Tag Archives: Rotterdam International Film Festival

Unifrance Invades Rotterdam

LeBesco-untouchA little over a week ago I received the press release sent out by Rotterdam and Unifrance about the French films at this year’s festival and it arrived exactly a week before the Film Society of Lincoln Center‘s release about this year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, one of my favorite events on the New York film calendar. No coincidence there, just thought I’d mention them both.
One of the films I am especially hoping to catch is Benoît Jacquot‘s latest, L’intouchable, which stars Isild Le Besco. I met the extremely talented Mlle. Le Besco a few years ago when she was being escorted around town for Unifrance USA by a friend of mine, during the Tribeca Film Festival for her directorial debut, Demi-tarif. She also starred in one of my favorite films from 2004’s Rendezvous, Jacquot’s A Tout de Suite, so I am looking forward to this new film about a young woman who runs off to India in search of information about her unknown father who may, or may not, be one of the untouchables, the lowest class in the Indian caste system. Just 25 years old and Le Besco’s got over 30 films under her belt and two as a director two, Mon dieu!

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IFFR 07: A Mini Preview

pathe-rotterdam.jpgSince I Arrive in Rotterdam on Saturday for a week of films and filmmakers at one of the most hospitable festivals I travel to each year, I guess I ought to post a little bit about the program. The Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR) is one of the premiere festivals devoted to discovering new talent, especially from areas of the world that might not be thought of as traditional film powerhouses. In concert, CineMart (the IFFR’s annual co-production market) and the Hubert Bals fund (an IFFR initiative that gives “financial support to film projects from developing or southern countries”) are powerful forces in the development of truly international and independent cinema.
I urge those of you who usually skip over the IFFR by going from Sundance to Berlin to, at least once, leave the Wasatch wackos a few days early and make a trip to Rotterdam to check out the IFFR. For 12 days the fest hosts some 3,000 guests and screens 250 features and 425 shorts on 27 screens. I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I have been to some 80+ festivals (including repeats) around the world and nowhere have I found an audience as appreciative, enthusiastic and knowledgeable as in Rotterdam. “Obscure” and “experimental” are not the death sentence description for films that they are in many other festivals around the world.

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The Silly Season Begins: Rotterdam and Berlin

Many industries have a part of their calendar year that is referred to as the “silly season.” In European football it’s when the transfer windows are open in the summer and during the month of January and in the marginally independent segment of the film biz in which I find myself, it’s pretty much from January to March. In that space of time you have the Sundance, Rotterdam and Berlin film festivals, the Golden Globe Awards, the Oscar nominations and awards and the Spirit nominations and awards. Whew.

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The Meeting Of The Minds

IFFR Industry consultant Lucius Barre (center) with former IFFR co-director Simon Field (left) and Montreal Festival of New Cinema co-founder and programming director Claude Chamberlan (right) at Saturday night’s fantastic dinner for the filmmakers, hosted by the festival.
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