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50th International Film Festival Rotterdam1

1 – 7 February | 2 – 6 June 2021

Rotterdam, 18 February 2021

IFFR celebrates audience engagement at first part of 50th edition

IFFR 2021 continues with the launch of IFFR Unleashed: 50/50 and more

With the Awards Ceremony on 7 February 2021, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) concluded the first part of its 50th edition. It took place online from 1 to 7 February, featured 65 films (43 features, 22 shorts), including 40 world premieres, over the Tiger Competition, Big Screen Competition, Ammodo Tiger Short Competition and the Limelight lineup. Next to the film programme, IFFR presented Big Talks and the online edition of IFFR Pro Days, which welcomed 2,305 film professionals from 106 countries. IFFR 2021 will continue with the launch of IFFR Unleashed: 50/50 and more events leading up to the closing celebration from 2 to 6 June.

IFFR 2021 has been extended into a two-part event, starting with the online festival days from 1 to 7 February which also included the IFFR Pro Days (1 to 5 February) with the 38th CineMart. Audiences in the Netherlands could view the programme through live premiere screenings or on demand screenings on IFFR.com, made available for 72 hours after the premiere. In total, 132,286 audience visits were registered. Based on a survey sent to 10,777 ticket holders, with 3,489 respondents, IFFR calculated a resulting 1.7 per-household multiplier which was used to generate this audience figure. IFFR 2021 will continue with events leading up to a celebration in June for its 50th edition with festival days from 2 to 6 June. 

Festival director Vanja Kaludjercic: “The first chapter of this remarkable 50th festival edition was not only marked by great challenges but also by great opportunities. I am incredibly proud how through a great deal of flexibility and hard work we were able to connect outstanding emerging talent – including Tiger Award winner Vinothraj P.S. with Pebbles – with audiences and industry alike. It’s equally rewarding that the largest amount of international accredited press to date (a 41% increase compared to 2020 from 61 countries) was fully engaged with our lineup; they were vital in creating genuine energy and excitement around our programme. The February experience is valuable and insightful in many ways and we are looking forward to the next chapters of our anniversary, including our IFFR Unleashed: 50/50 collection and the June summer celebration.”

Managing director Marjan van der Haar: “Although we celebrated this part mainly online we were delighted by the engagement of the filmmakers with audiences watching from their homes throughout the Netherlands in our widely accessible format. From the past, present and future festival campaign through to the Tiger on the Loose installations, IFFR Daily, Big Talks, and most importantly the online screenings and Q&As, we managed to create a new virtual IFFR experience. We are grateful for the continuous support of all our partners in this challenging year.” 

February festival facts and figures

February programme

  • 16 Tiger Competition titles (14 world premieres and 2 international premieres)
  • 14 Big Screen Competition titles (11 world premieres, 2 international premieres, 1 European premiere)
  • 22 Ammodo Tiger Short Competition titles (13 world premieres, 8 international premieres, 1 European premieres)
  • 13 Limelight titles (2 world premieres, 2 international premieres, 9 Dutch premieres)
  • 5 Big Talks accessible globally online
  • 147 live Q&As, introductions and pre-recorded interviews
  • 25 IFFR audience members and 25 Tiger Competition winners celebrate IFFR in IFFR Plays Back ◀◀
  • 50 campaign posters from past editions and 50 future posters designed by Willem de Kooning Academy students were projected onto Pathé Schouwburgplein for IFFR 100

Read about the IFFR 2021 award winners here

Audience engagement

  • 132,286 visits
  • 16% increase in audience representation across the country: from 21% of audiences in 2020 outside of North and South Holland provinces, to 37% in February 2021
  • 20.1% of audiences watched online premiere screenings, 79.9% watched on demand
  • 4,000,000 YouTube views between 22 December 2020 and 7 February 2021 
  • 12,998 interactions with the Tiger on the Loose augmented reality art installations


  • 12,477 visits (both online and physical) by school children, students and teachers between 1 February 2020 and 9 February 2021
  • 56% of lessons and workshops took place physically in cinemas and schools, while 44% were online, in line with changing health regulations throughout the year and during the festival

IFFR Pro Days

  • 1,797 guests from the film industry, including:

- 78 participating filmmakers

- 99 countries represented, an 11% increase from IFFR 2020

- 754 CineMart guests, a 10% increase from IFFR 2020

  • 4,492 visits to IFFR Pro activities, including online panels and Reality Checks sessions
  • 951 CineMart one-on-one meetings facilitated


  • 508 journalists (80 Netherlands-based journalists and 428 international journalists) 
  • 41% increase in international press accreditations
  • 61 countries represented in total

Head of IFFR Pro Marit van den Elshout: “The fact that we registered over 4,000 interactions with IFFR Pro activities and scheduled close to 1,000 one-on-one meetings between CineMart, Boost NL and VR projects and potential partners points to the success of our exclusively online IFFR Pro Days format. Increased accessibility online from around the globe was fundamental in fostering the collaborations and connections that are so vital for our industry, made possible through tools such as our Press & Industry platform Festival Scope through which there were 15,557 visits. Thank you to the dedication and energy of the professionals who believed in us to provide this vital platform for the industry.”

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Film still: The Cow by Dariush Mehrjui

IFFR Unleashed: 50/50 

The IFFR online streaming platform IFFR Unleashed launches a special 50th edition programme for audiences in the Netherlands, with certain film titles also available in the Benelux and internationally. The IFFR Unleashed: 50/50 collection presents 50 films from 50 past festival editions. Launching on 17 February, the films from IFFR’s first decade (1972–1979) will be made available, including The Cow by Dariush Mehrjui from IFFR’s first edition in 1972 and Angst essen Seele auf by Rainer Werner Fassbinder from IFFR 1974. IFFR programmers selected one remarkable feature-length or short film from each festival edition by directors including Jonathan Demme, Jim Jarmusch, Kelly Reichardt and Andrea Arnold. The coming weeks will see the release of the consecutive decades leading up to the closing of IFFR 2021 in June. 

IFFR 2021 continues 

The first chapter of the 50th edition, which took place from 1 to 7 February, closed with the Awards Ceremony on 7 February. IFFR 2021 will continue over the coming months and will conclude with celebratory festival days from 2 to 6 June. Between February and June, IFFR presents a diverse selection of events and film screenings, including the Vive le cinéma! exhibition in Eye Filmmuseum. In light of IFFR’s 50th edition and Eye Filmmuseum’s 75th anniversary, iconic filmmakers were commissioned to produce installations for this exhibition on art and film, including Lemohang Jeremiah MoseseJia Zhangke and more. With a diverse series of workshops and events, IFFR looks forward to more educational impressions from now until June; including Animatie Variaties from 19 to 20 May, a unique collaboration together with Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

From 2 to 6 June, IFFR will present its newest and largest programme Harbour, representative of the multidimensional nature of Rotterdam and its festival as a safe haven for cinema. Bright Future, our programme dedicated to emerging film talent, will also get its own space in June. In addition, IFFR’s anniversary programme taps into the rich history of IFFR by inviting luminaries of the last five decades to enter a dialogue with fresh names and faces. They will discuss what they believe IFFR should be as a festival, both now and for the next 50 editions.

More news coming soon.

IFFR Unleashed: 50/50 for press

Are you interested in covering the IFFR Unleashed: 50/50 programme? Feel free to contact the IFFR Press Office at [email protected].

Please be aware that due to rights holders' agreements only part of the selection is available to watch outside of the Netherlands.

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