Tanaka Toshihiko’s Debut Film ‘Rei’ Wins Top Prize at International Film Festival Rotterdam

Rotterdam, Netherlands – Tanaka Toshihiko’s film “Rei” took home the prestigious Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film, which marks Toshihiko’s directorial debut, follows the story of a young woman living in Tokyo who encounters a deaf photographer in the mountains of Hokkaido. Toshihiko not only directed the film but also produced, edited, and acted in it. He was praised by the jury for his collaborative approach and his ability to create a loose and unbounded environment on set.

In addition to “Rei,” two other films received Special Jury Awards. Midhun Murali’s “Kiss Wagon,” an experimental film that combines handmade visuals and video extracts, was described by the jury as “hypnotic, bewildering, and beautifully weird.” Jaydon Martin’s “Flathead,” which blends fiction and documentary, was praised for its compassionate portrayal of blue-collar life in Australia.

The festival’s Big Screen Competition also recognized Oktay Baraheni’s “The Old Bachelor.” The film, set in Iran and centered around two middle-aged brothers, was lauded by the jury as a “masterclass in storytelling” and a “deeply visceral cinematic experience.” It was awarded the VPRO Big Screen Award, along with a cash prize and a guaranteed theatrical release in the Netherlands.

Other awards presented at the festival include the NETPAC Award for the best Asian feature film, which went to Ishan Shukla’s “Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust,” and the Youth Jury Award, which was given to Lillah Halla’s “Levante.” The winners of the Audience Award and the IFFR Youth Jury Award will be announced at the close of the festival.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam is known for its focus on independent and innovative cinema. The awards recognize the talent and creativity of up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world. This year’s winners demonstrated a range of artistic approaches and storytelling techniques, showcasing the diversity and vitality of contemporary cinema.