IFFR 2009: Rotterdam gets a new format, part of which is scary...

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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IFFR 2009: Rotterdam gets a new format, part of which is scary...

Joy! In less than two months from now the International Film Festival Rotterdam will be in full swing again, albeit with a thoroughly changed programme format, when compared to previous years.

IFFR 2008 marked the first time Rutger Wolfson was directing the festival, and as such he didn't make too many changes in the way films were categorized. But now that he has signed on for at least another four years there will be some changes apparent, starting with the format.
Quoting the IFFR webpage:

...a new and simplified format with three main sections. This will make the programme clearer and do more justice to individual films and special themes.

Gone are festival sections as "Time and Tide" and, most importantly, "Rotterdämmerung".

I'll miss that last one because this always contained the anime and insane genre films. This is where you found titles like "Casshern", "AAchi & SSipak" and "Paprika", and last year's edition had (amongst others) "Appleseed: Ex Machina", "Let The Right One In", "Rec" and "Dai-Nipponjin".
But the truth is, the old format did have its problems. Titles could always be in any of several categories, making it necessary to scan them all anyway. The new setup aims to make this a bit easier, and time will tell whether this works out or not.

The three new categories are:

Bright Future: a platform to show work from novice film makers (this includes the Tiger Awards).
Spectrum: work by experienced artists who are known for contributing to international culture.
Signals: a series of thematic sub-programmes, changing every year.

Each category will consist of feature films, shorts and live performances.
NOTE: this year the "Signals" category will feature a special segment on Asian horror called "Hungry Ghosts", showing several classics of that genre (like the original "Shutter") and some new ones as well...

More titles and guests for the festival become known every week, so I'll post an overview soon. The full list will be available from the 15th of January onward.

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The IFFR 2009 website in English.