WINGS OVER EUROPE
By Nick Cunningham
The festival spreads its wings across Europe this evening with the launch of IFFR Live, a partnership with Fortissimo Films, TrustNordisk, Doc & Film and KPN. Kicking off with the European premiere of Atlantic. (Jan-Willem van Ewijk), four further films will be screened simultaneously to 40 cinemas across the Netherlands and eight other European countries, as well as on VOD.
The other films are all world premieres and screen on consecutive evenings. Erbarme Dich – Matthäus Passion Stories by Dutch director Ramón Gieling is about the psychological effects of Bach’s masterwork. Melody (Bernard Bellefroid, Belgium) concerns the relationship between a surrogate mother and the woman for whom she has agreed to conceive a child. Danish Niels Arden Oplev’s Speed Walking is a bitter-sweet coming-of-age comedy about 14-year-old Martin. Distrify Media will release the films on VOD in all participating territories outside Benelux and Spain immediately after each screening. Filmin will release the films on VOD in Spain. Meanwhile Dutch director Marinus Groothof’s The Sky Above Us, which examines the lives of Belgrade citizens during the NATO bombings of 1999, will be released on VOD in the Netherlands by KPN.
"I think it is great and exciting and the whole programme is being backed financially by Creative Europe (one of whose stated aims during its 2014-2020 term is enhanced audience development)," comments festival director Rutger Wolfson. "European lawmakers are thinking very hard about what they can do to improve the climate for distribution of European films. What makes it nice is that IFFR Live is a new type of collaboration between the festival and sales agents."
Fortissimo Films’ Nelleke Driessen expressed her pride at the choice of Atlantic., for which she is handling international sales, as the IFFR Live opener, and stressed the importance of such an initiative presented in tandem with the VOD platforms. "It is new and we don’t know exactly what the results will be, but you have to take these risks," she stressed. "It is necessary."