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Dutch producer Bero Beyer will replace Rutger Wolfson as director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Beyer, currently a film consultant for the Netherlands Film Fund, will officially take over as Rotterdam director on Aug. 1.
Wolfson, who ran the Rotterdam fest for the past eight years, has been a divisive figure. Although he has boosted local attendance at the fest, many have complained his selections have put too much emphasis on obscure, non-commercial films and directors and done little to make Rotterdam more relevant for the industry.
Beyer is a working producer, with credits that include last year’s Toronto festival entry Atlantic and the Oscar-nominated Palestinian drama Paradise Now (2005). His appointment sends a clear single that Rotterdam is looking to reach out to the industry.
“It is vital that we continue to celebrate and support quality, artistic cinema and the creative talents behind it,” said Beyer in a statement. “I am committed to leading (the Rotterdam festival) in supporting international and Dutch independent cinema as well as ensuring that in the rapidly changing cinematic landscape (we) will continue and expand its proactive and leading role in exploring the challenges and opportunities that emerge.”
But Beyer faces an uphill battle. Rotterdam is awkwardly placed on the festival calendar, squeezed between Sundance and Berlin. The decline of the art house market in Europe, and worldwide, has also hurt the festival, which focuses on emerging art house talent.
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