Ruben Östlund on CineMart

We will be screening The Square, the film that got filmmaker Ruben Östlund the coveted gilded branch, during the fourth edition of MASH-UP!, 3 November in Kunsthal Rotterdam. It’s a special advanced premiere, because The Square will not be screened in Dutch cinemas before a week after the event. To promote his film, Östlund was in The Netherlands, and we took the chance to ask him some questions.

Ruben Östlund is definitely no stranger to IFFR. Festival director Bero Beyer remembers meeting him for the first time, when a then much younger Östlund attended IFFR 2006 with his short film Autobiographical scene number 6882. And he left him with some words to live by: “stay contentious!”

Östlund seems to have obeyed this credo and has repeatedly visited Rotterdam with surprising, titillating, and sometimes controversial film projects. In 2007 he joined our co-production market CineMart with his second feature film Involuntary, that was later selected for IFFR 2009. That same year he attended CineMart with Play, a film that was screened at IFFR 2012. By then he was already pitching his next project Turist (Force Majeure) at CineMart, the film that screened in our 2015 programme section Limelight and won the Un Certain Regard jury prize in Cannes. In two weeks we’ll screen his latest feature film The Square, that already won the Palme d’Or and has been submitted for an Oscar.

I owe a change of practice to CineMart.” – Ruben Östlund

We sat down with Östlund and asked him what ten years of shared history has meant for his career:

He didn't have to think hard on that: he owes a whole change of practice to CineMart. "I think there’s this very strange idea that if you are a film director you should be very careful with your idea; you shouldn’t tell it to anyone, you have to keep it as a secret, otherwise the magic disappears. And I went to CineMart, where you are pitching your project to twenty different people every day, three days in a row. And it was so efficient to develop the project for myself. To communicate it verbally teached me so much about how I should do the film, direct the film and transform it into a visual expression."


"I definitely think that you should talk about your ideas, you should dare to talk about your ideas. So for me it’s really a method now, and that comes from CineMart.” – Ruben Östlund

"I think we have never gotten any money from going to CineMart and being on that pitching thing, but we have developed the project so much. And we have of course also met a lot of people that have been important for us. So it was very, very important for us in that way", Östlund concludes.

Are you curious to know what Ruben Östlund had to say about his new feature film The Square, and what it has to do with his previous film Play? We’ll show that prior to the screening of The Square, Friday 3 November during MASH-UP! 2017 in Kunsthal Rotterdam.

MASH-UP! 2017: more info and tickets

Photo in header: Beeld: Ruben Östlund in gesprek met IFFR. Tekst: Sarah Famke Oortgijsen.