Mid-way through the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), details of the first pick-ups and sales have emerged.

Ahead of next month’s European Film Market, Diederik Ebbinge’s debut feature Matterhorn (originally made for TV but re-positioned as a theatrical feature by its Benelux distributor Cineart) has been picked up for world sales by Media Luna.

Matterhorn is a world premiere in IFFR’s Bright Future section.

The tragi-comedy explores the relationship between a lonely, widowed man and the stranger who walks into his home out of nowhere. 

La Tendresse

Another film that has been drawing positive responses from critics and buyers is Marion Hansel’s road movie La Tendresse, a world premiere in IFFR’s Spectrum section.

The director revealed that Doc & Film has already taken international rights on the film, which has been pre-sold to several territories in advance of EFM in Berlin.

Axia has taken the film for Canada, Epicentre will be releasing in France and Cineart has taken Benelux rights.

La Tendresse is a romantic comedy/road movie about Lisa and Frans (Marilyne Canto and Olivier Gourmet), a divorced couple who’ve hardly seen each other for 15 years, set out by car to see their son, who has injured himself while skiing.

There was also acquisition news from Dutch distributors returning from Sundance.

Pim Herrmeling, of Wild Bunch Benelux, confirmed he had acquired Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, during his trip to Park City.

Co-pro market underway

The festival’s co-production market CineMart is now underway.

Cineart confirmed it had already boarded Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam’s new feature, Number Nine (one of the projects being being pitched in CineMart).

There are some new financiers on the scene. For example, the British Film Institute’s new £1 million minority co-production fund will go “live” in April at the start of the new financial year.

The Dutch industry received mixed messages from new Dutch Culture Minister Jet Bussemaker, on a fleeting visit to Rotterdam at the weekend.

On the one hand, Bussemaker claimed that she was supportive of the film industry and distanced herself from the previous Government (notorious for its hostility to the arts sector). On the other, she announced that she had no intention of restoring the funding for film cut by her predecessors.

“I don’t want to make steps back but I want to make step forwards,” said Bussemaker, claiming that although the cutbacks have caused “some problems,” they had also led to “new innovations”.