The Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam, is running this year from April 6-10, in Curaçao.  As in past years, the Festival features Caribbean films as part of the Yellow Robin Award Competition.  In cooperation with several regional film festivals and institutions, the Festival aims to use the award to encourage, support, and contribute to the careers of talented emerging filmmakers from the Region.  “The winner of the competition will receive US$ 10,000 and screening in the Bright Future program section of IFFR in the Netherlands, as well as priority access to one of the important IFFR activities such as CineMart or Rotterdam Lab.

Let’s look at the Caribbean films selected for this year’s competition and the other Caribbean films screening at the Festival.

by Guetty Felin
Narrative Feature
Haiti | 2016
Yellow Robin Award Selection

A Haitian teenager becomes obsessed with learning Japanese, refuses to speak French to his mother and doesn’t want to interact with his peers. Nothing has been the same since his father’s sudden death during the 2010 earthquake. Then he discovers he has a special gift. In the meantime, an old fisherman who lives nearby is worried about his beloved wife. She suffers from a mysterious disease that can only be cured by the sea. But how? A little way away, the female character of an author with writer’s block comes to life. She too has a lot to solve still on this disaster-prone Caribbean island. The emphasis in this minimalist, neo-realist fairy tale – primarily shot using natural light – is on the strength of humans and nature. And on the sudden instances of magic that can help the desperate.


by Arí Maniel Cruz
Narrative Feature
Puerto Rico | 2015
Yellow Robin Award Selection

Puerto Rican teenager Carmín dreams of living with her mom in America, but when her hopes are suddenly dashed she ends up emotionally torn. Immediately afterwards she is confronted for the first time with her natural father. He’s spent years in jail and then moves in with Carmín and her strict grandmother. Initially, Carmín doesn’t like the charming newcomer, but father and daughter slowly become close. In the meantime, the hormonal maelstrom of puberty does its job: Carmín becomes a woman and that causes great confusion, mostly for her. In this empathetic coming-of-age drama, a sensitive girl (wonderfully played by Miranda Purcell) with so many complex growing pains that the coming together of things like savage disappointment, separation anxiety and developing sexuality lead to a dangerous mix: a complex, ambiguous, deeply hurt teen wants to be loved.


by Wilma Ligthart
Documentary Feature
Curaçao | 2016

Rina Penso is theater’s grande dame in Curaçao. She has played innumerable fabulous roles in the theater, but also on the big screen, and has translated classical plays into Papiamentu. The expressive diva helped found Toneelvereniging Thalia in 1967 with the idea that the inhabitants of Curaçao were perfectly capable of keeping a theater group alive without relying on the Netherlands. In this film, 86-year old Penso looks back on her life and takes us to various locations on the island that were crucial to her career and personal life. People who knew her well, friends, colleagues and family help introduce us to the massive talent Rina Penso was – and still is. Acting is her passion. Her secret? “Mi ta hasi mi kos” (“I do my own thing”).


by Bladimir Abud
Narrative Feature
Dominican Republic | 2016
Yellow Robin Award Selection

When Pedro’s father Ulises doesn’t come back from the sea after a routine fishing trip, the teen is seriously worried. Without a mom, brothers or sisters, and now without a dad, his existence has just come undone. In desperation, Pedro decides to look for his father in Santa Domingo. In the Dominican Republic’s capital he does indeed find Ulises, but what follows this meeting is worse than disappointing and Pedro has to survive on his own in the outright hostile, merciless environment. Abud’s social drama was inspired by true events and his own childhood experiences on Samaná, a Dominican peninsula. Although the script is somber, the misery is presented without sensationalism. After been rejected by all in his search for unconditional love and a safe home, at unexpected moments innate refinement manages to provide a veneer of hope.


by Damian Marcano
Narrative Short
Curaçao | 2016

The strongest and most agile of all the men, Dada is ready for the battle. A wise young man – He learns of the monster’s weaknesses in order to defeat it. The villagers fear Dada will never return. The simple premise of good and evil collide in this tale to a surprising end. Having underestimated the force of the monster’s evil, Dada may have to sacrifice himself to save everyone else. Filmed on location in Curaçao in cooperation with the staff and students of Instituto Buena Bista and CIFFR.


For more information on the Festival, including the schedule and other films being screened, visit the Festival website.

Happy Festivalling!!