Feb 3rd, 2016, 01:16 PM

The Rotterdam International Film Festival

By Julie Robelot
Image credit: Julie Robelot
There's no world except the one we create.

Rotterdam comes to life for one of the most exciting events of the year: The Rotterdam International Film Festival. The Rotterdam International Film Festival is a one of the most important film festivals and film markets out there today. It is known for its range of cinema offerings, from world features to experimental and independent offerings, and for the wide array of producers, distributors, programmers and filmmakers who attend. Led by AUP film professor and filmmaker Marie Regan, our group saw films, met with industry professionals and participated in a master class.

We hit the ground running through the windy streets of the city to get to the festival. The first event was a panel with directors, agents, and producers from various countries on how to get the most out of the film festival. The emphasis was on the human connection involved in filmmaking and the role that plays in collaboration with other professionals. Everyone on the panel agreed that if you don’t connect with someone, you won’t want to work with them. One filmmaker expressed that we create our own worlds, and when you speak to someone, you share your world with them.

Image credit: Julie Robelot

Over three days we saw a wide array of films including features, shorts, documentaries, and experimental films. After each film we gathered to share our thoughts and feelings of the film. Everyone had a different view of each film. Some loved it and others hated it. It is eye opening to see how so many different impressions and opinions can be had about the same film.  This shows the beauty of a wide spectrum of opinion and how we identify with film in different ways.

Image credit: Julie Robelot

My favorite film from the festival was a short film called Scrapbook by Mike Hoolboom. It is a dialogue both between time, and bridging time, sculpted from re-purposed footage shot as part of a project exploring image and self in 1967, in a residential center for children. The children at the center stare into the camera, as one of the residents recounts her story. She speaks on what it was like to see these images for the first time and what it is like to see them now. It really gave new insight into the lives of these children and how they see and feel the world differently.

Image credit: Jeremy Jackson

Overall, it was a great learning experience that gave insight into the “behind the scenes” of films and the film industry. I would definitely recommend this festival to all those who love film.