Mumbai: Indian drama "Pebbles", directed by filmmaker Vinothraj PS, has won the top honour, the Tiger Award for best film, at the 50th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).
The Tamil language film follows an alcoholic abusive husband who, after his long-suffering wife runs off, sets out with his young son to find her and bring her back.
IFFR shared the award announcement on its official Twitter handle.
"This edition's Tiger Award, IFFR's most prestigious prize, goes to Pebbles by #VinothrajPS," the tweet read.
An emotional Vinothraj thanked the jury for selecting his feature directorial debut for the top prize.
"Feeling emotional! Pebbles won the Tiger Award 2021. Our Hardwork, patience & Dream finally came true.Thank you all for your love and support," he posted on the microblogging site alongside IFFR's announcement.
The Tiger Award is accompanied by a Euro 40,000 cash prize, to be shared between the director and producer of the winning film.
The jury of the festival featured Mosotho screenwriter Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Syrian filmmaker Orwa Nyrabia, Egyptian visual artist Hala Elkoussy, Dutch screenwriter Helena van der Meulen and producer Ilse Hughan.
On the festival's website, the jury described "Pebbles" as a lesson in pure cinema.
"Although the story deals with gruelling poverty in the searing drought-ridden landscapes of southern India, it succeeded nonetheless in captivating the jury with its beauty and humour," the jury added.
Titled "Koozhangal" in Tamil, "Pebbles" stars a host of new comers and is produced by Vignesh Shivan and Nayantara.
"First Production of @Rowdy_Pictures wins one of the most prestigious international award! First Tamil film to win this award. 2021 #TigerAward winner #Koozhangal #Pebbles.can't be happier!" Shivan tweeted.
He had also attended the film's world premiere at IFFR last week along with Nayantahra.
Soon after the movie's win, filmmaker Guneet Monga and directors Neeraj Ghaywan and Karthik Subbaraj congratulated the team for getting the top prize at the festival.
The Special Jury Award at IFFR went to "I Comete A Corsican Summer" by French filmmaker Pascal Tagnati, alongside "Looking for Venera" by Norika Sefa.
The jury said "I Comete" is "a true love letter to humanity", while "Looking for Venera" is "an intimate slice of life...imbued with the precarious, yet resilient quest to find one's young self."
The Special Jury Award included Euro 10,000 cash prize for each winner.
IFFR ran from February 1 - February 7....