Regulars to the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s IFFR Pro industry gathering and its flagship co-production market CineMart — which kicked off Sunday and runs until Jan. 29 — may have noticed a distinct drop in the number of new projects being presented in recent years
Whereas older editions of CineMart would have upward of 30 or so new titles in development seeking out production and financing partners, in 2020 just 17 have made the cut. But rather than a dip in the number of applicants, the reduced number was a conscious decision by the festival to do “more for less,” IFFR Pro head Marit van den Elshout explains, adding that this slimmed-down version of the market was first introduced back in 2018.
“We figured that to be tailor-made in how we match people, participants and potential partners, we needed a slimmer selection,” she tells THR, adding that, this way, the projects are offered an “intimate way” to be presented and interviewed by the assigned mentors.
“The mentors help them prepare for the market and have the most effective one-on-one’s,” she adds, pointing to the fact that around 1,200 meetings have been scheduled in this way so far.
Despite the drop, this year’s crop of new CineMart projects has managed to succeed where other festivals have failed and is perfectly split down the middle in terms of the gender of the filmmakers represented, with eight movies from female directors, eight from male directors and one from a trans-femme filmmaker.
“We are of course as conscious as other festivals are [regarding gender-parity], but we decided that it’s just something that we have to do, and not use it as a marketing tool,” Van Den Elshout says. “But it was not a mandatory thing that we put on ourselves, so it’s very nice that it turned out that way.”