International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) revealed the full film lineup of 2020, including the 10 films selected for the Tiger Competition. Also revealed: the selections of the Big Screen Competition and the revamped Bright Future Competition, the 2020 opening and closing films, the fifth theme programme Ordinary Heroes and a special screening of David Cronenberg’s Crash (1996) with a live musical score by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

Opening film

Portuguese filmmaker João Nuno Pinto’s Mosquito can be described as a ‘war film without war’, and sheds new light on an often-overlooked episode from World War I. It follows a 17-year-old Portuguese recruit who gets lost in the African wilderness in 1917. A feverish, hallucinatory journey ensues. In addition to being the opening film, Mosquito also competes in the Big Screen Competition.

Closing film

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by American filmmaker Marielle Heller will bring IFFR 2020 to a feel-good close. The film follows journalist Lloyd Vogel (played by Matthew Rhys) who is tasked to write an article on the beloved American television icon Fred Rogers (played by Tom Hanks). Vogel is cynical at first, but the journalist’s encounters with Mister Rogers eventually teach him how to handle his carefully hidden feelings.

Tiger Competition

Festival director Bero Beyer: “I’m thrilled we can present ten films in Tiger Competition this year. From experimental millennial autofiction to Spanish class consciousness, from hard-boiled Korean crime to life in Hindu-nationalist Tamil Nadu, from the jungles of Venezuela to the streets of Greece – all films in Tiger Competition radiate a strong sense of personal urgency and cinematic relevance, fuelled by boundary-pushing directorial visions.”

The Tiger jury consists of Dutch-Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, artistic director of Visions du Réel Emilie Bujès, South Korean-born American filmmaker Kogonada, Dutch filmmaker Sacha Polak and Indonesian artist, curator and filmmaker Hafiz Rancajale. They will choose the winners of the Tiger Award, worth €40,000, and the Special Jury Award, worth €10,000.

Big Screen Competition

The Big Screen Competition, part of IFFR’s Voices section, features nine films which, according to IFFR programmers, deserve to hit the big screen after the festival. A jury consisting of five audience members picks the winner of the VPRO Big Screen Award. This film gets a guaranteed theatrical release in the Netherlands and will be broadcast on Dutch TV by VPRO and NPO. The prize comes with €30,000, half of which goes to the distributor who buys the film.

Bright Future Competition

The Bright Future Competition comprises a selection of 15 feature-length film debuts, screening in world or international premiere. IFFR’s competition for first-time filmmakers presents a variety of innovative, cutting-edge and promising discoveries from all over the world. The Bright Future Award is chosen by a jury of three film professionals.

The Bright Future jury consists of Beatriz Navas, director of ICAA in Spain; Zsuzsanna Kiraly, head of development at German production outfit Komplizen Film; and Mexican filmmaker and director of FICUNAM Film Festival, Michel Lipkes. They will choose the winner of the Bright Future Award, worth €10,000.

Ordinary Heroes

IFFR had already announced four theme programmes in its Perspectives section. The fifth and final one is called Ordinary Heroes, and views cinema as a key part of the lifeblood of Hong Kong. As the city is shaken to its roots by political and social turmoil, Hong Kong’s cinematic history and present illuminate the tensions it faces today. Read more here.

Crash with Rotterdam Philharmonic

On Friday 31 January, IFFR presents a special screening of David Cronenberg’s cult classic Crash (1996), with the film’s musical score performed live by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. The score was composed by long-time Cronenberg collaborator Howard Shore and the screening will take place in de Doelen’s Grote Zaal.

This film is being offered to IFFR by producers Jeremy Thomas and Robert Lantos.