During the Awards Ceremony on Saturday 14 April, CIFFR announced the winner of the Yellow Robin Competition 2018: Black Mother by Khalik Allah. The second Caribbean Shorts Award went to Short Drop by Maya Cozier from Trinidad & Tobago.
The jury of the Yellow Robin Award Competition – comprised of Chloe Roddick from Morelia Film Festival, Curaçao visual artist and filmmaker Felix de Rooy, and IFFR Festival Director Bero Beyer – was impressed with the intensity of storytelling of this year’s selection that transcended cliché and the exotic to bring us powerful visions from the Caribbean basin as diverse as the cultures and islands of the region itself. Five films by mostly first-time filmmakers that took us from Trinidad to Venezuela, and from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico to Jamaica.
According to the jury, these films were outspoken and daring in form and narrative and did not shy away from the relevant themes of today. Be it the impact of loss on a smuggler of immigrants, the friction between Indian and African ethnic demographics in Trinidad, the intense human effects of poverty on two siblings of the salt-worker community in Venezuela, the multilayered vision of female blackness in Jamaican society, and the struggles of failed manhood in the Puerto Rican underground boxing scene.
Before announcing the winner, the jury awarded a Special Mention to nominee Hijos de la sal by the Rodriguez twinbrothers Luis and Andres from Venezuela.
Jury member Felix de Rooy called Hijos de la sal: “A cinematographic gem that sparkles like the salt crystals in the picturesque salt fields of Cumaragues. The splendid poetic visual style and the haunting music and soundscape confront the viewer with a magic-realist tale of the brutal and tender incestuous relationship between the three main protagonists. The film slowly penetrates the psyche, cuts like the salt crystals and stings and burns beneath the skin. The salt that devours everything in the long run, even though it also feeds us with salted fish and meat. Solitude and sensuality, brutality, pain and ecstasy mingle in this tragic tale of a family cursed by the burden of social injustice it tries to escape. The non-linear associative editing and the sensuous cinematography fuse in a unique style.”
The Yellow Robin Award 2018 went to Black Mother; “a raw and uncompromising anarchistic freestyle visual poem. The jury was unanimously impressed by the filmmaker’s relentless and bold process that resulted in a unique visual experience. Uncompromising, daring and brutal but also very spiritual, tactile, and loving.”
The winner of the Yellow Robin Award takes home a cash prize USD 2.500 and USD 7.500 worth of training/education in the context of talent development. In addition, the film is guaranteed screening in the Bright Future program of International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Netherlands and at Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) in Mexico.
The Caribbean Shorts Award 2018 went to Short Drop by Maya Cozier from Trinidad & Tobago. The jury – consisting of Adam Montgomery, manager programming for Sundance Film Festival, Andrea Posthuma, program manager Creative Europe Desk NL, and Mirjam Klootwijk, IFFR PRO Coordinator International Relations – awarded the prize to Short Drop for “its colorful and outstanding cast of characters who took us on a lively ride through the vibrant streets of Port-of- Spain, this film deftly utilized its surroundings to portray the beauty and culture of Trinidad & Tobago.”