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Gearing up for its 46th edition, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) announced its first titles, drawing from new talent and familiar names from all over the world.

“This year, we will continue with the IFFR program set up along contextual lines, with all films presented within one of the four sections. These four sections each tell their own story and have their own character, helping festival visitors and film professionals find their way to the festival experience that best suits them”, says festival director Bero Beyer. He continues: “The great thing is that these parameters allow us to constantly go a step further. A film likeThe Woman Who Left (Lav Diaz) best fits into the Deep Focus section, while the latest Jarmusch screens in Voices. The innovation and discoveries in Bright Future are reflected by the films competing in the Hivos Tiger Competition, but also in films such as The Levelling (Hope Dickson Leach). And the themed programming in Perspectives allows us to better express how a particular theme is being translated into cinema, and how we relate to this as a festival.”

The four program sections are:

Bright Future presents young, up-and-coming talent with a unique style and vision, which enriches the cinematographic landscape with daring work. The filmmakers in this section are often making their debut on the international film stage. The festival’s flagship competition, the Hivos Tiger Competition, is part of Bright Future. This year, eight filmmakers will again compete for one Hivos Tiger Award, which comes with a cash prize of €40,000. In addition, there is a special jury award worth €10,000 for an exceptional artistic achievement within the competition. In 2017, the Bright Future Award will be presented for the second time to one of the filmmakers whose first feature film has its international premiere in this section. A cash prize of €10,000 is associated with this award.

Titles confirmed in Bright Future: the European première of Elon Doesn’t Believe in Death (Ricardo Alves Jr., Brazil), All the Cities of the North (Dane Komljen, Serbia), The Levelling (Hope Dickson Leach, United Kingdom)

Elon Doesn’t Believe in Death
Ricardo Alves Jr., Brazi, 2016 (Hubert Bals Fund 2012)
European premiere
Every day, Elon collects his wife Magdalena from work until one day when she just isn’t there. Nor is she at home. Elon decides to retrace her steps by walking the exact daily route his wife took. The search proves fruitless. The following morning, Elon goes to the police to report her missing and visits several hospitals and mortuaries. Alone, he scours Belo Horizonte hungry for hints as to his wife’s sudden disappearance.

All the Cities of the North
Dane Komljen, Serbia, 2017 (Hubert Bals Fund 2013)
Two men live harmoniously in an abandoned holiday park. They have to find a new equilibrium when a third person shows up. Essayist fiction and architectural quest for the vulnerability of human relationships, told using construction projects, landscapes and archival footage. A cinematic odyssey for the answer to the question: how can we co-exist?

The Levelling
Hope Dickson Leach, UK, 2016
After the news of her brother Harry’s death reaches her, trainee vet Clover Catto returns to the farm she grew up on in Somerset, England that was recently wrecked by flooding. Clover has to confront her difficult father Aubrey about the state of the farm and the livestock as well as relate the details of Harry’s death. As the funeral nears, Clover hits an emotional rollercoaster and gains closure with regard to her family, childhood and herself.

For its Voices section, IFFR selects films characterized by their distinctive views of the world we live in, often told by experienced filmmakers with a confident voice. For the Limelight section, IFFR works with Dutch distributors to further support the release of a selection of approximately thirty films. Eight Voices films that have their international premieres during IFFR compete for the VPRO Big Screen Award, presented by an expert audience jury. The winning film will be released in Dutch cinemas, picked up by broadcaster VPRO and shown on the NPO 2 channel. In addition, the award carries a cash prize for the filmmaker worth a total of €30,000.

Confirmed titles in Voices: the European première of the documentary Fake (Tatsuya Mori, Japan), Jackie (Pablo Larraín, United Kingdom), Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, USA), Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch, USA).

Tatsuya Mori, Japan, 2016
European premiere
Documentary about the Japanese Beethoven, as Mamoru Samuragochi was referred to in his homeland. For years he was known as one of Japan’s best composers despite the fact that he was deaf. However, after the bizarre revelation by someone that the latter had actually been writing all the music for Mamoru Samuragochi and that the composer wasn’t deaf at all, his fame collapsed and he became the laughing stock of Japan. Fake is about the scandal and the media’s role in it. Can the latter even be objective and neutral?

Pablo Larraín, UK, 2016
“I won’t let you write that down,” Jackie says to her interviewer, a slight smile playing across her face, after being too personal. However, we see it all, in this first English-language film by Chilean master Pablo Larraín, about Jackie in the days after JFK’s assassination. With the widely lauded, intense and intimate Natalie Portman in the title role.

Jim Jarmusch, USA, 2016
Adam Driver gets up at 06:00, drives his bus route, comes home at to his wife Golshifteh Farahani at 18:00, walks the dog and has a beer at his local bar. Every day. In the meantime he writes poetry. Jarmusch is the loving observer of this loving observer. A small oasis of a film.

Gimme Danger
Jim Jarmusch, USA, 2016
The contrast between the wild performances of the punks avant-la-lettre The Stooges in the 1970s and the homely tone with which indestructible lead singer Iggy Pop and his bandmates reminisce with director, friend and fanboy Jim Jarmusch. Self-deprecation and short animations keep the documentary light, yet the music rocks on with untempered raw power.

This section focuses in on cinema itself, in all its diversity, through retrospectives, masterclasses, compilation programs and a whole range of other forms of cinematic experience. Deep Focus is a space for the in-depth celebration of film art across the broadest possible spectrum. One element of Deep Focus is Regained, in which historical works – such as rediscovered classics – can receive individual attention and context.

Confirmed Deep Focus titles: the international première of Belle dormant (Adolfo Arrieta, Spain/France), Der traumhafte Weg (Angela Schanelec, Germany), The Woman Who Left (Lav Diaz, the Philippines).

Belle dormant
Adolfo Arrieta, France/Spain, 2016
International premiere
This modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty is set in the year 2000 in the fictive state of Letonia. The ‘perfect prince’ Egon who likes to spend his days playing his drum kit in a bored manner sets out, much to the chagrin of his father, to search the Kingdom of Kentz’s overgrown magic forest for Sleeping Beauty. She fell fast asleep last century after pricking herself on her spinning wheel, as foretold by the evil fairy.

Der traumhafte Weg
Angela Schanelec, Germany, 2016
Two lovers meet in 1980s Greece. They play guitar in the streets until the boy suddenly has to leave. 30 years later, they meet again in Berlin. Simultaneously, a TV actress in that city undergoes a relationship crisis that expresses itself in subtle references. She has always wanted to be someone else she says to a journalist. But now she has to make do with herself and the most intimate, quietest moments prove the most dramatic.

The Woman Who Left
Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2016
Lav Diaz studies economic injustice in the Philippines through the eyes of a woman who spent 30 years in prison after being falsely accused and convicted. Upon her release in 1997 she enters a strange new world: her husband has died, her relationship with her daughter has been saved, but she can’t find her son anywhere. This heart-breaking tale is a study of the chasm between rich and poor, past and present.

Unlike last year, the thematic programs for 2017 have been brought together into a single section. Perspectives offers space to films tackling relevant social and political themes or exploring the boundaries between visual art, music and other forms of media.

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