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PRESS RELEASE

53rd International Film Festival Rotterdam
25 January – 4 February 2024

Rotterdam, 23 November 2023

Head South by Jonathan Ogilvie to open IFFR 2024

Films by Jonathan Ogilvie, Amanda Kramer, Ann Hui and Billy Woodberry confirmed, along with dates for the IFFR Pro Days, press conference and more.

Jonathan Ogilvie’s spirited post-punk coming-of-age comedy Head South will open the 53rd International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) on Thursday 25 January 2024, with the festival running until Sunday 4 February. Several titles across the programme make up the edition’s first confirmations, as details are confirmed for the IFFR Pro Days, ticket sales, the festival press conference, nationwide Preview Tour, accreditations and more.

Highlights

  • New Zealand-set post-punk comedy Head South by Jonathan Ogilvie opens the festival.
  • Ishan Shukla’s dystopian sci-fi animation Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust has its world premiere.
  • Billy Woodberry’s Mário, a biography of Mário de Andrade, a key figure in African independence struggles, has its world premiere. 
  • First confirmations also include the European premieres of So Unreal by Amanda Kramer and Elegies by Ann Hui.
  • Egypt’s Oscars submission Voy! Voy! Voy! by Omar Hilal has its European premiere.
  • The IFFR Pro Days professionals’ programme runs from Friday 26 January to Wednesday 31 January.
  • The IFFR Press Conference announcing competitions and programme lineup takes place Monday 18 December.

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Clockwise, stills from the films: Schirkoa: In Lies We TrustMárioSo UnrealElegies

Vanja Kaludjercic, IFFR Festival Director: “As we near the finalising stage of the IFFR 2024 programme, we are delighted with how it is shaping up, and no more so than with our opening night. With Head South, Jonathan Ogilvie returns to the festival with an unpredictable coming-of-age story that delights in its shifting tone. Quirkiness and nostalgia become sober and thoughtful, only to turn exuberant and then something else again, in a fitting tribute to post-punk subculture. Ogilvie is the kind of filmmaker we cherish at IFFR: those for whom the art is, above all, an adventure of discovery.”

Clare Stewart, IFFR Managing Director: “The strength and courage of the Tiger have prevailed as we work to shape the 2024 edition of IFFR. Like film festivals everywhere, we face significant challenges and our focus is on continuing to rebuild resources, consolidate partnerships and diversify audiences. We are buoyed by the enormous goodwill of our vibrant, film-loving city, and hugely grateful to the funders and partners who enable IFFR to remain a fierce defender and champion of independent filmmakers and artists at a time when the world needs diverse stories more than ever.”

Opening film

New Zealand filmmaker Jonathan Ogilvie returns to IFFR with Head South, a small-town coming-of-age comedy where a private schoolboy becomes desperately enamoured with all things post-punk in 1979 Christchurch. The director’s semi-autobiographical film opens the 2024 edition, after his last film Lone Wolf screened in the festival’s Big Screen Competition in 2021. 


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Still from the film Head South

First confirmations

A star cast voices Ishan Shukla’s dystopian sci-fi animation Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust, which has its world premiere at IFFR 2024 in the Bright Future programme of feature debuts. The paper bag-wearing citizens of the film’s ultra-regulated society attribute their voices to actors including Golshifteh Farahani and Asia Argento, as well as filmmakers Gaspar Noé and Lav Diaz. 

The festival welcomes the world premiere of Mário by US filmmaker Billy Woodberry: a biographical documentary of the Angolan-born writer and nationalist leader Mário de Andrade, who was central in struggles for pan-African independence. The film screens in Harbour, the festival’s largest and broadest programme.


So Unreal is the latest film from genre-expanding filmmaker Amanda Kramer following a Focus programme at IFFR 2022, and screens in Harbour where it has its European premiere, as does Elegies, the latest by Hong Kong cinema legend Ann Hu. 

IFFR 2024 also welcomes Egypt’s 2024 Oscars submission Voy! Voy! Voy! by Omar Hilal, screening in our Limelight programme of festival favourites and international award-winners.


Click here to read more about the programme.

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Still from the film Voy! Voy! Voy!

Preview Tour

In the lead up to the festival, audiences across the Netherlands can get a taste of the programme with the IFFR Preview Tour. More than 35 cinemas have currently committed to hosting a screening of a film from our Limelight programme in the week before the festival, in cities including Arnhem, Groningen, Maastricht and 's-Hertogenbosch. 


IFFR Pro 

The festival’s industry programme kicks off on Friday 26 January with the opening of the Pro Hub, where filmmakers and industry professionals gather for mentoring, meetings, and the IFFR Pro Dialogues programme of panel discussions, covering urgent and enlightening issues facing the industry.  

The 41st edition of IFFR’s co-production market CineMart begins on Sunday 28 January, with Spotlight presentations by project teams returning this year on Monday 29 January. On Tuesday 30, the second edition of the Pro Darkroom presents a curated selection of work-in-progress screenings, and is followed by the IFFR Pro Awards in the evening. 

Talent programmes return to the festival, including the Rotterdam Lab which, alongside the more than 70 emerging producers selected by partner organisations, this edition welcomes five extra participants selected through an open call. BoostNL and Creative Producer Indaba will also be hosted during the festival, with participants already announced. 

Applications for accreditation can be submitted from the week beginning 4 December.


Media Outreach & Inclusion Scheme

Following its successful launch last year, the festival invites applications for the second edition of the Media Outreach & Inclusion Scheme for IFFR 2024. By welcoming new and diverse voices to report on the festival, the scheme aims to remove barriers to journalists and media makers from communities that are currently underrepresented in the festival’s press community. This edition’s programme will be expanded to include workshops and expert sessions with professionals in the industry.

Journalists and media makers from a wide range of backgrounds can apply by Friday 22 December.

Ticket sales

Ticket sales will begin a week earlier than in 2023, starting Thursday 11 January for IFFR donors: Pioneers, Visionairs and Fellows, Tiger Members and accredited guests, followed by the general sale beginning the next day, Friday 12 January at 20.00. 

Stay tuned

The IFFR 2024 press conference is confirmed to take place online at 11.00 on Monday 18 December, announcing the festival programme including Tiger, Big Screen and Tiger Short competition lineups. 

Before then, stay tuned for regular programme announcements, including further programme highlights, RTM, Art Directions, the Robby Müller Award winner and more.

Click here for the film stills

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