It was my first time in the Netherlands and it is a really an unforgettable and worthwhile experience at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. IFFR is undoubtedly one of the largest audience and industry-driven film festivals in the world, with a large number of sections - CineMart, Hubert Bals Fund events, Rotterdam Lab and many other interesting and useful panels and discussions. From the very beginning for twelve days you are involved in the magic and powerful world of high quality indie films and very productive industry activities which truly proves that the festival is the best platform for the promotion of both young and established filmmakers who really champion true art.
The NETPAC Jury members were Diana Ashimova (Kazakhstan), Clarence Tsui (Hong Kong), Sang-yong Lee (South Korea).
NETPAC’s Section had 13 films: two from China, two from Japan, and one each from India, Russia, Israel, Armenia, Georgia, one Azerbaijan - Germany - Georgia coproduction, one Hong Kong-USA coproduction, one Turkey - Australia coproduction and one Cambodia - France coproduction.
The list of films eligible for the NETPAC prize was as follows (most of them were also in other competitions or sections):
Present. Perfect, Zhu Shengze (Tiger Competition) Sheena667, Grigory Dobrygin (Tiger Competition). Last Night I Saw You Smiling, Kavich Neang (Bright Future Competition) That Cloud Never Left, Yashaswini Raghunandan (Bright Future Competition) Walking in Darkness, Tang Tang (Bright Future Competition) Winter After Winter, Xing Jian (Bright Future Main Programme) God of the Piano, Itay Tal (Voices, Big Screen Competition) Vulnerable Histories, Koki Tanaka (Voices Main Programme) About Him or How He Did not Fear the Bear, Narine Mkrtchyan, Arsen Azatyan (Signatures) The Harvest, Misho Antadze, Natia Guliashvili (Say No More) Domains, Kusano Natsuka (Bright Future Main Programme) End of Season, Elmar Imanov (Bright Future Competition) Heroes, Koken Ergun (Bright Future Competition)
The selection of films for NETPAC Award was really diverse, interesting, very informative, educative, experimental and really brave. Almost all films were the first or second works by their directors, six out of 13 films were documentaries with different interesting formats that touched upon very up-to-date social issues of modern life.
As NETPAC’s major idea is to support Asian filmmakers and discover new names, the Jury unanimously decided to award the documentary film Last Night I Saw You Smiling by Kavich Neang for its polished technique and a poised representation of how people confront changes in a society under transformation.
The Netpac Jury’s citation was as follows: "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 disfranchised 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.”
-- Diana Ashimova
-- Edited by Latika Padgaonkar