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ROTTERDAM 2017 Industry

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IFFR PRO kicks off

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- CineMart, Propellor, BoostNL and a reshaped Hubert Bals Fund: Marit van den Elshout sums up what to expect from the 2017 edition of IFFR PRO

IFFR PRO kicks off
Head of IFFR PRO Marit van den Elshout

“We have several exciting things in store!” expounds head of IFFR PRO Marit van den Elshout when questioned by Cineuropa about the next few days, when hundreds of directors, producers and distributors from all around the world will head to Rotterdam to take part in a series of events under the IFFR PRO umbrella.

The most visible of these events is the CineMart project market (which this year will boast 26 new indie feature proposals, 19 of which are European co-productions – read more), but professionals will also have the opportunity to get involved in the brand-new Propellor Kickstart event. “It’s an initiative that we are developing with the European Film Market, CPH:DOX and Cinemathon within the Propellor Film Tech Hub. The idea is to bring film professionals closer to developments in information technology, and therefore promote the exploration of new models of production, distribution and screening of films,” explains van den Elshout. The one-and-a-half-day-long, innovation-driven event will see two ideas, brought along by the participants, selected by the mentors and then pitched at the closing night of CineMart. “This is the first stage. The winner will get an award, which includes his or her participation in the forthcoming Propellor Bootcamp in Berlin.”

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Another initiative on the calendar is BoostNL, in partnership with the Holland Film Meeting, which unspooled its first stage last September in Utrecht during the Netherlands Film Festival. “We are trying to enhance the follow-up of the projects and promote cooperation, rather than just providing a platform for them to be presented.”

In addition, the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) – one of Rotterdam’s oldest and most successful trademarks, and the subject of one of the many upcoming panels – is being reshaped to follow new guidelines. Among the changes, announced last weekend, are two separate schemes for Script and Project Development. “There will be an HBF Bright Future scheme, of a maximum of €10,000 per project, which targets first- and second-time directors, and another one, named HBF Voices, worth the same amount for feature projects by directors who are already at a more advanced stage of their careers,” van den Elshout says. Furthermore, the HBF will also be handling the Benelux distribution of all of the titles that will receive support from the fund from now on.

Running until 3 February, IFFR PRO’s intensive programme marks Europe’s first major professional gathering of the year, and it also includes other events like the Rotterdam Lab and several debates on topics related to co-production markets, the role of festivals, marketing and, at an eagerly awaited panel organised in cooperation with Europa Distribution, audience involvement. 

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