In the Big Screen Competition, an audience jury decide which of the eight nominated films will win the VPRO Big Screen Award. The film chosen will then receive a theatrical release in the Netherlands and will be broadcast on VPRO television. In addition, the winning filmmaker gets a €30,000 cash prize.
As a 17-year-old in 2007, I was privileged to take part in the youth jury for the IFFR MovieSquad Award. It was great to experience the festival from the inside – I look back on it as one of the best experiences of my life. Since then, my love for IFFR has only grown – every year I really enjoy seeing dozens of films. I would love to experience being on a jury again, this time for the VPRO Big Screen Award. Also, I hope that I will be able to make a contribution to the jury as a psychology specialist. In my assessment, I will look particularly at the emotions the film releases. Does the film really get under your skin, or have you already forgotten it as soon as the lights come on again? The film that stays in my head long after the festival is the one I will recommend to others and that deserves a large audience.
Favourite films: The Last Family, King of the Belgians, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, American Honey, 20th Century Women.
Mees van Rooij
I have seen many films at IFFR over the years: I have been a driver for the festival car service and have often attended the festival as a visitor. As a festival driver, I heard all kinds of backgrounds and opinions from all kinds of film professionals and cinema visitors. I always used the film descriptions when making my choices, and usually saw more than ten films. It was difficult to get to the right cinema in time. But it’s still a wonderful way to relax. What I will look out for as a member of the jury is the structure of the narrative, the relationship of the events to the bigger picture, whether the characters are in balance, the tempo, the harmony of colours used, the conviction in the acting and the use of different shots. I used to be very quick to give an opinion on the quality of films, but now I have become a little more subtle. What I like most is when I come out of the cinema but can still feel the atmosphere of the film for a while. My opinion will probably not be the deciding factor and it’s not really relevant, but to feel whether an opinion you have given can be decisive does give a kind of satisfaction.
Favourite films: Loveless, Tulip Fever, Un sac de billes, Tulipana, Demain tout commence.
Mirjam van den Brink
I like to see (almost) all arthouse films that come out. Of course I don’t always manage to see everything, but I try to see as much as possible. Films I really like, I will go and watch a second (or even third) time. I visit an arthouse cinema every week. The deeper I go into the film world, the more films I want to see. And the more interesting it gets. Watching films is becoming a real passion. I kicked myself last year when I had booked a few days holiday and so wasn’t able to take part in the VPRO Big Screen Award IFFR. But that makes it all the better to be here this year. When assessing the films, I pay attention to the narrative (what is the director trying to say in the film?), the social and historical context, the mise-en-scène and the music (does it serve the whole?). Generally, I find it more difficult to judge the camerawork and perspective, and the editing. I try to guess during the very first scene what the content of the film could be. Is it a film that will appeal mainly to people who watch VPRO TV? What is the added value for me personally of this film being shown?
Favourite films: Loveless, Verdwijnen, Cargo, Bram Fischer, Una mujer fantastica.
I’m a film fan and for me, every year IFFR is a great holiday, where I work as a Spanish interpreter. I particularly like a good plot, drama and maybe a message. Is the storyline exciting, convincing, does it grip you? Are cause and effect believable, original, moving? There are certain rules that most films follow and usually these rules are very useful: introduction, plot point, pinch, climax, conclusion. But it can be even better if the film disregards these rules, and the film still manages to fascinate – it’s very a difficult trick to pull off. Festivals like Rotterdam are the place for these kinds of films. I’m also mad about drama: what moves a character to do something – or not to do something? Are the characters human enough? Do they have interesting vulnerabilities? I don’t come to IFFR for tough guys (or the – far too few – tough girls) who do everything right. If the film has a message, so much the better. I trained as a journalist but a lot of things in real life are filmed with great dialogues, close-ups and pans. If you get too critical, the government and big business will put you in your place, using the law if necessary. I sometimes really like films that point out injustice.
Favourite films: Blade Runner 2049, The Square, Kleine IJstijd, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Le Fidèle.
I worked as a volunteer at IFFR for eight years, and for three years at the Iranian Film Festival. As a teenager in Iran I got to know the films of Kiarostami, Makhmalbaf and Majidi from an early age. This was the beginning of my love for cinema. I like films that tackle social issues. These inspire and move me! They take me to unknown places and faraway cultures. I love to go to the cinema, as often as possible, and am able to tell good films from bad. I like to stick around and discuss the films I have seen. When making my assessment, I focus mainly on how the topic has been represented visually. I also pay particular attention to how the narrative is structured and what form of storytelling has been used. I also look at the extent to which the film challenges me as a viewer.
Favourite films: I am not your Negro, Poesia Sin Fin, The salesman, Until the birds return, Donkeyote.
Jasper, Nazanin, Tessa, Mees and Miriam will enjoy watching the films during the festival before choosing their favourite and presenting the award to the winning filmmaker