Rotterdam announces winners of Short Film Awards for 2016

Dream English Kid 1964-1999 AD by Mark Leckey, Faux depart [False Start] by Yto Barrada and Engram of Returning by Daïchi Saïto are the winners of the Canon Tiger Awards for Short Films at the 2016 edition of International Film Festival Rotterdam
The three winning filmmakers each receive a 3,000 Euro prize plus a gift voucher from Canon. The Jury also selected Tout le monde aime le bord de la mer [We All Love the Seashore] by Keina Espiñeira to compete in the short film category of the European Film Awards (EFA) later this year. Le Park [The Park] by Randa Maroufi received a special mention.

The jury for the Tiger Awards Competition for Short Films was made up of British artist, filmmaker and double winner of this award, Ben Rivers; politically committed artist, writer and filmmaker Naeem Mohaiemen from Bangladesh and Mieke Bernink, professor on the Master’s degree course at the Netherlands Film Academy.

On making their decision, on Dream English Kid 1964-1999 AD the jury commented: “A kaleidoscopic sifting through decades of British media culture, as embedded in the detritus of VHS tape and television specials. The mood oscillates between joy and paranoia, escalating through the leftovers of cold war politics, giving us autobiography for a media overload age.”

On Faux depart [False Start]: “A beautifully economic combination of film form and wordless gestures. The subterranean worlds of archeology and tourism are processed through repeated labor, for the discovery, and sometimes questionable invention, of heritage.”

And on Engram of Returning: “Fragments of memory emerge from the darkness, as we are immersed hypnotically into a world of pure cinema. A celluloid dream driven by the furious soundtrack, reaching a climax of flickering breathlessness – for the filmmaker and the audience.”

The jury selected Tout le monde aime le bord de la mer [We All Love the Seashore] as their European Film Awards nomination: “A state of limbo surrounded by uncertainties of borders, legality, and time. A participatory, collaborative script travels between bleached sea and golden forest, merging mythical fragments, colonial memories, and migration realities.”

Le Park [The Park] by Randa Maroufi received a special mention: “Finding a new way to talk about the ecosystem of mediated social media, through the lives of young Moroccans in a self-generated moment of public lives. A technical achievement that freezes time and then invites audiences to read emotions into stillness.”

Canon Tiger Awards for Short Films:

Dream English Kid 1964-1999 AD by Mark Leckey, United Kingdom
This fragmentary film was based on an excerpt from a Joy Division gig Mark Leckey attended as a teen and the realisation that many of our memories and experiences can easily be found online. The highlights of Leckey’s life pass by in film excerpts, ads and pop music. Overlap and repetition reinforce the atmosphere. General historical and highly personal footage in this ode to the late 20th century.

Faux depart [False Start] by Yto Barrada, Morocco
The latest film by French-Moroccan artist Yto Barrada observes the elaborate fossil industry in Morocco. Paying homage to the 'preparators' in the arid region between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert, whose intrepid work is fueling a thriving trade in artifacts real, faux and hybrid, False Start is a rebuke to the fetishistic thirst for foreign objects, a sly meditation on authenticity, and a paean to creativity. 

Engram of Returning by Daïchi Saïto, Canada
Accompanied by an extraordinary improvisational score by Jason Sharp, Engram of Returning is an epic 35mm CinemaScope metaphysical travelogue that reveals a supernal world which pulses and flickers with formal patterns and deep hues. Transforming anonymous found footage into powerful, expressive and painterly imagery, it is a film about memory and recollection, given form through interwoven backward glances at the real, the imagined and the remembered.

Rotterdam nomination European Film Awards 2016

Tout le monde aime le bord de la mer [We All Love the Seashore] by Keina Espiñeira, Spain
A group of men are waiting at the fringes of a coastal woodland for the journey to Europe, in limbo between time and place. A film is shot there with the men playing themselves. Fiction and documentary constantly intertwine. Myths from the colonial past collide with dreams of a better future in the former oppressor’s country.

Special Mention

The Park by Randa Maroufi, France
The camera slowly meanders through an abandoned amusement park in Casablanca’s city centre. The Park portrays the youngsters who have made the site theirs in a number of tableaux that look like frozen snapshots. The sometimes violent poses betray the influence of social media which is so crucial to their sense of identity.

01 February 2016, by Laurence Boyce