When school’s out, IFFR starts

For thousands of schoolchildren, a day at IFFR is the coolest field trip of the year. But also the students in secondary school or university love to come here to swap the black board for the silver screen. Even their teachers find a lot of inspiration at IFFR.

When you look at the number of visitors, IFFR’s educational branch is huge, but most of the activities are invisible for the average festivalgoer. Who would suspect that IFFR draws in approximately 15.000 schoolchildren and on top of that thousands of students from a wide range of colleges, universities and art institutes? Why is education such an important mission for IFFR? Renske Gasper, education coordinator: “We want to show the whole wide world of cinema, and introduce young people to other stories, other makers, other expressions than the ones they normally consume.”

This year, the education target audience has been broadened downwards: for the first time there is a shorts-programme for the really small ones, ages 4 to 6. This matches our ambition to reach all the elementary schools in Rotterdam – the reason why both the programme and bus transportation are offered for free.

Film makers are present
Obviously, the kids will have no interest in the latest Paul Thomas Anderson flick, a Korean action movie or a poetic meditation in black and white. What they do get are tailor-made movies. “We show the kids short films, with an IFFR-identity, selected on quality and target group. Secondary schoolchildren watch movies from the regular programme. We offer context through specially designed teaching materials and via the film makers, who are present during the screenings. It is also important that we give the new generation a taste of the festival experience, not just by letting them watch movies. The Old Luxor is filled to the brim with school classes and directors on stage discussing things with them: it is really festive and it offers the well-known festival dynamics”, says Gasper.

Some of the educational activities can be found in the regular programme. Children can drag their parents along for a change, in Family Short. Student Talks and the Erasmus Tiger Colleges are designed in such a way that everyone, young and old, can attend. And because you’re never to old to learn – even when you teach yourself – there are a couple of events especially for teachers. As part of the mbo-class Citizenhood and Civic Studies, teachers meet the main character from the documentary Latifa, le coeur au combat. “She lost her son in 2012 after a terrorist attack. Ever since she fiercely engages in conversation with young people about anti-radicalism and anti-hate. Latifa is an inspirer who can give teachers the tools to reach youngsters in a difficult situation.”

You can find the entire selection at