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Rotterdam IFFR celebrates XL anniversary

The International Film Festival Rotterdam is marking its fortieth year with a look back and forward, and in particular at the current state of affairs and the future. Under the motto 'XL', the festival’s anniversary programme will embrace home port Rotterdam by making use of forty locations, including the new LantarenVenster cinema. In addition, Frank Scheffer is making a documentary to mark forty years of IFFR; the festival is issuing an anniversary DVD boxed set and the festival website will be focusing on forty moments from the festival’s history. Future festival-goers will be welcome at Not Kidding, a playful programme for budding film buffs aged four up. The 40th IFFR opens on 26 January 2011.

Forty years of IFFR
Following an initiative by the Rotterdamse Kunststichting [Rotterdam Foundation for the Arts], Huub Bals organised the very first Film International – later renamed IFFR – in 1972. Bals' knowledge of and passion for cinema made the festival a regular attraction for film-lovers and filmmakers. Bals and those who followed in his footsteps to make the festival what it is today strove to create a bond between filmmakers and their audiences. Over the intervening forty years, the festival has become one of the biggest, most popular and most well-known cultural events in the Netherlands. The festival also receives a great deal of international appreciation for its clearly artistic profile and active support of filmmakers.

Festival director Rutger Wolfson on how IFFR will be celebrating this anniversary: "IFFR has always been dynamic, progressive and faithful to its origins. The festival still reflects, from a wide range of film art perspectives, what is going on in the world. Visitors and international guests flock to Rotterdam because of the festival’s focus on new developments, new films and the new insights revealed by these. For many years, IFFR has been living proof that a large-scale event can be combined with a high-quality, progressive artistic policy and an outward-looking philosophy. Now we are celebrating forty years of IFFR, I want to mark the occasion with an ‘extra large’ celebration in the city that has always embraced the festival in its bosom."

Anniversary XL programme
During the next festival, XL will also stand for ‘extra locations’. The anniversary XL programme will take IFFR to a large number of buildings and institutes throughout Rotterdam, with film screenings, video installations and exhibitions. These venues will include the new LantarenVenster at the Wilhelminapier, the Focuskliniek, Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum, the Groothandelsgebouw, the Maritiem Museum, the Natuurhistorisch Museum and the Kunsthal. A special XL pass will give visitors access to all of these during the festival.

Not Kidding: for everyone aged 4 and up
In this anniversary year, IFFR will be devoting particular attention to its future festival audiences by introducing Not Kidding: a place and a programme for film as an attraction, for adults as well as children. Not Kidding will screen short films, combinations of sound and images, a lot of animated films, special events and workshops. A place to see film through innocent eyes. The programme will investigate what adults can learn from the way children read images. Not Kidding, developed and compiled by IFFR programmer Edwin Carels, will be open daily during the festival at a location to be determined.

TIGER EYES, documentary by Frank Scheffer
Renowned director of essayist documentaries Frank Scheffer has created the film TIGER EYES specially for the upcoming anniversary edition of IFFR. It will be a mosaic at the intersection of cinema and IFFR, on the basis of a number of portraits of international filmmakers who represent different aspects of the past four decades of the festival. The choice of these filmmakers was made largely by the directors of IFFR.
More or less in chronological order, these are: Raúl Ruiz (Chile/France), the subject of a festival focus in 2004 and present at IFFR 2011 with his new work MYSTERIES OF LISBON); festival visitor and longstanding fan Wim Wenders (Germany); internationally acclaimed cineaste Abbas Kiarostami (Iran); Michael Haneke (Austria), festival focus in 1993 and a winner of the Golden Palm for DAS WEISSE BAND); Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania), festival focus in 2007 and maker of the authoritative BAMAKO); Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand), winner of a Golden Palm for UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, which was realised with support from IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund; and Cameron Jamie (USA), festival focus in 2008 and known, among other things, for his film performances with noise rock band The Melvins.

An online look back at the festival’s history
On the website, IFFR will be looking back at forty memorable moments from the festival’s past, using archival finds, personal anecdotes, interviews, photos and moving images. A new moment will be revealed every day, starting forty days prior to the opening of IFFR 2011. These will include fragments from television reports, large and small news items from the (festival’s) daily papers, rare photographic material, anecdotes from festival directors and the now famous festival posters. The VPRO broadcaster will be providing some exceptional material, such as an interview by Adriaan van Dis with Roberto Benigni from 1984 and images from 1999, when a young Christopher Nolan made his debut, introducing his Tiger Award winner FOLLOWING. Also, the very first programme, cuttings about the 1979 'striptease incident' and portrait photos of Charlotte Rampling and Peter Greenaway taken by Pieter Vandermeer.
(with thanks to: VPRO, EYE Film Instituut Nederland, Pieter Vandermeer)

IFFR Anniversary Box
To mark the anniversary with a special DVD boxed set, IFFR has selected ten well-loved, award-winning feature films from forty years of festival history. The boxed set also contains a series of short films that won a Tiger Award or were nominated for the Prix UIP of the European Film Academy from 2005 to 2010. Virtually all of the films are English-spoken or subtitled in English. The boxed set can be purchased from 20 January for € 69.95 from the IFFR web shop and during the festival at the IFFR merchandise stand. The boxed set contains the following feature films: FAMILY NEST by Béla Tarr (1979, Hungary); THE CYCLIST by Mohsen Makhmalbaf (1989, Iran); ABOUNA by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (2002, Chad); TONY MANERO by Pablo Larraín (2008, Chile); PARQUE VIA by Enrique Rivero (2008) and Tiger Award winners POSTMAN by He Jianjun (1994, China); MUNDO GRÚA by Pablo


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