International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has unveiled details of its industry-focused symposium, Reality Check, which this year will aim to unpack the future of film festivals.
Taking place on January 29, the invite-only, closed symposium will aim to provide a space for film festival and market professionals to discuss how festivals can organise themselves and collaborate with one another in an ever-evolving industry landscape.
The results of Reality Check will be shared the following day (January 30) at IFFR Pro Dialogue, open to all industry, press and student accredited guests.
Reality Check was launched at IFFR 2018 as the festival’s platform to reflect on and discuss issues in the film industry. Previous topics include distribution, development, new media and storytelling and funding.
It is led by a steering committee, made up of international producer and sales agent Rosa Bosch, who is also a former deputy director of the BFI London Film Festival; Giovanna Fulvi, senior programmer at Toronto and Rome; Mike Goodridge, the London-based producer who has worked with festivals including Macao and Sarajevo; and Carl Spence, former director of the Seattle International Film Festival and current co-director and chief curator of the Orcas Island Film Festival and the artistic director of the Sonoma International Film Festival. Industry consultant Esther Bannenberg also serves on the committee.
A joint statement from the steering group said: “The genesis of this event happened during the pandemic as we were watching the operation and role of film festivals disrupted to the core. We issued a questionnaire to leading film festivals worldwide, entitled ’Quo Vadis Film Festivals’ for which we received over 40 replies from festivals of all sizes. We look forward to a day of interrogating the provocative results of the questionnaire as we assess the post-Covid status of the film culture called film festivals.”
Festival director Vanja Kaludjercic added: “IFFR 2023 marks my first full and on-site edition as festival director. Although this is certainly cause for celebration, we cannot escape the challenges of the past two years amid the difficulties of the pandemic. This begs the question, do we simply cross our fingers and hope things return to how they were, or can we organise and work together for a sustainable future for our sector? This will be the central theme of this year’s industry conference during IFFR, which I’m tremendously happy to welcome back at IFFR 2023.”
IFFR Pro 2023
As well as the results of Reality Check, the IFFR Pro Dialogue will feature a session in collaboration with ACE Producers on international co-productions, exploring how power dynamics shape creative control.
A series of discussions, workshops and roundtables will take place throughout the festival in the IFFR’s Pro Hub – the meeting place for the whole film community at the festival.
As previously announced, the festival’s co-production market CineMart will present 25 projects in development for its 40th edition, made up of 20 features and five immersive projects, as well as work-in-progress screenings of former CineMart and Hubert Bals Fund-backed projects.
IFFR’s Talent initiatives for 2023 include Rotterdam Lab which, alongside the more than 70 emerging producers attending as part of the new cohort, will welcome select alumni from the two previous online editions. Creative Producer Indaba will welcome 15 producers from, or working with, the African continent; and eight feature projects are taking part in BoostNL, a five-month programme that kicked off in September at the Netherlands Film Festival.