This weekend, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) closed its 46th edition with the European première of 20th Century Women by filmmaker Mike Mills. The festival screened 484 films this year, of which 105 world premières, and attracted more than 314,000 visits. IFFR welcomed 316 filmmakers and 1,910 film professionals from all over the world. A record number of 63 feature films were rated at an average of 4 (out of 5) or higher in the audience award.
The festival opened on 25 January with the international première of Lemon, in the presence of filmmaker Janicza Bravo, actors Brett Gelman and Judy Greer. On Friday, 27 January, IFFR welcomed King Willem-Alexander onto the red carpet for the world première of Double Play by filmmaker Ernest Dickerson. Many of the international cast and crew were also present. On Monday 30 January Rotterdam received dignitaries from all over Europe, who together with Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker put their signatures to the revised Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production – spontaneously christened the ‘Rotterdam Treaty’. Barry Jenkins chose IFFR as the platform for the Dutch première of his film Moonlight, which has received eight Oscar nominations. The filmmaker also gave a well-attended masterclass in KINO, the livestream of which also attracted many views on IFFR’s Facebook page. The many international guests praised the hospitable, lively and remarkably relaxed atmosphere both in the city of Rotterdam and at the festival.
“It is exceptionally good to see our challenging programme being so well received by the audience. Not only did people find the films that were right for them, but they were also moved by the attractive masterclasses, talks and workshops that were not afraid to tackle the themes of the day”, according to festival director Bero Beyer.
Many films attracted the attention of film journalists, distributors and other festivals from all over the world. Examples include the Tiger Award-winner Sexy Durga by Indian director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, Heleen van Royen’s debut film It Hurts so Much, Affonso Uchoa and João Dumans’s poignant Arábia, We the Workers by Wen hai, as well as the strong American drama Super Dark Times (Kevin Phillips), the Czech Filthy (Tereza Nvotová), the appealing Donkeyote (Chico Pereira) and surprising documentaries such as Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno (Jung Yoonsuk), Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch) and When Paul Came over the Sea (Jakob Preuss), Manifesto (Julian Rosefeldt) with Cate Blanchett, the tense Home by Belgian filmmaker Fien Troch and Marjorie Prime (Michael Almereyda) featuring actress Lois Smith, were all positively received.The exceptional Black Rebels programme section with feature films, short films, drama, (music) documentaries, experimental films, science fiction and video art received a great deal of media attention and exceptionally positive responses from both audiences and film professionals.DistributionNewsreader for the NOS broadcaster Winfried Baijens presented the third edition of IFFR Live, in which six film titles screened in première in Rotterdam and simultaneously in more than 45 cinemas in 18 different countries worldwide. Thanks to the live stream, Twitter and WhatsApp, the worldwide audiences were able to discuss amongst themselves and with the makers after the film. Pop Aye by Kirsten Tan won the Big Screen Competition, picking up a guaranteed theatrical release in the Netherlands and on TV, alongside the cash prize. Almost all of the big sales agents were present at the festival, resulting in international deals for, among others, Tiger titles Columbus (sales agent Visit Film), Sister of Mine (sales agent Stray Dogs) and Quality Time (sales agent M-Appeal).
Left: Barry Jenkins at his masterclass. Right: Hivos Tiger Award winner Sanal Kumar Sasidharan (Sexy Durga)
More than 10,000 pupils from 77 different primary and secondary schools in the Rotterdam area visited IFFR’s schools screenings. Students were also very much in evidence in Rotterdam, with more than 5,000 students taking part in a programme selected by the festival. Workshops for schools were also organised in preparation for the festival, and during the festival IFFR organised a sell-out workshop for (140) teachers from primary and secondary education, bringing IFFR’s ambition to reach all children in Rotterdam another step closer.
IFFR is combining forces with Dutch and international co-production markets to offer filmmakers even better and more sustainable support and put them in touch with experts from different sectors. The Propellor Film Tech Hub, a cooperation between IFFR’s CineMart, Berlinale’s EFM, CPH:DOX and Cinemathon that brings together innovators from parallel industries to investigate how the film industry can be improved, enjoyed a successful launch at IFFR 2017. Thanks to the cooperation with VR Days Europe, four makers also got the chance to pitch their VR project ideas at CineMart 2017.
This year, IFFR was attended by more than 1,900 guests from the film industry. The 34th edition of CineMart offered a platform to 26 new projects and welcomed 688 guests. 14 Hubert Bals Fund-supported titles screened at this festival edition, including Rey by Niles Atallah, which picked up the Special Jury Award in the Hivos Tiger Competition. A select band of producers from all over the world underwent an intensive five-day programme during Rotterdam Lab.
Alongside the festival’s many faithful partners, IFFR welcomed Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Océ, Film1 and Sonos as new sponsors. During the festival, visitors were able to enjoy a selection of short films on the way to Rotterdam in a train carriage specially converted into an IFFR cinema. The huge IFFR planet in front of Rotterdam Centraal station was an eye-catcher that stopped many passers-by in their tracks for a quick selfie. The limited edition of the IFFR bag designed by Susan Bijl led to long queues at the merchandise shop every day, and quickly sold out.
Feature films: 247, of which:50 world premieres, 20 international premieres and 18 European premieres.Short and mid-length films: 237, of which: 55 world premieres, 43 international premieres and 19 European premieres.