A film festival beyond borders: IFFR Live!
by David González
- IFFR launches a bold new initiative that aims to take the festival’s films to other European countries simultaneously
The digital era caused a revolution in the film industry, and there are measures that need to be taken. The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is aware of it, and presented the bold new distribution initiative IFFR! Live, intending to give a full response to the cataclysmic shift from the 2015 edition onwards.
IFFR! Live, created by the festival in collaboration with distribution and international sales companies Fortissimo Films, TrustNordisk and Doc & Film International, plans on selecting from five to nine European films out of the official selection to screen in different film venues all over Europe, alongside a live stream of the Q&A with the cast and crew and a possible participation of all viewers in the discussion through online services such as Twitter.
“Nowadays, film has to offer something more than just a screening”, said IFFR artistic director Rutger Wolfson, for whom the event is expected to bring audiences a sense of exclusivity and excitement.
UK Film Council Head of Distribution and Exhibition Peter Buckingham referred to the excitement that TV fiction raises on the audience. This is partially related to its limited quantity – whereas in a festival many more films are presented.
The choice for this limited selection was defended by Fortissimo Films’ Nelleke Driesen, TrustNordisk’s Susan Wendt and Doc & Film International’s Daniela Estner. “We rely on our experience in distribution and sales,” said Estner, for whom the selected films must have an international appeal for both markets and audiences.
Embracing this new attitude toward digital distribution still provokes sceptical reactions but the reality is changing, as expressed by producer Tom Dercourt, whose similar initiative La Septième Salle is already taking place in France, with great results.
IFFR Live!’s final stage is releasing the selected films, either through traditional distribution or VOD and pay TV services (Netherland’s UPC is already on board), and thus turning the festival into more than a simple promotional window.