The festival prides itself on being a melting pot of cultural and political views, something expressed by festival director Bero Beyer who in his second edition at the helm gave a wide-ranging speech in which he explained the concept behind this year’s ‘Planet IFFR’ concept.
“We can be entertained and enchanted, confused, scared, soothed and seduced in many different ways by the stories that are told and by the way they come to us. This state-of-mind where we can experience other views, where we can experience time itself through the art of cinema: that is Planet IFFR,” Beyer stated.
He promised a festival that would be “colourful, diverse, slightly chaotic, buzzing with energy, vibrant, alive.”
The festival opened with the international premiere of Janicza Bravo’s US indie comedy-drama Lemon (fresh from its Sundance world premiere), in the city’s Doelen concert hall.
Several filmmakers were in attendance, among them Jenkins, Dickerson, iconic Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr (who is to give a masterclass today) and Charles Burnett, whose 1978 classic Killer Of Sheep screens in the Festival’s Black Rebels sidebar.
The film was preceded by a preview of a new short, Greetings From Aleppo, by Floor van der Meulen, Thomas Vroege and Issa Touma. The trio are the team behind 9 Days – From My Windows in Aleppo, the recent winner of a European film award.
Other prominent guests due in town over the next week include Andrea Arnold, whose American Honey screens in the Voices strand, and French director Olivier Assayas. Both filmmakers are due to give masterclasses.
This weekend, it is expected that the directors behind Rotterdam, I Love You, the latest film in the Cities Of Love series, will be announced.
The festival’s main industry component, coproduction market The Cinemart, runs from 29 January to 1st February.
The festival’s main retrospect this year is of Czech New Wave director Jan Nemec.