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In a Perpetual Now of Instantaneous Visibility by Rosa Barba

49th International Film Festival Rotterdam

22 January – 2 February 2020

Rotterdam, 13 November 2019

The art of film at IFFR 2020

With new work by Rosa Barba, the Quay Brothers, The Ummah Chroma and more

Art and artists’ films consistently have a prominent place at International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). The 49th edition of the festival is no exception. This year’s Art Directions features installations and video work by Rosa Barba, the Quay Brothers and multiple cutting-edge collectives.

Festival director Bero Beyer: “IFFR acknowledges that the power of moving images takes many different forms. That’s why we present Art Directions, a wide variety of artworks that run throughout the festival programme, shake up our expectations and transgress boundaries.”


Art Directions at IFFR 2020 will see the third edition of Frameworks, a programme that invites major names in the art world to present their own work and introduce us to promising upcoming artists – titled Acolytes. Acolytes receive support to produce a single-screen audiovisual artwork which will premiere at IFFR. This year, they are presented by Rosa Barba and the Quay Brothers.

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Left: Rosa Barba, Middle: The Quay Brothers, Right: behind the scenes with the Karrabing Film Collective

Rosa Barba

Rosa Barba has long been a regular at IFFR. Next to presenting a new short film at the festival, the Italian-born visual artist and filmmaker will explore new territory at IFFR 2020 by organising a string of singing sessions with several Rotterdam choirs. Barba invites the public to see and hear her process, which will involve a live performance.

Karrabing Film Collective

As her Acolytes, Rosa Barba presents the Karrabing Film Collective, a grassroots indigenous media group based in Northern Territory, Australia. With their films and installations they attempt to expose the long shadow cast by colonial power. Their work Day in the Life will have its world premiere at IFFR, and is supported by a Frameworks grant.

Quay Brothers

The Quay Brothers occupy a unique position between live action and animation. With their third feature in the works, based on the novel Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass by Polish writer Bruno Schulz, the Quay Brothers will present a prelude in the form of an installation in TENT Rotterdam – evoking key motifs and characters from the film. Their Acolyte(s) will be confirmed at a later date.  

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As Told to G/D Thyself

The Ummah Chroma

IFFR and Het Nieuwe Instituut present an interdisciplinary programme and installation with artist collective The Ummah Chroma, consisting of Terrence Nance, Jenn Nkiru, Marc Thomas, Kamasi Washington and Bradford Young, in a special collaboration with production designer Lauri Faggioni and producer Erin Wile. The installation is inspired by their short film As Told to G/D Thyself (2019) and will be activated with a series of performances, film screenings, masterclasses and talks during IFFR. The installation at Het Nieuwe Instituut will be on view from January 23rd until June 28th, 2020.

Wait and See

The thematic programme Wait and See will explore the experience of cultivated curiosity and quiet impatience. Before a film even starts, it has already begun in our imagination, fed by expectations and ideas about what is to come. Next to a series of feature-length and short films, the Wait and See programme will screen short films in a special ‘waiting room’ at the heart of the festival; patience will be rewarded.

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Left: 7465 by Watsamon Tri-yasakda, Middle: Wavelength by Stefano Canapa and Antoine Birot, Right: IFFR x Art Rotterdam 2019

Sacred Beings

Sacred Beings is a themed programme exploring contemporary non-Western queer culture, curated by IFFR’s first Young Curator Darunee Terdtoontaveedej, in Het Nieuwe Instituut. At the heart of this multidisciplinary programme is an installation that brings together the documentary photography by New Zealand-based academic Sharyn Davies, the portraits shot by Thai photographer Watsamon Tri-yasakda and a short film by Thai artist and filmmaker Sarnt Utamachote. Together their images will provide perspective on non-binary experiences of gender in Asia.


A classic at the WORM venue, sound//vision offers four nights of collaborations between musicians, video artists and filmmakers. Three audiovisual performances have currently been confirmed. TWIXT is a ‘synaesthetic and synecstatic media-meltdown’ by Billy Roisz and Dieter ‘dieb13’ Kovačič, turning cinematic conventions of the western, horror and road movies into an immediate sensual experience. Wavelength is the result of a collaboration between Stefano Canapa and Antoine Birot, and experiments with cathode-ray tubes, celluloid, electrical signals and analogue film to create a handmade communion of sound and light waves. Benjamin Verdonck and Lucas Van Haesbroeck created Waldeinsamkeit; a machine that plays with light and dark, challenging you to think outside the box.

IFFR x Art Rotterdam

For the fourth year in a row, IFFR collaborates with Art Rotterdam to present a special film module at Rotterdam Central Station. This year, we show DIT LEARN by Laure Prouvost. The installation can be experienced from the start of IFFR on 22 January until the end of Art Rotterdam, on 9 February 2020.

Robby Müller Polaroids

In honour of the late cinematographer, IFFR recently created the Robby Müller Award in collaboration with the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers (NSC) and Andrea Müller-Schirmer, Robby Müller’s wife. During IFFR 2020, Müller’s rarely seen Polaroid photography will be exhibited at Slash Gallery, WORM. The Like Sunlight coming through the Clouds: 30 years of Polaroid photography by Robby Müller exhibition is curated by Müller-Schirmer, in collaboration with the Annet Gelink Gallery and supported by Polaroid Art & Culture.

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