IFFR 2019: the highlights, the winners and more

This year the festival’s motto was 'feel IFFR', so this begs the question: how does it feel now the 48th edition is over? Well. The audience are probably a little tired, but hopefully mainly content, inspired, surprised … We are happy and proud of the 500+ films - including 146 (festival) world premieres – that attracted packed audiences.

We welcomed some 327,000 visits, 2,400 film professionals and rolled out the red carpet for 337 directors. Among them, many young talents, because IFFR focuses on the new, rebellious generation of filmmakers, often screening their first or second film. However, we also welcomed big names and recognised masters such as Claire Denis, Carlos Reygadas and Jia Zhangke. Those who wish to know more about the backgrounds of idiosyncratic science fiction film High Life, the uncompromising lyricism of Nuestro tiempo, the rise of Chinese independent cinema and the creation of social epic Ash Is Purest White can watch these and other IFFR masterclasses and video interviews here on

Naturally, there were prizes to award at the festival. The winners demonstrated a desire for new forms of cinema. Zhu Shengze won the Tiger Award with her Present.Perfect., a film that – according to the jury – “takes audiences to places we’ve never been” and which “expands the cinema’s language with new grammar”. Take Me Somewhere Nice by the Dutch Ena Sendijarević won the Special Jury Award for “portraying a journey with a unique and exacting personal vision”. Aya Koretzky’s A volta ao mundo quando tinhas 30 anos won the Bright Future Award, Anna Eborns Transnistra won the VPRO Big Screen Award, and Nadine Labaki’s Capharnaüm won the BankGiro Loterij Audience Award. Finally, a celebration of the power of short film in the Ammodo Tiger Short Competition. We presented three equal prizes to Wong Ping's Fables 1 by Wong Ping, Ultramarine by Vincent Meessen, and Freedom of Movement by Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sanim, all of which take home the Ammodo Tiger Short Award.

Click here for an overview of all the winners and jury reports

  • Festival director Bero Beyer at the IFFR Opening Night

  • ©Melle Meivogel

IFFR is more than just film: there were discussions, debates, parties and dancing. The latter was brought by the provocative filmmaker Gaspar Noé and the dancers from his latest work Climax. Nina McNeely who choreographed the film in her avant-garde style invited our audience to join her for a wild and gender-neutral dance workshop.There was also plenty of space for contemplation, for instance in the Perspective programmes such as Soul in the Eye and Rabbit Hole. Cinematic art once again held pride of place. Art in all its guises, from magic lantern performances, a new project by French artist Philippe Parreno for the cinema space - with 3D elements and live music by the famous pianist Mikhail Rudy, the presentation of Jean-Luc Godard's new film Le livre d'image in the specially designed and intimate setting that the maker himself envisioned, the Blackout slide show at the Kunsthal, and the exhibition Temple of Cinema #1: Sayat Nova Outtakes at the Arminius featuring wonderful, unused material from Sergei Parajanov’s masterpiece The Color of Pomegranates. The restored version of which can now be watched exclusively on IFFR Unleashed.

Watch The Color of Pomegranates on IFFR Unleashed

The festival that opened with the world premiere of Dirty God by Sacha Polak and ended with Kim Nguyen's The Hummingbird Project is over, but not quite. Because IFFR continues. On Wednesday 6 March 2019 we kick off the 21st edition of IFFR KINO, before then you can bring the festival into your own home thanks to our new cooperation with MUBI. For 30 days,  will be playing the Brazilian Tiger Competition selection No coração do mundo by Gabriel Martins and Maurílio Martins which had its world premiere at the festival, as well as three festival greats from IFFR’s previous edition. Finally, throughout the year provides a treasure trove of reports and interviews: things to read and view that you probably didn’t have time for during the festival!

So how does IFFR feel?

Bustling, energetic, exciting, intriguing, stimulating and tireless. And you can continue to experience all that until the next edition comes around again. So put it in your calendar: the 49th edition of International Film Festival Rotterdam will be held from Wednesday 22 January to Sunday 2 February 2020.