Viet Nam News
ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands — The cold winter did not appear to dampen the spirits of more than 1000 guests, directors and filmmakers who gathered for the opening night of the 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in the Netherlands on January 24.
The first event of the festival, which is taking place from January 24 to February 5, was held in the De Doelen building in the heart of Rotterdam, attended by film enthusiasts, journalists, critics and industry experts.
Festival director Bero Beyor won the hearts of the audience with his inspiring speech about the role of film in the contemporary landscape.
He spoke about the way films enable us to take a step back and have a bigger picture of the complex reality we make and take for granted, referring to significant social issues in the last few years such as gender equality and the refugee crisis in Syria.
Immediately afterward, the audience watched “Jimmie”, the first film of the festival, directed by Jesper Gandslandt. The story is about a 4-year old boy on the run with his father to escape a dystopian Sweden that somehow mirrors Syria.
The two lead actors of the film are Gandslandt and his son Hunter, who came out to greet the audience after the movie ended to great applause. According to Gandslandt, the film gives Western European audiences a clearer picture of the refugee crisis from the unique viewpoint of a child.
Held annually near the end of January, Rotterdam has long been on the A list of the International Film Festival Association, alongside other prestigious and notable festivals such as Cannes (France), Venice (Italy), Sundance (US) and others.
However, it remains an unfamiliar name to many Vietnamese readers and audiences. What distinguishes Rotterdam from other film festivals is its focus on independent film projects, short films, and arthouse and experimental cinema.
Hence, it does not follow the glamorous red-carpet convention throughout the events because attending guests are mostly emerging filmmakers or potential new faces in the industry.
They are encouraged to mingle and interact with the audience, journalists or distributors through interviews, talks or public presentations to promote their ideas and visions of the film industry.
The 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam will show over 500 film titles from around the world and hold countless other activities such as experts’ "Masterclass & Talks", “Virtual Reality Exhibition” and CineMart Day, when new filmmakers can meet film distributors for future projects. — VNS