Today is the fourth day of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), which started on the first of February and will continue until the seventh. This year despite the current situation, the festival is taking place, but it would be an unusual one. The event is completely moved online because of the national lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The innovative way to still conduct the festival has allowed the participants to not wait on queues, avoid the collection of tickets and to be able to stay comfortably in their beds. In addition to this, there are two types of tickets allowing viewers to watch movies either on demand, or online premier screening. This means that the ticket on demand gives access for 72 hours to the movie which provides the viewer with a flexible schedule.
“There a lot of moments for people to tune in – like the daily talk show and the Big Talks with filmmakers and actors. We also have a chat box where people can have a chat about the films, and after each premiere there is a live Q&A (questions and answers) session with the director,” says Rachel Voorbij, a press officer for the IFFR.
Although the festival is taking place online, there are many interactive opportunities for the audience. In the beginning of each day there is a show, which according to the website prepares the audience for the upcoming movies and brings the festival to your home. In this way the online festival-goers are offered a unique experience for the day.
Response of people on social media with regard to the festival has been positive despite the missing feeling of a festival. While in 2019 people were allowed to visit the theaters and enjoy freely the production chosen for the event, now everything has to happen remotely.
“The challenging side of course is how do you recreate that festival experience online? You know, that feeling when you sit together in a cinema just before the the film starts, getting a beer afterwards, discussing the film and meeting new people, and of course, online that is different,” says Voorbij.
This however does not interfere with the positive feedback on social media and the interest of cinema lovers.
For those who missed the first week of the IFFR or wanted to attend in person, there is still an opportunity in the summer. During the first week of June, the second part of the festival is going to take place.
“In June we hope that we can do more public screenings and maybe also open air because hopefully the weather will be better. So we will get more concrete and specific about that over the course of the coming Monday,” concludes Voorbij.