Please Welcome: This is where reconstruction starts

The theme for the city of Rotterdam in 2016 is Rotterdam Celebrates the City! – inspired by 75 years of reconstruction. As part of this programme, International Film Festival Rotterdam presents the project This Is Where Reconstruction Starts. Six young, leading international filmmakers were asked to make a short fiction or creative essay film that takes the theme of post-war reconstruction as its inspiration. These films will premiere during IFFR 2016.

"This is an extremely topical theme: in a society that is constantly in flux, it is important that we take a good look at ourselves, how we treat others and how we can build a society together. These projects bring together ideas that concern reconstruction in surprising ways; the ability of cities and people to constantly renew," according to IFFR festival director Bero Beyer.

The starting point for the short films is Rotterdam as a crossroads for many different cultures. Four international filmmakers will each tell a story of (young) people about to complete one phase of their lives and embark upon a new one. The following filmmakers have boarded the project: Daniel Aragão from Brazil (I Swear I'll Leave This Town); Ying Liang from China (When Night Falls); Mira Fornay from Slovakia (My Dog Killer); Yassine El Idrissi from Morocco (The Iranian Film).

Two Dutch filmmakers, Guido van Driel (The Resurrection of a Bastard) and Aboozar Amini (KabulTehranKabul), will both make films from the opposite perspective, starting at the moment of arrival of people who have left their homes to start anew somewhere else – and help shape the future of that city.

This programme is part of Rotterdam Celebrates the City!. See for a complete list rotterdamcelebratesthecity.nlThis is Where Reconstruction Starts is produced by IFFR in coproduction with Smarthouse Films and in cooperation with Warnier/Posta and Haghe Film. 

The six films

  • Gardeners by Mira Fornay. Gardeners is about the trials and tribulations of an African asylum seeker in Europe. With an exceptional use of colour and unothodox soundtrack this silent film conjures up an extremely dark impression of the main character’s life. A story of compassion for those who left hearth and home in search of a new homeland.
  • Where is Kurdistan? by Aboozar Amini. Where is Kurdistan? is one of the most important questions of this century. Dawood came from Afghanistan to Rotterdam. The loss of identity, he compensates by listening to Damboora music. He hears it everywhere. Berxwedane is a young Kurdish musician who plays his instrument on the street. It's the only thing he still owns from his lost land. Where music usually brings people together, here it leads to misunderstandings between the two displaced persons. 
  • Honey and Old Cheese by Yassine El Idrissi. Hasan (17) prepares for departure from his mountain village in Morocco. He goes to his father in the Netherlands. But how do you get back home, and what do you take? 
  • This Is Not A Song of Hope by Daniel Aragão. Tropical Recife. A Dutch architect is there to study colonial past - or is she looking for erotic freedom? An ambitious actress who can offer more professional opportunities than Recife will offer. A respected musician who revels in melancholy self-flagellation and hatred for the city he can not do without. A tragic love triangle of romantic young people. 
  • Mosaic by Guido van Driel. Mutual incomprehension reigns as three immigrants working on a tile floor in a Dutch house. A look at the past life of one of the three builds a bridge between them. 
  • Sunny Day by Ying Liang: Hong Kong, at the height of the protests. A young woman visits her father, Whom she hasnt seen for a while. Her plan was to have lunch with him before the Umbrella Movement Reaches a critical juncture. Celebrated, committed filmmaker Ying Liang contributed with a beautiful moving short with an special angle asking: Where do we live, and what is citizenship?