With an average of 275,000 visits and over 2,000 film professionals from over 100 countries, International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR) is one of the largest audience and industry-driven film festivals in the world. Besides our yearly celebration of inspiring and diverse films, we offer highly relevant masterclasses, talks, training labs, educational opportunities, project funding (through the Hubert Bals Fund) and an international market for industry professionals. Hence, since its 50th edition in 2021, IFFR identifies itself as an organisation dedicated to bolstering the international film industry with activities both during the festival period as well as via year-round projects.
One of the key reasons why we have been able to secure this position is by constantly evaluating our progress and strategic plans. It has allowed us to both grow and to deal with severe problems that have come to pass over the years (such as the Covid-19 pandemic).
For 2022 to 2025, we have once again adjusted our sights. Yet, instead of increasing our scale, we aim to boost our impact on the world stage of cinema: to harness a bold future for the festival that will capture the hearts and minds of a diverse audience, to strengthen and connect talent both young and old, and to expand on the IFFR brand.
Our goal is – and always has been – to celebrate films with unique visions and revelations, coming from cultures far and wide. The IFFR community is one of the key pillars that supports this aspiration, and is thus as essential as the programme itself.
For the next three years, we will continue redefining our film programme, as to better fit the social climate. This begins by broadening and deepening our selection, becoming bolder and more surprising in our editorial choices, and to pick films that are central to a diverse and multicultural society. In order to achieve this, we have set up strong and inclusive Selection Committees, which are amongst others briefed to pay particular attention to unique genre features and stories that can travel the world.
With this new approach we aim to attract new visitors from the city of Rotterdam, the whole of the Netherlands and on an international basis. Yet, most important is our hope to stir audience engagement by confronting them with thrilling films that underline relevant and pressing issues.
This new approach to the programme will have a direct impact on the festival itself. As usual, we have set the highest bar for our services – which are professional, inviting and sustainable. It is one of our main goals to make sure that IFFR audiences and guests have a welcoming and captivating festival experience that is both informal and professional. And, together with the help of the city of Rotterdam, this will once again take place in a safe and secure environment.
There are two additional elements that we aim to further develop and capitalise on in the coming years. First, we want to streamline the educational programmes and build stronger bridges to captivate future audiences. This is tied to our second point of interest, namely our revenue stream – which we believe we can increase by both strengthening the loyalty of our audience and additional box office income. The results of this approach will be used to further increase the impact of the festival and thus lead to an upwards spiral of quality and success.
For years, our partners have been key to the success of IFFR – we therefore want to deepen our partnerships and to create meaningful interaction with their supporters. International, national and local collaborations lie at the heart of our festival, which is also clearly visible in our visitors list of industry professionals, the transnational projects we support and exhibit, and the third parties we work with.
This coincides with our added focus on diversity and inclusion, as it is the perfect representation of what IFFR stands for. These are also important points for our partners – the City of Rotterdam, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Creative Europe, Fonds 21, Stichting Droom & Daad, de Volkskrant and de VriendenLoterij – and we want to hold true to our common goals. We have already made big steps by our Creative Europe supported inclusion plan, which will partly reinvent how we depict ourselves to the outside world – but we won’t stop there.
All of the above – all of our strategic goals – would not be possible without our amazing team. Coming from different backgrounds, different cultures and even different countries, our team members mirror everything that IFFR stands for. This is also true for our Selection Committees, which function as a harbour to safeguard diverse cinema.
Working towards common goals, we want to be focussed and dare to say no to opportunities and activities that do not align with what we stand for: an IFFR that supports the international film industry all year long, while remaining relevant for existing and new audiences alike.