A short history of IFFR

Famously, seventeen people attended the opening night of the first Film International Rotterdam on 28 June 1972.

An initiative of the Rotterdam Arts Foundation, Film International (later: International Film Festival Rotterdam) showcased films purchased for distribution to the newly established circuit of art house cinemas in the Netherlands. A driving force, famous figurehead and inspirational director until his early death in 1988, Hubert Bals gave the festival its solid reputation of commitment to and active support of independent cinema as well as of a welcoming meeting place for filmmakers, audiences, film professionals and film critics.

Under the subsequent directorships of Anne Head (1989), Marco Müller (1990-1991), Emile Fallaux (1992-1996), Simon Field (1996-2004), Sandra den Hamer (2000-2007), Rutger Wolfson (2008-2015), Bero Beyer (2015 - 2020) and Vanja Kaludjercic (2020 - Present) IFFR grew to become one of the largest audience and industry-driven film festivals in the world, while maintaining its focus on innovative filmmaking by talented newcomers and established auteurs as well as on presenting cutting edge media art.

Want to know more about IFFR's history?

Check out the programme of the past edition

Check out our festival archive

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