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International Film Festival Rotterdam 2023 Report

By MIFF Staff | 07.03.2023 | News Recommendations
International Film Festival Rotterdam 2023 Report

The first IFFR in three years was a banger. It was my first time at the festival and the city exceeded my expectations.

Rotterdam doesn’t have the charm and quirkiness of Amsterdam, but it does have a wealth of interesting buildings, warm inhabitants and a vibrant art scene. The festival itself offers a monumental film program of 430 films alongside a robust and dynamic industry program.

I was lucky enough to participate in two industry events, both of which allowed me to share my experience while gaining insight into others’. A panel of festival programmers and distribution agents advised attending filmmakers on festival strategies for their films and how best to ensure they get their work to a wider audience beyond festival play.

I also sat in on a symposium about the state of festivals in the wake of the pandemic: How have audiences changed, and how does that affect how festivals deliver their programs and events? Does the number of premieres presented by a festival really matter? Is there still a place for streaming? It was fascinating to listen to Christine Vachon (!!) talk about how people view the format of the ‘American indie film’ now – she pondered if perhaps they find it easier to relate to this content from their couches in the shadow of COVID-19.

But there was this gem of insight that spoke to me: the simple fact that the more people watch, the more they want to watch – including doing so in a cinema. There was a wonderful air of collegiality in the collective agreement that festivals should aspire to be collaborating more rather than competing with one another to give the most to all of our audiences.

From Steve McQueen in conversation to his incredible installation, Sunshine State; a festival commission that had been in the works for the past four years, which reimagines and repurposes images and sequences from The Jazz Singer alongside a narration by the artist, to wonderful films like the Tiger Competition–winning Le spectre de Boko Haram, the award-winning Munnell and Joanna Hogg’s highly anticipated The Eternal Daughter (did not disappoint!) … It was an honour and a privilege to celebrate IFFR’s return to in-person form after three years in the virtual wilderness.

Kate Fitzpatrick
MIFF Programmer

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