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IFFR Pro Hub’s Nikolas Montaldi outlined yesterday how De Doelen 4th floor activities will be in even fuller swing during IFFR 2018. A fifth one-to-one mentor to advise new fledgling talent and the addition of three pitch sessions will facilitate young filmmakers.

He also pointed out how the 5-day event (formerly named Film Office) is more oriented towards the overall IFFR desire to holistically prepare filmmakers for a long and sustainable career in the industry by addressing additional industry topics of concern during this year’s panel presentations. Every year’s new crop of filmmakers and producers with films in selection determines that certain panel discussions will always be on the agenda, such as an assessment of how to make the most of a film festival or the working relationship between director and producer. This year, however, introduces new panel discussions.

  • Nikolas Montaldi at the IFFR PRO Hub

On Monday 29 January, Mathias Noschis (Alphapanda) will present practical case studies to offer insights into social media marketing at different stages of the life of a film (11.00-12.30).

Also on Monday is the Demystifying the Talent Agent Paradigm panel (14.00-15.30) with Vanessa Henneman (Henneman Agency) and Nick Shumaker and Mikey Schwartz Wright (both of United Talent Agency) discussing the practicalities of being an agent and the working relationship with their Talent.

On Tuesday, new Pro Hub mentor Kathleen McInnis will share practical and transformative tips to move you out of the creative and into the world of marketing to make your film's journey a more fruitful one (How to Deliver Your Film and Get a Jump Start to Your Career (10.30-11.30).

IFFR Pro Hub panels 2018

All pitching and panels at the IFFR Pro Hub


"The feedback every year is great. We have always had these panels, but this year we really tried to structure towards a more educational approach whereby filmmakers can learn something directly from experienced professionals in the industry. A lot of the filmmakers are here with their first or second feature. They are pretty much straight out of film school," stresses Montaldi. "And these events are directed specifically towards them. The idea of the Pro Hub is to link the festival with the filmmakers as well as to CineMart, the Rotterdam Lab and all of the business and industry activities that are taking place here."

Overall the Pro Hub panels are now also part of the wider TALKS and Masterclasses programme that is being offered by IFFR this year, catering towards different interests and expectations and levels of engagement.

Three new pitch sessions (starting Saturday 27 January) address the art of (and preparation needed for) pitching both to sales agents/festivals and to funds/markets. There will be an open mic session for 5-minute project pitches, with industry feedback to follow (Monday 16.00-17.30).

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The five mentors will advise 250 new talents on all aspects of their projects, both creatively and in terms of their exploitation, as well on the individuals’ career trajectories. “That is a lot of meetings and, yes, it can be an exhausting process, but stimulating nevertheless for all concerned.”

"We give them a very clear idea about how the fest works, and maybe their next project will be submitted to CineMart or to HBF, and of course they learn about the whole structure of the film industry and who to approach with their next films or projects," Montaldi added.

"We start our yearly activities in the autumn, when the films start to get selected but the main activity of the hub is really during the festival. Of course the filmmakers will be tracked in different ways also within the VOD Platform of IFFR, if they wish to present their film there, or if they submit a future project to the Hubert Bals Fund or to CineMart."

"Pro Hub is a place where filmmakers can begin to communicate throughout the year. That is the way that IFFR has always worked. In the past we have seen how filmmakers have met future producers or cinematographers or actors here and made their next films together. It is very pleasing to know that IFFR has been part of that creative process."

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Pitch Your Film

At the end of Saturday's "Pitch your Film to Sales and Festival" panel, Pro Hub guru Hayet Benkara offered the following advice and encouragement to young filmmakers setting out on their new career.

"There is no recipe, we can advise you in many ways, but there is a high chance that it will not happen the way we told you it would happen. So be open, you are visual artists and creators who are very in tune with the world. There are things that you pick up on that we don't pick up on. So listen to yourselves. Very often you have the answers. Don't always look for the answers outside. We can be a mirror, we can be an echo. Hopefully you will hear what you want to hear."

"But ultimately it is your baby. And if you are new to this world of the film industry, start to look for your family. Build your family. Start to look for people that you get along with, people that really support you and love your films no matter what, and stick with these people. You don't need 50 people around you, just three or four that you trust 150%. They will tell you when they like [what you do] and when they don’t like it. They will support you no matter how terrible you feel, because it is hard.

"But look, we are a very big family and I am sure you will find your friends."