Opening Film, Hubert Bals Fund Harvest (dd 2 January 2007)

PRESS RELEASE January 2, 2007 

• Rotterdam film festival opens with LA ANTENA by Esteban Sapir
• Nineteen Hubert Bals Fund supported films in official selection

The world premiere of La antena by Esteban Sapir from Argentina opens, Wednesday January 24, the 36th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Sapir’s film, supported by Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund, is screening in the festival’s Tiger Awards Competition. La antena is one of nineteen new Hubert Bals Fund supported films, including eight world premieres, in Official Selection.

Festival Director Sandra den Hamer: “La antena is one of next season's most lovingly crafted and strikingly original films. In addition, as an engaging statement against the power of mass media and its cult of recycling, it is the perfect Opening Night Film for the Rotterdam Film Festival that aims to support diversity and originality.”

An enchanting allegory about the power of media and television, La antena (The Aerial) is set in a surrealistic, snow covered city ruled by Mr. TV. The dictator controls all spoken word, which he uses for broadcasts as well as for food production. It has left the inhabitants speechless and dependent. Only ‘La Voz’, a female singer, escapes the rule of Mr. TV. She and her young son are the only persons able to speak. A man, his father and his young daughter join forces with La Voz in an attempt to overthrow the power of Mr. TV.

La antena, shot entirely in black-and-white, refers in style to silent cinema but also uses many graphical, digital and animated special effects. Esteban Sapir (1967, Buenos Aires) made his directorial début with Picado fino (Fine Powder, 1996), generally regarded as one of the first films of the so-called New Argentine Cinema. He is active within the film and television industry since 1995 as a cinematographer, script writer and camera-operator. La antena, supported by the Hubert Bals Fund in its script and post production stages, is his second feature film, produced by ladobleA Productores. A total of nineteen films in Rotterdam’s 2007 Official Selection are supported by the festival’s Hubert Bals Fund, listed below:

Tiger Awards Competition
LOVE CONQUERS ALL by Tan Chui Mui (Malaysia), European premiere
LA ANTENA (THE AERIAL) by Esteban Sapir (Argentina), world premiere, Opening Film

Maestros: Kings and Aces
OPERA JAWA by Garin Nugroho (Indonesia)
HEREMIAS (BOOK ONE: THE LEGEND OF THE LIZARD PRINCESS) by Lav Diaz (Philippines), world premiere
ARARAT - FOURTEEN VIEWS by Don Askarian (Armenia)

Cinema of the World: Time & Tide
MAYAK (THE LIGHTHOUSE) by Maria Saakyan (Armenia/Russia)
BARAKAT! by Djamila Sahraoui (Algeria/France)
ROMA WA LA N’TOUMA (ROME RATHER THAN YOU) by Tariq Teguia (Algeria/France)
U REKI (AT THE RIVER) by Eva Neymann (Ukraine), world premiere

Cinema of the Future: Sturm und Drang
TAI YANG YU (RAIN DOGS) by Ho Yuhang (Malaysia)
WEED by Wang Liren (China), world premiere
JU ZI CHEN TU (RAISED FROM DUST) by Gan Xiao’er (China), world premiere
BEFORE WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN by James Lee (Malaysia), European premiere
ANTONIA by Tata Amaral (Brazil), European premiere
LING YI BAN (THE OTHER HALF) by Ying Liang (China), European premiere
BALIKBAYAN BOX by Ramon Mes De Guzman (Philippines), international premiere
THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA by Woo Ming Jin (Malaysia), world premiere
CHALLANGGAI (DANCING BELLS) by Deepak Kumaran Menon (Malaysia), world premiere

An international role model for other funding bodies, the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam continues to play a crucial role in supporting film-makers and film industries in developing or southern countries. The fund’s grants (for script development, post production or distribution in the country of origin) act as seal of approval, making it easier to attract additional co-producers and financiers.

Over the past twenty years, the Hubert Bals Fund has supported close to 600 film projects. Each year, the fund has 1,2 million Euro at its disposal. Recent Hubert Bals Fund supported films are CLIMATES by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, OPERA JAWA by Garin Nugroho, Tiger Award 2006 winner THE DOG POUND by Manuel Nieto Zas and Rotterdam 2006 discovery GLUE by Alexis Dos Santos.

In 2006, the Hubert Bals Fund granted financial support to 58 film projects and initiatives. The Hubert Bals Fund is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch non-governmental development organisations Hivos and NCDO, the DOEN Foundation and Dutch public broadcasting network NPS. The next application deadline for Hubert Bals Fund support is March 1, 2007.
Over International Film Festival Rotterdam

With nearly 330,000 admissions and over 2,400 film professionals attending, IFFR is one of the largest audience and industry-driven film festivals in the world, offering a high quality line-up of fiction and documentary feature films, short films, exhibitions, performances, masterclasses and talks.IFFR actively supports new and adventurous filmmaking talent through numerous industry initiatives including co-production market CineMart, the Reality Check conference, the BoostNL initiative, the Hubert Bals Fund and Rotterdam Lab. IFFR's 49th edition takes place from Wednesday 22 January to Sunday 2 February 2020. More information can be found at