The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is planning two special programmes for its 2009 edition: Hungry Ghosts, devoted to Asian horror; and Size Matters, about the omnipresence of multiple screens in the post-cinema age.

The festival's director Rutger Wolfson, confirmed in March for a four-year term after a temporary helming of the festival in 2008, unveiled the plans here in Toronto ahead of a IFFR cocktail reception this evening.

Hungry Ghosts will be programmed by Gertjan Zuilhof. 'We want to have a programme where we show the interesting developments in the genre and also the context,' Wolfson said. 'We in the West don't always fully grasp these Asian horror films because there's not that same belief in ghosts.'

That programme will run a Haunted House exhibition that will recruit Asian directors and set designers to create a destination that's a cross between a fun fair and high art. The programme has yet to be finalised but one early selection is Ekachai Uekrongtham's Thai horror The Coffin.

Size Matters, Wolfson says, will explore 'what works on what screens,' from content for mobile phones to giant projections of shorts. 'There are so many screenings in public spaces but there's so little experimentation with the content,' he notes.

Meanwhile, Rotterdam is appointing a new business director, Patrick Van Mil, who formerly worked at the Filmmuseum Amsterdam and Netherlands Architecture Institute. He takes his post from September 15.

In other Rotterdam news, the Hubert Bals Fund is awaiting an end-of-year evaluation from the Minister Of Foreign Affairs to see if its $850,000 (Euros 600,000) funding will continue or not - Wolfson admitted they were concerned of the outcome because 'it looks like [the Ministry] will have a slight change of policy towards more economic development over cultural development.'

A total of 22 Bals Fund films are screening in Toronto and Venice, with Teza, Paper Soldier and Inland all winning awards in Venice.

The co-production market CineMart expects more than 500 projects to be submitted by the October 1 deadline and will have to be more strict to whittle the selections down to a slightly tighter 35. CineMart manager Marit van den Elshout said that this year's CineMart projects would be more cleary defined as 'market-ready projects' from more established directors or other projects from up-and-coming first and second feature directors.

IFFR runs Jan 21-Feb 1.