'Wellness,' 'Lamb' to vie at Rotterdam


AMSTERDAM -- Jake Mahaffy's "Wellness," a low-budget title from the U.S., is one of eight world premieres that will grace the 15-strong competition lineup at the 37th annual Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Festival organizers said Wednesday that the event's opener -- the Argentinian movie "Lamb of God," directed by Lucia Cedron -- also will compete for the festival's Tiger Award.

"Lamb" centers on the kidnapping of an elderly man in 2002 during the economic crisis in Argentina.

The festival runs Jan. 23-Feb. 3 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Newly appointed festival director Rutger Wolfson said the competition lineup reflects "the ways of filmmaking and the filmmakers for the future."

"This edition's competition for first or second films reflects the festival's diversity in programming and features what may be a wider range than ever in style, attitude, origin or topic," he said. "Making this selection, we have been moved by the many different stories told in very different ways, taking us to the hearts and minds of characters from all over the world, from Kazakhstan, the U.S., Denmark, Ukraine, China, Greece and Chile, amongst others."

Wolfson said the festival's opener "shows the connections between very personal stories and family histories and the political, historical events of Argentina in an intelligent, controlled and, finally, emotional way."

The Tiger Awards jury is comprised of Iranian filmmaker and jury president Jafar Panahi, Russian actress-filmmaker Renata Litvinova, Locarno Film Festival deputy director Tiziana Finzi, Dutch former Filmmuseum deputy director Rieks Hadders and Singapore filmmaker Royston Tan.