Rotterdam threatened by cinema closures


AMSTERDAM -- The International Film Festival of Rotterdam faces major logistical problems in the near future as several cinemas in the center of town are to close down in 2008 and '09.

According to some calculations, by 2010 the festival will have 140,000 fewer seats than this year's edition. Last year, the festival welcomed 360,000 visitors.

The IFFR on Friday presented a report on the future of the 37-year-old festival. The main objective of the report was to stress the desire of the IFFR to remain in the center of Rotterdam and not be spread out across town.

Several centrally located cinemas already have decided to move to the south of Rotterdam, which offers more parking space and better opportunities for expansion. One of the theaters involved is the art house cinema Lataarn/Venster, where the IFFR was started in 1971 by its founder, Hubert Bals.

Rumors that the main cinema in Rotterdam's city center, Pathe Schouwburgplein, also will close, have been denied by Lauge Nielsen, general director of Pathe Nederland.