IFFR Pro Days

Pro Panels and Workshops 2021

The objective of the Pro Hub is to provide support and guidance for filmmakers. In these challenging times, we try to stay true to this objective and offer also in 2021 a wide range of panels and workshops online.

Monday 1 February 

Special Online Pitch Prep Workshop - 90 Minutes in the Art of Presenting

10:00 – 11:30

Also on Thursday 28 January 14:00 – 15:30

You know what your film and project is about, but do you know how to get it across?

Do you come across effectively and create the impact you want to have?

How do you earn the right to someone’s attention?

One of the key skills required to get ahead in the film industry is that of communicating in the right way. This prep-session has been specially designed to an online setting during which to sharpen your skills on how to summarize your ideas and how to communicate these concisely. Also, you will learn how to feel comfortable in front of your audience.

Pitching instructor Marjorie Bendeck will help you synthesize your content and how to communicate this clearly. Top coach Bonnie Williams will help you to gain the skills to adjust your pitch and to build your confidence.

Festival Programmers: Where Are We Now?

14:30 – 15:30 (panel) 15:30 - 16:00 (round table by pre-booking only)

The last year brought about a radical change in how festivals ran, with the unavoidable pivot to the online or hybrid festival. There was also much collective and personal soul-searching. As we gear up for another year of uncertainty with festivals, yet with a bit more perspective, how are festival programmers feeling about the future and how are they evolving their approach to programming?

Moderated by Michelle Carey (IFFR) with Cecilia Barrionuevo (Mar del Plata IFF), Kuo Ming Jung (Singapore IFF), Claire Diao (Cannes – Quinzaine de Réalisateur),  Liane Cunje (Toronto IFFR) and Sergio Fant (Berlin International Film Festival).

Tuesday 2 February

Networking Roundtable Sessions for Filmmakers

09:30 – 10:30 (by pre-booking only)

Join an exclusive networking session with specially invited guests from festivals, production companies, sales, distribution and funds. Hosted by Ludmila Cvikova, Hayet Benkara and Marika Kozlovska, this hour-long session will give you the opportunity to meet and connect with people you would normally encounter at IFFR.

Thrive & Thrive: Build and Sustain a Career as a Filmmaker

11:30 – 12:30 (panel) 12:30 - 13:00 (round table by pre-booking only)

From film festivals to funders and decision-makers, all proclaim support for new voices, but how do filmmakers sustain themselves in the long term?

How do filmmakers move from that first successful first or second feature to continue to make an impact in the long term and develop a distinctive and recognisable voice and style, how to find stories and content that connects to audiences, in an Industry often pushing new and emerging artists.

The panel will address the challenges, opportunities and conflicts faced by filmmakers through an in-depth conversation with three outstanding artists.

Moderated by Anna Bogutskaya, film programmer, broadcaster and creative producer, with filmmakers Dea Kulumbegashvili (Beginning), Julien Faraut (Les Sorcières de l’Orient) and Itonje Søimer Guttormsen (Gritt).

A Rubik’s Cube of Possibilities? Film Distribution Strategies in 2021

14:30 – 15:30 (panel) 15:30 - 16:00 (round table by pre-booking only)

An inquisitive look at current distribution practices, mainly focusing on online strategies explored by different providers who had to adapt or reinvent their model.

2020 has been a disaster for the film industry: with festivals being cancelled, film releases being delayed indefinitely and cinemas having been closed for most of the year, distributors and filmmakers had to explore new paths to reach their audience. In this panel, we assess the current situation and take a look at how some key players have been able to find a way forward, bringing together producers, festivals, SVOD services and theatrical distributors.

Moderated by Louis Balsan with producer Mynette Louie (The Population), Wendy Lidell (Kino Lorber), Jovan Marjanović (Sarajevo Film Festival) and Eve Gabereau (Modern Films).

Wednesday 3 February

Pitch Out! – Exclusive Online Feedback Edition

09:30 – 11:00

Pitch your project or finished film to funds, producers, buyers, sales agents, festivals & markets and receive constructive feedback on the content and its viability from top professionals in a supportive environment. 8 specially invited Industry professionals will give personal, one-on-one feedback to the participants of the Pitch workshops.

Moderated by Marjorie Bendeck and Bonnie Williams, with guests tba.

A Way Forward? New Perspectives on the Challenges (and Opportunities) of Producing Film in the Time of Covid

10:00 – 11:00

After the first worldwide lockdown in early 2020, production of art-house films resumed in most countries and producers took on new projects even more vigorously. Applications to funds and co-production markets increased and in spite of logistical difficulties around production in the midst of the pandemic and the uncertainties surrounding distribution and festivals, the future seems to offer more opportunities than might be expected. In this panel, we assess the past months and how producers have shown a resilient spirit that points a way forward.

Moderator Gabrielle Dumon (The Bureau), with Sales Agent Jean-Christophe Simon (Films Boutique) Adrià Monés Murlans (Fasten Films), Floor Onrust (Family Affair Films), Meiske Taurisia (Palari Films) and Helen Curston (Production Guild of Great Britain) and further guests to be announced.

