Japanese Film ‘Rei’ Takes Top Prize at International Film Festival Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands – During the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Japanese director Tanaka Toshihiko’s debut film, “Rei,” was awarded the prestigious Tiger Award. The film tells the story of a young woman working in Tokyo who meets a deaf landscape photographer in the mountains of Hokkaido. Toshihiko not only directed the film but also produced, edited, and acted in it. The jury praised Toshihiko for his collaborative approach and the film’s loose and unbounded environment.

In addition to the Tiger Award, the Special Jury Awards went to “Kiss Wagon” by Midhun Murali and “Flathead” by Jaydon Martin. “Kiss Wagon” was also honored with the FIPRESCI Award for its bold defying of cinematic conventions. The film blends handmade visuals and video extracts to narrate the journey of a parcel service worker on a mission to deliver a package to a mysterious VIP. Martin’s “Flathead,” which combines fiction and documentary techniques, depicts a compassionate portrait of blue-collar life in Australia.

Oktay Baraheni’s “The Old Bachelor” received the VPRO Big Screen Award in the festival’s Big Screen Competition. The film, set in Iran, follows two middle-aged brothers living with their oppressive father. The jury described it as a masterclass in storytelling and praised its deeply visceral cinematic experience.

The NETPAC Award for the best Asian feature film went to Ishan Shukla’s “Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust.” The Youth Jury Award, chosen by a panel of young local film enthusiasts, was given to Lillah Halla’s “Levante.”

The festival will close on Sunday with the announcement of the Audience Award and the IFFR Youth Jury Award.