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Bright Future, Spectrum & Signals: new sections for Rotterdam IFFR

The 38th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is to get a new and simplified format with three main sections. This will make the programme clearer and do more justice to individual films and special themes. A special feature of this new format is that all three programme sections will be able to comprise full-length films, shorts, art installations and live performances. In this way, the festival is reacting to a real change in both the film and arts world, with film makers and visual artists choosing per project for a specific medium and the best possible form of distribution. The three main sections in the new format:

1. Bright Future is the platform for filmmakers of the future. Here, the festival presents the most important, idiosyncratic and adventurous new work by novice makers from all over the world. The section mainly consists of first or second films. The competitive part of the festival, the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition for first and second features and the Tiger Awards Competition for short films, is part of this section.

2. Spectrum comprises work by experienced film makers and artists who provide, in the opinion of the IFFR, an essential contribution to international film culture. Spectrum brings together highlights of the film year, new work by prominent auteurs and topical, strong and innovative films by accomplished filmmakers. Closely linked to Bright Future, Spectrum sets a high quality standard in substance and style.

3. Signals is made up of a series of thematic film programmes, exhibitions or performances. Here the festival focuses on specific themes and oeuvres of striking filmmakers or visual artists. The programmes within Signals offer insight in topical as well as timeless ideas within cinema. During IFFR 2009, Signals includes, among others to be announced, the theme sections ‘Hungry Ghosts’ and ‘Size Matters’ (see below).

Festival director Rutger Wolfson on the innovative format of the IFFR: “The new format matches the increasing integration of full-length features and art installations, short film and live performance, silver screen and monitor. This integration is a matter-of-course for an increasing number of film makers and artists and serves to enrich the classic notion of cinema. By giving this development a more central role, the IFFR is looking to the future of film culture.”

The films and projects in all three sections will be selected by the team of IFFR programmers. Gerwin Tamsma and Gertjan Zuilhof will coordinate the sections Bright Future and Spectrum respectively.

Extra support for films in the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition
The IFFR is going to further strengthen the position of the Tiger Awards Competition in the international industry. Rutger Wolfson: “This competition means a lot for young film makers. A film in competition in Rotterdam will be invited by many other festivals and help with the financing of a following film. But the market for art-house cinema is facing difficult times. That is why in years to come we are going to focus more on international sales and distribution of competition films. The IFFR has a reputation, along with the Hubert Bals Fund and the CineMart, of supporting films and film makers. We are going to work hard to support films in the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition.”

The VPRO Tiger Awards Competition is compiled by Rutger Wolfson. He is assisted by festival programmers Ludmila Cvikova, Gerwin Tamsma, Gertjan Zuilhof and Chinlin Hsieh, who recently joined the team of programmers. Hsieh is going to work to strengthen the position of the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition within the industry.

Chinlin Hsieh comes from Taiwan and has lived in France since 1988. She started in the film world assisting Hou Hsiao-hsien and producing Tsai Ming-liang (WHAT TIME IS IT THERE). She subsequently worked on project development, acquisition and sales with Arena Films, The Coproduction Office and Celluloid Dreams. She is a member of the selection committees of the Turin Film Fund, the Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum and the Venice Days. At present she is executive producer at Soudaine Compagnie for feature films by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, the Larrieu Brothers and Leos Carax.

The Tiger Awards Competition for short films is compiled by Peter van Hoof, assisted by the short film selection committee.

First films selected for the 2009 Competition
The feature début BABI BUTA YANG INGIN TERBANG (BLIND PIG WHO WANTS TO FLY) by the Indonesian film maker Edwin has been selected for the 2009 VPRO Tiger Awards Competition. The film has also been included in the New Currents Competition of the Pusan IFF, 2-10 October 2008.
Edwin (1978) studied graphic design in Surabaya and film in Jakarta. Alongside short films, he has made music videos and documentaries. Commissioned by the IFFR, Edwin made the short film HULAHOOP SOUNDINGS, a remake of Joel Coen's SOUNDINGS, as part of the IFFR’s educational project Meet the Maestro 2008.
BLIND PIG WHO WANTS TO FLY has been supported at various stages by the IFFR: in 2007, Edwin received the Hubert Bals Fund Award for his film during the Cinemanila IFF. In 2008, the film was a CineMart project and received a contribution for postproduction from the Hubert Bals Fund. BLIND PIG WHO WANTS TO FLY follows the journey made by Linda through today's Indonesia. Confused about her identity, she looks for answers from seven figures and a pig.

Special attention for Asian horror and the ubiquitous nature of screens
The 38th IFFR presents as part of Signals the section Hungry Ghosts, a film programme with Asian features about ghosts and supernatural apparitions. This very popular and commercial genre in Asia is regularly plundered for Hollywood remakes, not all equally successful. Hungry Ghosts, compiled by Gertjan Zuilhof, presents the most striking and innovative recent Asian work and also presents the exhibition ‘Haunted House’ with the cooperation of film makers and set designers from Asia.

The second section of Signals is called Size Matters. This programme shows how the size of screens, from supersize to miniature, influences film making and the viewing experience of the spectator. The festival is planning to make use of large size outdoor projections in the inner city of Rotterdam, but also of screens in film auditoria and other spaces. More sections of Signals will be announced shortly.

The 38th International Film Festival Rotterdam is taking place from 21 January to 1 February 2009.

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