Short and powerful Short films play a prominent role throughout the festival programme and you'll find them popping up everywhere: as part of an installation, as a prelude to a main feature in Pathe and, of course, together in collective programmes in short-headquarters LantarenVenster, which has recently been relocated to the Kop van Zuid on the Wilhelminapier.

How long is short? At the IFFR a film is defined as 'short' if it lasts for less than an hour. Whether it's a few seconds or 59 minutes, a short film is precisely as long as it needs to be. In this edition a large number of the approximately 400 selected films are so-called mid-length shorts, which last from 30 to 50 minutes. As well as length, there's also a big diversity in subject matter, filming techniques and execution. There are fiction films, experimental work and documentaries. Short films prove that film makers play with a whole range of cinematic forms and ideas - from masters such as the Quay brothers or Sun Xun to young talent such as Romanian Eva Pervolovici, Finish Pilva Takala or Taiwanese James T. Hong and Yin-Ju Chen. Most short films are shown in special collective programmes and you can find details of these on page 57. If you want to know in which collection a specific film appears, then see the alphabetical title index.

Familiar name, new location 
The short film programme is the biggest of its kind in the Netherlands and surrounding area. As well as in Bright Future and Spectrum, shorts also appear in other parts of the festival programme. Of course, most of them can be seen in LantarenVenster, which is headquarters for directors, public and film professionals to meet each other. This location is no longer a stone's throw from the heart of the festival, but has moved house to the Wilhelminapier. It is, however, easy to reach by bicycle or public transport: see here.

And the winners are…
The shorts have their own competition - the Rotterdam Tiger Awards for Short Films - which has 28 entrants this year. In contrast to the other Tiger award, the 'short Tigers' are not automatically for new young talent. A veteran such as Nathaniel Dorksy, who has a retrospective in this festival, also stands a chance of winning.

De winners of the Rotterdam Tiger Awards for Short Films

  • Pastourelle, Nathaniel Dorsky, USA, 2010, 16’, European premiere
  • Stardust, Nicolas Provost, Belgium, 2010, 20’
  • Jan Villa, Natasha Mendonca, USA, India, 2010, 20’

There are also other competitions for short films. On Sunday 30th January New Arrivals, the NTR's and IFFR'S online platform for short films, will announce which of its monthly winners will claim the main award. All the entrants can be seen throughout the year on the festival website. There's also plenty of fantastic things to see online - the festival regularly shows short films on its own YouTube channel. You can also enjoy alternative webfilms on YouTube. The Upload Cinema event Bad Endings, which rebels against the slick happy endings of Hollywood, pays tribute to these gems of the internet with their tragic or dramatic endings.

As well as the retrospective for avant-garde master Dorsky, the festival also pays tribute to Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby. This Canadian duo combine live action, animation and music in an original manner and their most recent work, Lesser Apes, is nominated for a Tiger Award. The other 'short profile' is for Sandro Aguilar, one of Portugal's most productive film makers. He's been working on an impressive collection of short films since 1998, which don't yet get the recognition they deserve outside of Portugal. The four programmes with films from South Asia also deserve a special mention. There's no over-the-top Bollywood drama, but instead a surprising programme full of short documentaries, fiction films and experimental work from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Short distance marathon
The cinematic endurance event that is the Short Film Marathon is once again lined up for the last festival weekend. From early in the morning until late at night you can watch an unbroken stream of short films. The brand spanking new location and armchairs in LantarenVenster will make sitting out the marathon more comfortable than ever. A half marathon is also possible - you pay €15 per half, or €12.50 with discount. The programme has treats for the ears, as well as the eyes, as is proved by two live performances. On Friday 28th January you can hear the Rotterdam band Coolhaven in LantarenVenster and on Sunday 30th January you can enjoy a live set from the film maker Joost Rekveld with composer Yannis Kyriakides and Andy Moor from The Ex.

Films in ‘Rotterdam Tiger Awards Competition for Short Films’