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50th International Film Festival Rotterdam

1 – 7 February | 2 – 6 June 2021

Rotterdam, 18 May 2021

Opening and closing films and final confirmations for 50th edition in June

The World to Come, Poupelle of Chimney Town and Dominik Graf at IFFR 2021

During the press conference today, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) presented the full programme for the celebratory 50th edition. The World to Come by Mona Fastvold opens the festival on Wednesday 2 June and Hirota Yusuke’s Poupelle of Chimney Town marks its close on Sunday 6 June, with on demand available until 9 June. Due to ongoing governmental regulations, the closing chapter of the festival will now take place online and in cinemas in Rotterdam. Big Talks and final film titles complete the June programme ahead of upcoming ticket sales on 21 May.

Festival director Vanja Kaludjercic: “I am extremely proud to share all we have in store for the closing chapter of our 50th jubilee edition. From June 2 to 6 we will offer an incredibly rich and varied programme that is jam-packed with over 138 features, short and mid-length films as well as plenty of VR projects, performances, talks and more. From the rediscovery of arthouse classics to celebrate IFFR’s history to the latest futuristic genre-bending TV series, there will be a wide range to choose from. All this in a way that captures the energy and excitement that has long been at the heart of IFFR, while adhering to the latest governmental regulations. We are raring to go and look forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary with audiences at home and in cinemas in Rotterdam."

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Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston in The World to Come

Opening film

IFFR announces June’s opening film is The World to Come by Norwegian filmmaker and actress Mona Fastvold. This romantic frontier drama tells the story of a forbidden love between two women, played by Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby, in 1850s Upstate New York. The film will be shown as a timed premiere online on Wednesday 2 June, to celebrate the opening of the June chapter of the festival, followed by physical screenings in Rotterdam cinemas during the festival.

Read more about the opening film  

Closing film

The European premiere of Japanese animation Poupelle of Chimney Town by director Hirota Yusuke closes the expanded festival’s 50th edition. This adaption of Nishino Akihiro’s children book by Studio 4°C, producers of Children of the Sea (IFFR 2020), is an imaginative family film with the climate crisis at its heart, chosen to bring our audiences together for the close of IFFR 2021.

Read more about the closing film

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IFFR Big Talk participants (left to right): Mona FastvoldPallavi Paul, and Dominik Graf

IFFR Talks in June

Three Big Talks are presented in the IFFR Talks lineup in June, including a conversation with Mona Fastvold, director of the festival’s opening film The World to Come. German director Dominik Graf, who was honoured with a retrospective at IFFR in 2013 is also featured alongside his latest work Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde – an adaptation of Kästner's autobiographical interwar classic Fabian – which screens in the Harbour section. The Srebrenica massacre is the topic of a Big Talk, after it was the subject of February's BankGiro Loterij Audience Award winner Quo vadis, Aida? by director Jasmila Žbanić from Bosnia and Herzegovina. A panel discusses whether we can learn from past injustices, and what role art has in this, in collaboration with LUX Nijmegen and vfonds.

Indian filmmaker Pallavi Paul also presents the Freedom Lecture, IFFR’s annual talk organised by political and cultural centre De Balie on the topic of freedom in the broadest sense. Paul is selected in June’s Short & Mid-length Film section for her essay on police violence in Delhi in the film The Blind Rabbit and will take her own biography and oeuvre as the starting point for a reflection on freedom and resistance in this Freedom Lecture. Made possible with support from De Balie and Stichting Democratie en Media.

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Film stills from the IFFR Classics

More programme announcements

IFFR Classics, a programme of four iconic titles from the festival’s history, will be available online and in cinemas. The programme comprises New Zealand director Jane Campion’s debut Sweetie which screened at IFFR 1990, as well as American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth from IFFR 1992. Caro diario by Italian director Nanni Moretti from IFFR 1995 and Japanese director Fukasaku Kinji’s Battle Royale from IFFR 2001 complete the lineup.

These titles will complement a full offering of 127 titles within the HarbourBright FutureCinema Regained and Short & Mid-length Film programmes. All feature length films are eligible for the BankGiro Loterij Audience Award, provided their first public screening took place after 1 January 2020.

Browse the full programme here

Practical information and ticket sales

The complete June film programme will be accessible online to audiences across the Netherlands. Press & Industry screenings will be more extensively available on Festival Scope Pro. The IFFR Talks programme is accessible worldwide for free on IFFR.com. Physical screenings will take place at our partner cinemas in Rotterdam with limited capacities and requirements dictated by Covid-19 regulations. Ticket sales for the June festival dates of IFFR 2021 – both for online and physical screenings – go live on 21 May 2021 at 20:00 CEST. Find practical information on how to purchase 50th edition tickets and attend the festival on IFFR.com. 

The full June programme is online now. Click here to browse.

Please find the press materials here

Press contact details