The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) ended this weekend. The 42nd edition of the biggest, non-free cultural event sold a total of 280,000 tickets, around 6,000 more than last year but still way behind the record sales of a few years ago, when more than 350,000 tickets were sold.
Though the festival has always had an eye for budding Dutch talent, this year was a particularly strong year for Dutch features in Rotterdam, with no less than 11 features programmed. The Column Film production Matterhorn from Diederik Ebbinge, went on to win the festival's Audience Award and was also picked up by German sales agent Media Luna during the festival, as was the latest film of IFFR regular David Verbeek, How to Describe a Cloud (photo), which was shot with Taiwanese actors and is entirely in Mandarin.
Things already kicked off on a Dutch note during the first day of the festival, on January 23rd, with the opening film The Resurrection of a Bastard from debuting director Guido van Driel, who based the film on his own graphic novel of the same name about a criminal in search of a man who tried to kill him. The Topkapi Films production was part of the Tiger Awards Competition, as was Dutch entry Silent Ones, from director Ricky Rijneke. The Hungarian-language film stars Orsi Toth, is produced by Rotterdam Films and sold internationally by Wide Management.
Six features were part of the Bright Future section, including, besides Matterhorn, the tragi-comedy The Deflowering of Eva van End from newcomer Michiel ten Horn; The New World from Jaap van Heusden; the Dutch-Tunisian Die Welt from Alex Pitstra; the docu-fiction hybridDead Body Welcome from Kees Brienen and the Rotterdam-set writer's block tale Devastated by Love from Ari Deelder, son of poet and iconic Rotterdammer Jules Deelder.
The Spectrum section showcased Verbeek's Taiwan-set Cloud, Rio de Janeiro-set Hill of Pleasures from director Maria Ramos and Hans Heijnen's documentary portrait of the popular local singer, Lee Towers: The Voice of Rotterdam.
One of the most remarkable things about the Dutch line-up in Rotterdam is how it showcased how some Dutch directors, including Verbeek, Ramos and Rijneke, venture far outside of their country and native languagewhile others, including Van Driel, Deelder and Heijnen, made the films as local as possible.
Read more exclusive contents on cineuropa.org.