The Dutch Do It Right

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Greetings from Rotterdam where I’m attending the 2010 installment of Europe’s (if not the world) boldest festival. International Film Festival Rotterdam (IRRF) gives the world’s curators something to aspire to, and the 2010 edition is no exception. 

This year festival organizers dared their audience to not attend screenings by tempting them into their  festival  commercial venue, Break Even Store, a rented storefront just beneath De Dolen, the festival’s industry headquarters.  Inside of this 20 ft x 20ft market place one finds a daily schedule of free screenings, lectures and performances, as well as the finest cinema bookstore Rotterdam has to offer. Included on its shelves are recent musings in the form of literature written by academics, critics, and cinephiles from across the globe plus a cornicopia of experimntal and hard to find dvd from Raro Video (Italy) Index (Austria), Lux ( UK), Re:Voir (Paris), Raum fur Projektion, Lowave, Wolphin, Reel 23, Other Cinema, Cinemtek (Belgium), Edition Filmmuseum, La petite collection, and others.

Don’t be fooled though, the twenty-one screens here at Rotterdam find themslelves illuminated from 9AM until midnight by a fine crop of recent offerings from the world’s emerging talent and often peppered with some this year’s discoveries from the vaults of national cinemateques. 

The conversation commences moments before and after entry to screenings, while waiting in line for the ten computer terminals, or nightly at the festivals cocktail hour where indutry guests and filmmakers recount the days spoils.

Periodically I’ll report back on screenings, discussions and festival gossip. For instance right now I’m crowded by several cinema journalists who are streaming the Oscar nominations live, commenting after each name announced. The festival is a fine confluence of both high art and high commerce. Yes this is paradise for the film programmer and I’m on a mission.

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