific in terms of the place it is set in but also universal in its reflections of how disenfranchised people confront the past and the present, the filmmaker invites the audience to enter both the soul of his family and also that of his country.”

KNF Award

The KNF Award is given to the best Dutch, or Dutch co-produced, feature film at IFFR. The winner is selected by a jury of the ‘Circle of Dutch Film Journalists’.

Winning film: Tarde para morir joven by Dominga Sotomayor (Chile/Brazil/Argentina/Netherlands/Qatar)
Jury report: “We would like to award the modest honor of the prize from the Dutch film critics to a film that is also modest but at the same time incredibly broad in its recognizability: a story that is set almost twenty years ago, but is just as pungent today. Under the steady and impressive direction the leading role is played by an incredible talent, in this sensory coming-of-age film. As Mazzy Star sang in ‘Fade Into You’, we faded into Tarde para morir joven and wanted to stay in this moment with the protagonist played by Demian Hernández forever.”

IFFR Youth Jury Award

Winning film: Lazzaro felice by Alice Rohrwacher (Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany)
Jury report: “After a long and passionate discussion, we are happy as Lazzaro to present the IFFR Youth Jury Award to Alice Rohrwacher for her outstanding achievement: Lazzaro felice. A surreal experience, Lazzaro felice fits perfectly with this year’s theme: feel IFFR. The original and allegorical story about the pure and innocent Lazzaro moved us. We were captivated by Hélène Louvart’s cinematography, carried away by the soundtrack, detailed characters and Rohrwacher’s masterful direction. We believe that Lazzaro will inspire a future audience to be more humane and reflect on their daily experiences and interactions. It is not only an enchanting film experience, but also a beautiful depiction of humanity and the course of its progress.”

Found Footage Award

The Found Footage Award is granted to a filmmaker who has made outstanding use of archive material.

Winning film: Kodak by Andrew Norman Wilson (USA)
Jury report: “For its innovative use of a very diverse range of archival audio and visual sources; for its dense and layered framing of these materials; for the way it weaves together a family narrative with the broader history of an industry; for its poetic, literary and historical ambition in chronicling the trajectory of an entire medium; for pushing cinematic, narrative and theoretical boundaries in the use of found footage.”

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