The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has created a re-designed format with which to celebrate its 50th edition.
Adapting to restrictions against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the IFFR has changed to an expanded multi-part hybrid structure, with the event to take place from February to June 2021.
The festival kicks off on 1-7 February, with physical and virtual screenings of its competitions and an online edition of IFFR Pro Days. The IFFR will close its anniversary edition on 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.
“The 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 added, “Through the new path we are taking in 2021, we expand beyond our existing boundaries, whilst at the same time, our commitment to our makers, industry and audiences remains undiminished.”
She noted that the festival organiser’s desire to deliver a creatively audacious, mesmerising festival, albeit one whose presentation, this year at least, will seem a little unfamiliar. Whislt the form may be different, the programme will be as thrilling and vital as ever.
The expanded IFFR 2021 will comprise of 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).
The IFFR will also be kicking off its 50th-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. Through this model, the IFFR will preserve the possibility of safe, socially distanced in-person gatherings, whilst 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, the 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,” said Marit van den Elshout, Head of IFFR Pro, “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, with the Awards Ceremony for the Tiger Competition, the Ammodo Tiger Short Competition and the Big Screen Competition, scheduled for 7 February.
Connecting these two elements will be a creative and dynamic array of physical and online events, including the exhibition Vive le cinéma!, which will be presented in collaboration with Eye Filmmuseum.
It will feature commissioned works by celebrated filmmakers including: 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, the IFFR aims for an expanded celebration that is expressed locally, internationally, in-person and online.
“Even though the shape has changed, IFFR’s vision and relentless commitment to independent cinema remains fully intact,” Kaludjercic said, “Through this revised festival outline, the IFFR will continue to connect the films we hold dear with a broad and diverse audience, both professional and public.”