International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) to celebrate its 50th edition in a reimagined format. Adapting to the Covid-19 restrictions, IFFR changes to an expanded multi-part hybrid structure, spanning from February to June 2021. The festival kicks off 1 – 7 February, with physical and virtual screenings of its competitions and an online edition of IFFR Pro Days. IFFR will close its anniversary 2 – 6 June, with a festive celebration, including outdoor presentations and screenings in cinemas throughout the country. Connecting these two elements will be a dynamic array of physical and online events. Whereas the festival’s outline has changed, its vision and relentless commitment to support independent cinema remains intact.
“IFFR – like other major festivals – is built on the principle of large groups of people gathering together to watch as a collective, which is simply not possible given the current restrictions,” says IFFR Festival Director Vanja Kaludjercic. “These limitations made us rethink in what form we can best serve the filmmaking community, our collaborative partners and audiences under these circumstances.”
Kaludjercic continues: “Through the new path we are taking in 2021 we expand beyond our existing boundaries. At the same time our commitment to our makers, industry and audiences remains undiminished. As is our desire to deliver a creatively audacious, mesmerising festival, albeit one whose presentation – this year at least – will seem a little unfamiliar. The form may be different but our programme will be as thrilling and vital as ever.”
The expanded IFFR 2021 will comprise two distinct and essential elements, to be presented first in February and then June and joined by a continuous programme of offline and online events, exhibitions and presentations.
The first of these runs 1 – 7 February and will place undiluted focus on the Tiger Competition, Ammodo Tiger Short Competition, Big Screen Competition and the distributors’ avant premieres (Limelight). IFFR will also be kicking off its50th-anniversary in February with Tiger on the Loose, a series of interactive art installations mapped across Rotterdam in outdoor locations. Audiences will be able to enjoy the experience at their leisure and in complete safety.
The films and premieres will be presented within a hybrid model, both physically as well as online (Netherlands only for audiences, worldwide for accredited press and industry). Through this model IFFR will preserve the possibility of safe, socially distanced in-person gatherings while providing the full festival experience for those unable or unwilling to travel to Rotterdam.
IFFR Pro, which includes CineMart and the Rotterdam Lab, will be presented fully online in 2021. Needless to say, IFFR will apply the same level of personalised dedication to each and every project and participant as in previous editions.
“In a world marked by distance, we feel a responsibility to support the film industry and to help forge the connections that lie at the heart of our industry,” stresses Head of IFFR Pro Marit van den Elshout. “That’s why we are pleased to announce that the IFFR Pro Days have been adapted to respond to the experiences and needs of filmmakers looking for support.”The IFFR Pro Awards Ceremony will take place on 5 February. The Awards Ceremony of the Tiger Competition, the Ammodo Tiger Short Competition and the Big Screen Competition is scheduled for 7 February.
The final part will take place from 2 – 6 June, dates that resemble those of the festival’s first edition in 1972 – which seems fitting for the 50th anniversary. In addition to a selection of Harbour and Bright Future titles, the focal point in June will be the presentation of a special anniversary programme that taps into the long and rich history of IFFR by inviting IFFR luminaries of the last five decades. They will enter a dialogue with fresh names and faces (both from within and outside of the film industry) to discuss the core of what IFFR should be, both now and for the next 50 years to come.
In June, the festival aims for a festive celebration to which it will welcome its international guests and present films to its large national and local audiences in the safest of surroundings. Other June highlights include high-profile commissioned works, screenings in cities throughout the Netherlands and a series of outdoor presentations. With much more to come.
From left to right: Lucrecia Martel, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Daan Emmen, Carlos Reygadas, Jia Zhangke, Nanouk Leopold
Connecting these two elements will be a creative and dynamic array of physical and online events including the exhibition Vive le cinéma ! presented in collaboration with Eye Filmmuseum, with commissioned works by celebrated filmmakers Lucrecia Martel, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Carlos Reygadas, Nanouk Leopold (in collaboration with Daan Emmen) and Jia Zhangke. Other offerings include the Cinema Regained offline programme and the online IFFR Unleashed presentation of 50 films from the festival’s formidable past. Through these multiple touchpoints IFFR aims for an expanded celebration that is expressed locally, internationally, in-person and online.
IFFR Festival Director Vanja Kaludjercic: “Even though the shape has changed, IFFR’s vision and relentless commitment to independent cinema remains fully intact. Through this revised festival outline IFFR will continue to connect the films we hold dear with a broad and diverse audience, both professional and public.”