Annual Report

Audiences online and in Rotterdam

With the 50th edition taking place in a two-part hybrid form, IFFR 2021 reached new and broader audiences and proudly welcomed Rotterdammers back to the big screen in June.

IFFR 2021 at home © Jan de Groen

Pathé Schouwburgplein during IFFR 2021 © Tomas Mutsaers

IFFR 2021 at cinemas © Ruben Hamelink

Online and in cinemas

Due to the hybrid festival format – with screenings both online and in cinemas in June – the attendance and engagement during IFFR 2021 cannot be directly compared to previous years. 

The total number of visits for both online screenings on and physical screenings for IFFR 2021 was 270,898. The online festival attendance was calculated using a multiplier based on a survey sent to 10,777 ticket holders in February, with 3,489 respondents. IFFR calculated a resulting 1.7 per-household multiplier. Online festival attendance amounts to 92.3% of the total, while physical festival attendance reached 7.7%.

“The possibility to watch a film online, in the same period that it’s screening in cinemas at the festival, is a very valuable addition in my opinion. I hope this remains possible in the future. It means you can watch more films, also on the days that you don’t have time to visit the festival – fantastic.”
– IFFR audience member

Infographic Visits IFFR 2021

Wide virtual reach in the Netherlands and globally

Online screenings on were made available to audiences in the Netherlands. Audience representation across the Netherlands increased by 15% during IFFR 2021 – 36% of audiences were based outside of the North and South Holland provinces during the February and June festivals. Big Talks and the Freedom Lecture were available globally for free. The online edition of IFFR Pro Days (1 to 5 February) and other Pro activities were available to global industry guests, welcoming 2,004 film professionals from over 100 countries. Industry guests and audiences had the opportunity to interact with filmmakers through live Q&As.

Online innovation

IFFR worked closely with IDFA, NFF and Cinekid to develop a smart and flexible online platform to host film screenings remotely. The platform was integrated into and successfully provided audiences and industry guests with an online festival experience – offering both on demand screenings and live premieres. The platform also hosted the online edition of the IFFR Pro Days, including online CineMart spotlight sessions and the Pro programme of talks, panels and meetings. In order to connect with our audiences and industry guests, IFFR 2021 also made use of online innovations such as virtual event space, video conferencing software Zoom, organised live Q&As with filmmakers and integrated a live chat to accompany premiere screenings.

Infographic Online IFFR 2021

Engaging local audiences

IFFR has remained dedicated to engaging with a wide range of Rotterdam audiences. During the festival, IFFR organised numerous 50th Specials and art installations in Rotterdam – including augmented reality experience Tiger on the Loose and mobile installation The Werner – Guerilla Cinema. Throughout the year, IFFR engaged its audiences with film outside of the festival days by organising year-round special screenings, events and online festivals, and hosting its online streaming service IFFR Unleashed. The festival also hosts a year-round educational programme to engage younger audiences.

Audience awards

The BankGiro Loterij Audience Award, worth €5,000, is granted to the film which received the highest average rating in the audience poll following online screenings on In February, Bosnian filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić won the BankGiro Loterij Audience Award for her drama on the Srebrenica massacre Quo vadis, Aida?. Football documentary Mi chiamo Francesco Totti by Italian filmmaker Alex Infascelli was voted the winner in June.

Film Still: Quo vadis, Aida?

Film Still: Quo Vadis, Aida?

Still: Quo vadis, Aida?

Film Still: Mi chiamo Francesco Totti

Film Still: Mi chiamo Francesco Totti


In collaboration with our partner VPRO, IFFR presented Tijgers & Cowboys: Verhalen van 50 jaar IFFR – a podcast featuring the most remarkable stories from 50 past editions of IFFR.

De Volkskrantdag has been offering audiences a full-day programme of IFFR films selected by the editors of national daily newspaper de Volkskrant since 1987. This year’s edition of de Volkskrantdag took place in KINO Rotterdam and was made available online for the first time – offering a programme of three films accessible for 24 hours from Sunday 6 June. The line-up presented Quo vadis, Aida? by Jasmila Žbanić, El perro que no calla by Ana Katz and A Song for You by Dukar Tserang.