In the Big Screen Competition, an audience jury selects one IFFR film which deserves to be seen not only on the big screens of Dutch cinemas, but also on television. We asked the five jury members about the defining qualities they are looking for in their winning film, and what aspects they will be paying special attention to.
Berkel en Rodenrijs, age 38
I’m a real omnivore; I watch lots of films at the festival. I’m also a fervent watcher of IDFA films, as well as Movies that Matter and Camera Japan, I never miss those. My interests in terms of film are not mainstream, so a lot of what’s on offer at IFFR appeals to me.
What’s most important to me is whether a film is able to touch me, to move me – that feeling of having been on a journey when you emerge from the cinema. For me, a successful film drags me out of my comfort zone and grips me. It might leave me speechless or confused, but it will always contain one or more dilemmas, a crisis of conscience or something to think about. Good acting certainly helps, but that’s not the decisive factor. Just as long as it’s authentic and honest.
Vlaardingen, age 46
For me, watching a film is together a wondrous experience, which should contribute to the allure of 'the Big Screen'. Experiencing a film together with a bunch of other people that gives rise to something that wasn’t there before: discussing your interpretation of the film with others. Part of it is discovering different perspectives you wouldn’t come across in everyday life. I don’t always want the filmmaker to lead me by the hand; I like a certain amount of suggestion. I also pay attention to good photography and originality in any discipline. A film should enrapture you – of course, there are many areas in which it can do this!
Zevenaar, age 67
Film is everything to me – especially arthouse films. What I find important is the emotion a film evokes. Does it affect you? There are many ways it can do this: poignancy, amazement, disgust – even fury is O.K., if the filmmaker is showing a great injustice. Film should tell a story, and broaden your horizon. Of course, you also look at technical aspects and the acting. I also get a sense of the general response in the screening – are the people around me captivated, or restless? If the film or documentary stays in my thoughts for a long time afterwards, for me that’s a successful film.
Amsterdam, age 20
I’m mad about film and I love to share this passion with others. I trained as a journalist, so I find it interesting to look at films from a societal, current-affairs perspective. Although the film-lover in me also enormously enjoys films built on atmosphere, interesting camerawork and a strong script. My favourite films are films that move me, that’s what I’m really looking for: a film that really gets to me. I hope that, after I leave the cinema, a film has made a permanent impression on me. This could be in terms of its atmosphere, images, music, colours or a particular storyline. I also like it if a film teaches me something, makes me think or see the world differently. For me, the ideal winner would have a combination of these qualities, and I’d love to help bring such a film to a larger audience.
Utrecht, age 51
I really love going to the cinema. On Saturday, I regularly cycle from one cinema to another, seeing three films one after the other – I make my own mini-film festival day. I like to be surprised by films, either with a smile or a tear – whichever it is, they always make think.
It’s pretty difficult to compare films, hold them up against one another and make a judgment. What criteria should a good film at least fulfil? I will see whether each film tells a story. Does the film draw me in and make me forget everything else for a while? Does the film hold my attention right to the end? Does the film move me? Does it make me think? Is it something I immediately want to share? These are the things, for me, that make a film special. I can be moved by discovering a (new) actor or actress or their performance, by a beautifully presented background to the story or a special narrative voice, or the music that reinforces the story.