The Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR), to be held from Jan 21 - Feb 1, 2004, has lined up an edgy thematic sidebar focusing on the current US political climate.

Called Homefront USA, it presents works by American filmmakers and other artists reflecting on the climate of neo-conservatism and the global role of the US.

It will also include films that explore the place of violence in today's American society (Golden Palm winner Elephant by Gus Van Sant), the tobacco industry (Bright Leaves by Ross McElwee) or speak out directly about the consequences of September 11 for the average American, as in the documentary Parallel Lines by Nina Davenport.

Meanwhile, Chilean director Raul Ruiz has been selected as the Filmmaker in Focus for IFFR's 33rd edition.

IFFR co-director Simon Field commented: "Ruiz has always been an exemplary film-maker for Rotterdam, endlessly creative and wildly imaginative. In fact he has made two films in The Netherlands, both in collaboration with the Festival."

The tribute programme will make a selection from his extensive oeuvre, threading through his career from his early years in Chile, his move into exile in France and his international production since, including the recent Ce Jour-La (That Day).

Another IFFR sidebar, called Power:Play, will focus on the growing overlap of work and play, politics and fun.