Meet IFFR Young Selector Xiang

Rotterdam creatives Ilse Zijlmans, Sharine Rijsenburg, Xiang Yu Yeung and Boaz Schoevaars form the new IFFR Young Selectors. They take matters into their own hands by organising two film events: one before and one during the festival. From marketing to side-programming and production: these youngsters decide everything themselves! We asked them about their generation in Rotterdam, their most important IFFR moment and their plans with IFFR Young Selectors. Curious? Let’s get to know Xiang.

Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Xiang and it’s my second year as an IFFR Young Selector. With a background in Arts and Cultural Studies, I’m currently working on my thesis for the Master Media and Film Studies in Leiden. I would describe myself as a multidisciplinary visual artist, as I converge all types of visual arts such as photography, illustration and film in my work. I am seeking to experiment with several disciplines and bring these ambitions into the IFFR Young Selector programme. I actually get a lot of inspiration from my time at IFFR and am very happy to have met Boaz during this programme. We have discovered that we have some common interests such as philosophy, Rotterdam and its blooming urban communities, and we would love to combine our forces into producing a short fiction film that denotes hints of Andrei Tarkovsky with a refreshingly modern twist. 

As a Rotterdammer, what would you like to achieve with the IFFR Young Selectors collective? 
I was born and raised in Rotterdam, and I would like to combine my passion for film curation and my love for the city to raise awareness about the thriving multicultural environment. What’s wonderful about Rotterdam – speaking as someone with a bicultural background (Dutch-Chinese) – is its unique urban sphere and the possibility to build networks with its inhabitants. I really want to use my ambitions to highlight the qualities of all these vibrant groups. For instance, I have been involved in the cultural world for a while, through working in the city’s nightlife and as a photographer, and it’s amazing to see how everything is interconnected, working together, and how a lot of aspects mutually reinforce each other. 

What is your ultimate IFFR experience/film?
Since I was a kid, I have always thought the most wonderful time of the year in Rotterdam is during IFFR. There’s this explosion of film lovers, directors, producers coming from all over the world and giving such a colourful and vibrant atmosphere to the city. IFFR makes Rotterdam this surreal and magical place, where you get to meet all your film-related heroes. Actually, last year I was able to go to Jia Zhangke’s masterclass – whose films I admire – and afterwards, I got the chance to talk to him. He wished me good luck for my thesis! That was very special. You do start to wonder how this can be possible? I get to see all these directors coming from every corner of the world, walking at the Schouwburgplein. It gives this sort of tangibility to the mysterious world of film. And of course, the highlight of last year was meeting Brian Welsh, the director of the film Beats, which we screened during an IFFR Young Selector event. For us, it was so wonderful to meet someone that inspired us professionally but also personally. 

Meet IFFR Young Selector Boaz

Meet IFFR Young Selector Sharine

Meet IFFR Young Selector Ilse