Extending its educational reach once again, IFFR 2020 featured a diverse range of activities to engage (school)children, youngsters and students, from preschool through to university, in the film festival experience.

IFFR is committed to providing space for quality cinema and film education in school curricula and in the lives of all young people in Rotterdam and in the surrounding region. By engaging its ties with the city’s educational institutions and cultural partners, IFFR reached over 28,000 school children, students and teachers during its 49th edition.

Yes, I do see myself returning to IFFR. (...) This might sound strange, but it has really been a motivation to go to these kinds of films. Not those standard Pathé films, but more from cinemas in the neighborhood like KINO. Yes, the vibe there [in KINO] was also very nice.

- Sarah, MBO, 18 years old

In 2020, programmes on offer included special screenings for young patients from the Sophia MC children’s hospital. The festival has an ongoing dedicated screening programme for secondary and intermediate vocational education (MBO). As well as tailoring film selections to the curriculum, IFFR has also developed tailor-made educational materials to accommodate the screenings and support incorporating cinema into the classroom in the form of film and media education. This year, IFFR extended the region of involved primary schools, reaching an additional 2,500 pupils.

I also liked how it was edited. Lots of fleeting transitions and weird effects, that makes a different movie than you see in the cinema.

- Paul, 4VWO, 15 years old

Connecting young filmmakers and film students with an international network was on the forefront of the festival’s programming. In a special programme titled The Collective Space, a diverse group of young filmmakers from Rotterdam were introduced to various international communities. The programme included closed workshops connected to The Ummah Chroma installation, G/D THYSELF: Spirit Strategy On Raising Free Black Children. IFFR 2020 also piloted IFFR Academy as a fully accredited, curated programme of meetings between art and film students and industry experts.

The IFFR Youth Jury, consisting of young people from Rotterdam, had the opportunity to select their favourite festival offering, with their award for best film going to the strongly featured Les Misérables by Ladj Ly.