One of the first film festivals of the 2019 calendar is the International Film Festival Rotterdam. This annual event is regarded as one of the most important festivals in the world.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam, also known as the IFFR, showcases a wide variety of fiction feature films, documentaries, short films, and media art. The festival also focuses on experimental works by both talented young directors and established directors.

The IFFR believes in the power of cinema to improve people’s understanding of the world around them and other cultures and viewpoints.

Together with the world’s most famous film events, such as the Cannes Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, and Venice Film Festival, the IFFR is one of the largest European film festivals. As such, the festival receives thousands of film submissions each year.

These films are carefully curated and showcased during the festival’s Official Selection.

International Film Festival Rotterdam: An Introduction

The IFFR is held each year in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands.

The festival’s screenings and events are held in various locations throughout Rotterdam. The main screening venue of the IFFR is the Pathe cinema at Schouwburgplein, which is home to the largest screen in the Netherlands.

Other popular locations where the International Film Festival Rotterdam is held include the De Doelen, the Cinerama, the Old Luxor Theater, the WORM, the Rotterdamse Schouwburg, the Lantaren Venster, and many more.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam has obtained the support of both the Dutch government and the local government of Rotterdam.

Aside from this government assistance, the IFFR has collaborated with both private institutions, such as the United Foundation, BankGiro Loterij, de Volkskrant, vfonds, Gigtech, Jean Mineur Mediavision, NL Film Fonds, Film Techniek, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, and many more.

The 2019 Festival

The International Film Festival Rotterdam continues on its mission to promote independent and experimental films as it celebrates its 48th anniversary this year.

The 2019 festival will kick-off with a film and dance party at the Grote Zaal of Theater Rotterdam Schouwburg.

Among the works included in this year’s programme are: Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Bi Gan, Memories of my Body by Garin Nugroho, Le livre d’image by Jean-Luc Godard, The Beast in the Jungle by Clara van Gool, Ash is Purest White by Jia Zhangke, Tel Aviv on Fire by Sameh Zoabi, and Nos vies formidables by Fabienne Godet.

The IFFR will conduct its Masterclasses featuring famous film personalities Alfredo Jaar, Lucrecia Martel, and Paul Schrader. The festival will conclude with a film screening and party at the Grote Zaal in De Doelen.

The History of IFFR

The International Film Festival Rotterdam was established in 1972 and has been a major film festival dedicated to independent and experimental filmmaking ever since. The first festival was called Film International and was led and founded by Huub Bals. The festival’s Tiger logo was inspired by the famous M.G.M. Lion.

In 1983, the IFFR established CineMart as a film market to aid with film distribution. It has evolved into a co-production market dedicated to introducing the films of talented filmmakers to producers and distribution companies.

In 1988, the festival created the Hubert Bals Fund to aid filmmakers to get their visions up on the silver screen. The fund is dedicated to the memory of the festival’s founder, Hubert Bals, sudden passing.

In 1995, the first Vrijzinnig Protestantse Radio Omroep (VPRO) Tiger Awards were given out. Three annual prizes are presented to aspiring filmmakers for exceptional work as their first or second film.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam saw the following change in festival directors: Anne Head (1989), Marco Muller (1990-1991), Simon Field, previous Cinema Director at the London Institute of Contemporary Arts (1996), Sandra den Hamer (2004), Ruger Wolfson(2007-2015), and Bero Beyer (2015-present).

IFFR Festival Director

Film Sections, Awards, and Past Winners

The films received by the International Film Festival Rotterdam are categorized into the following sections:

  • Bright Future- This program is dedicated young and aspiring filmmakers.
  • Voices- This section consists of films with creative and moving stories, unique characters, appealing subjects, and significant themes.
  • Deep Focus- This program delves deeper into contemporary filmmaking with retrospectives, compilations, master classes, originals, and other formats.
  • Perspectives- This film section features the important political and social issues examined though cinema.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam presented the following awards to these most recent winners.

  • The Tiger Award

2018- The Widowed Witch by Cai Chengjie

2017- Sexy Durga by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

2016- Radio Dreams by Babak Jalali

  • Special Jury Award

2018- The Reports on Sarah and Saleem by Rami Alayan

2017- Rey by Niles Atallah

2016- La ultima tierra by Pablo Lamar

  • The Ammodo Tiger Short Award

2018- Mountain Plain Mountain by Araki Yu and Daniel Jacoby

2017- Rubber Coated Steel by Lawrence Abu Hamdan

2016- Engram of Returning by Daichi Saito

  • The Bright Future Award

2018- Azougue Nazare by Tiago Melo

2017- Mes nuits feront echo by Sophie Goyette

2016- Las Lindas by Melisa Liebenthal

  • The Big Screen Award

2018- Nina by Olga Chajdas

2017- Pop Aye by Kirsten Tan

2016- Les ogres by Lea Fehner

  • BankGiro Loterij Audience Award

2018- The Guilty by Gustav Moller

2017- Moonlight by Barry Jenkins

2016- Land of Mine by Martin Zandvliet

  • Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award

2018- The Reports on Sarah and Saleem by Rami Alayan

2017- La Flor (part 1) by Mariano Llinas

2016- El abrazo de la serpiente by Ciro Guerra

  • IFFR Youth Jury Award

2018- The Guilty by Gustav Moller

2017- Quality Time by Daan Bakker

2016- Land of Mine by Martin Zandvliet

  • FIPRESCI Award

2018- Balekempa by Ere Gowda

2017- Pela janela by Caroline Leone

2016- Bodkin Ras by Kaweh Modiri

  • NETPAC Award

2018- Nervous Translation by Shireen Seno

2017- Children are Not Afraid of Death, Children are Afraid of Ghosts by Rong Guang Rong

2016- The Plague at the Karatas Village by Adilkhan Yerzhanov

  • KNF Award

2018- Zama by Lucrecia Martel

2017- King of the Belgians by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth

2016- De waarneming by Frank Scheffer

  • Voices Short Audience Award

2018- Joy in People by Oscar Hudson

  • Found Footage Award

2018- Newsreel 63- The Train of Shadows by Nika Autor

How to Enter Your Film

All film submissions are done through IFFR’s official website at

All relevant information pertaining to film entry regulations, competitions, submission guidelines and materials, film selection, shipping of prints and videos of selected films are available on the official website.

The call for entries for the 2019 festival concluded on July 15, 2018.

For all other information about the festival’s program, highlights and history, and many more, you could visit

The International Film Festival Rotterdam will run from January 23, 2019, until February 3, 2019.

CineMart Awards

  • Arte International Prize 2018
  • Eurimages Award
  • Wouter Barendrecht Award
  • Filmmore Post-Production Award
  • Dutch Post-Production Award


Subscribe Us –