Scaling the Dizzy Heights of the Digital Film Market: 90 Minutes of Strategies and Survival Skills

11:30 – 12:30 (panel) 12:30 - 13:00 (round table by pre-booking only)

This interactive and specially designed workshop will lay out the principles and tricks on how to access the international film market and apply savvy marketing strategies for emerging filmmakers. Common access to markets changed in 2020, switching most of film industry activities to online. How to adapt filmmakers’ international strategy to this new setting, what kind of market events are coming up and how to make the best of?

The workshop will be led by Marika Kozlovska, strategic market consultant, researcher and trainer, longstanding collaborator of Cinema Do Brasil and who has led training sessions at Rotterdam Lab, Berlinale Talents, Mica Meetings, Plot Lab, Next Wave, Swiss Talent Day .

Framing the Future

14:30 – 15:30 (panel) 15:30 - 16:00 (round table by pre-booking only)

The worldwide pandemic and all it caused since the start has, on one hand, accelerated various issues that needed to be tackled in the modus operandi of the film business. On the other, it has seen innovation and a more holistic approach across the different disciplines and businesses that have successfully adapted to current circumstances. Almost a year into the pandemic it is likely that some of these adaptations and innovations are here to stay. How could the future be shaped, with the knowledge raised in the past 12 months, according to these companies and institutes that adapted so well and sometimes even grew despite the difficult situation?

Moderated by Mia Bays (Birds’ Eye View Film) with Elias Ribeiro (Urucu Media/Indaba) and Nicholas Kaiser (La Cinefacture).

Networking Roundtable Sessions for Filmmakers

17:00 – 18:00 (by pre-booking only)

Join an exclusive networking session with specially invited guests from festivals, production companies, sales, distribution and funds. Hosted by Ludmila Cvikova, Hayet Benkara and Kathleen McInnis, this hour-long session will give you the opportunity to meet and connect with people you would normally encounter at IFFR.

Thursday 4 February

Reality Check: Telling a Different Story

11:30 – 12:15 (panel) 12:15 - 13:30 (round table on invitation only)

How can the industry better support a storyteller from the inception of an idea through reaching an audience, whether they are working in shorts or feature films, a VR/XR work, web series, multimedia installation or anything in between? How can the whole ecosystem – including festivals, markets, funders, distributors and exhibitors -- better prepare for a plurality of voices and support fresh storytelling across all formats, without confining them to preconceived notions and existing structures?

Moderated by co-curator of IFFR Reality Check Wendy Mitchell with writer, director and producer of immersive works, Gayatri Paramerswaran (Nowhere Media), Kay Meseberg (Head of Mission Innovation at ARTE), Marie Logie (Auguste Orts) and Caspar Sonnen (Head of New Media at IDFA)

Nourish & Nurture: Creating a healthy (VR) ecosystem

14:30 – 15:30 (panel) 15:30 - 16:00 (round table by pre-booking only)

This panel will explore how three countries in three different continents created a healthy VR bubble. While in most countries virtual reality seems to be stuck in the future in others big leaps are being made. How have countries like Canada, Luxembourg and Taiwan created a potent VR ecosystem which results in an abundance of immersive creations.

Moderated by Arvore’s Doede Holtkamp, who recently won an Emmy (Outstanding innovation in interactive media) for the fantastical story ‘The Line’, will dive into a conversation with well-known Taiwanese VR/ filmmaker John Hsu who has premiered over 10 films at IFFR and started working with VR in  in My Spiritual Temple Sucks and The Great Hoax, award winning Canadian creator Sandra Rodriguez who premiered Chomsky vs. Chomsky at Sundance 2020 which explores the sparks that fly at when AI meets human creativity. Also at the table is producer Marion Guth co-founder of the Luxembourg based company a_BAHN who have created VR successes as AYAHUASCA and Cosmos Within Us.

Friday 5 February

Meet the Hubert Bals Fund

10:00 – 11:00/ 17:00 – 18:00

Interested in applying to the Hubert Bals Fund? Find out all you need to know in this round table session with representatives of the fund and learn about the different funding opportunities, requirements and how to submit the right application.

Reality Check: Funding Our Inclusive Future

11:30 – 12:15 (panel) 12:15 - 13:30 (round table on invitation only)

How are Europe’s public and private funders looking to a more inclusive future? As the industry evolves to better reflect a diverse society and a diverse community of storytellers, how can we affect change within a complex infrastructure that will ultimately prove fundamental, lasting and sustainable? How can we tackle the challenges that are still preventing underrepresented voices from being fully included in the conversations?

Moderated by Victoria Thomas (Polkadot Factory), with Miranda Wayland (Head of Creative Diversity at the BBC), director Shamira Raphaëla, Executive Director of Eurimages Roberto Olla and Media and Entertainment banker Elisa Alvares.


  • Nikolas Montaldi

    IFFR Pro Hub Coordinator