Tuesday 16 April 2024

IFFR: RTM Pitch Winner / Dates for 2025

With IFFR 2025 confirmed to take place from Thursday 30 January to Sunday 9 February 2025, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has announced the winner of its latest RTM Pitch. Bubbling, a cultural movement fusing dance, rhythm and electronic music born out of Rotterdam’s Afro-Caribbean community in the 1990s, is the focus of a documentary project awarded a grant of €20,000 by IFFR together with the municipality of Rotterdam. Filmmaker Sharine Rijsenburg will explore Bubbling culture as having both a deep imprint on the city’s identity whilst being simultaneously undervalued. As the winner of the RTM Pitch, the project will receive expert guidance and aims to premiere at IFFR 2025.

Sharine Rijsenburg: “For me, Bubbling Baby is a film about how we in Rotterdam, as a multicultural metropolis, celebrate, remember and appreciate our night culture. The Bubbling subculture shows a history that has helped shape Rotterdam’s identity, yet has remained invisible. With this film, I want to celebrate and make known the value of this cultural heritage.” The film will explore the impact of Bubbling, and more broadly Black culture, on Rotterdam’s identity. Using an Afrofuturistic aesthetic, Bubbling Baby will combine archive material from 1990s Rotterdam with scenes of Bubbling parties and the upcoming Summer Carnival.

Sharine Rijsenburg is a creative researcher and visual anthropologist based in Rotterdam, who combines explorations into socio-political issues with engaging storytelling. Her short films Paradijsvogels and Paradeis Perdí demonstrate her practice of delving into Dutch and Caribbean archives to investigate the relationship between (self)image, representation and colonial history. She has worked as assistant director on So Loud the Sky Can Hear Us (Lavinia Xausa, RTM Pitch winner 2021 & IFFR 2022) and as a researcher for, among others, VPRO Tegenlicht. At IFFR 2020 she was a Young Selector, a festival initiative giving creative and ambitious local young people the opportunity to curate their own IFFR programme.

Source/image: IFFR

Wednesday 3 April 2024

BFI Flare 2024: The Stats

The 38th edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival closed on 24 March seeing a continued growth in audiences attending in person events at the Festival’s home, BFI Southbank. Overall BFI Flare saw 28,125 audience attendances across BFI Southbank screenings, events and on BFI Player. The festival had packed houses with 87% occupancy at BFI Southbank, up from 85% in 2023, with 54% of bookers new to BFI Flare. Over 12 days between 13–24 March, BFI Flare welcomed audiences to BFI Southbank with 58 features and 81 shorts screened from 41 countries. The festival hosted 5 World Premieres, 2 International Premieres, 6 European Premieres and 23 UK Premieres from across the features programme. Talent highlights included Elliot Page, the Merchant Ivory family, Linda Riley, Iris Brey, Michelle Parkerson and many others.
This year’s edition included the Opening Night European Premiere of LAYLA, Amrou Al-Kadhi's stunning debut feature, fresh off its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The World Premiere of LADY LIKE by director/producer Luke Willis, closed the festival. Both these films, as well as many others screening in the festival, demonstrated the theme of embarking on a journey towards living your true authentic self. Other highlights from this year’s film programme included the Special Presentation of CROSSING and the European Premiere of the moving drama CLOSE TO YOU, written and directed by BAFTA-winning Dominic Savage and starring, produced and co-written by Elliot Page. Simmering apprehensions surround a family get-together as Page’s Sam returns home for the first time since transitioning in this highly collaborative feature.

World Premieres presented in the Festival included WE FORGOT TO BREAK UP – a pitch perfect romantic drama by Karen Knox, featuring a trans musician caught in a love triangle with his bandmates as they rise to fame in this love letter to Toronto’s 2000s music scene. Two women hit it off in a lesbian bar in Kat Rohrer’s WHAT A FEELING – a romantic comedy with real heart that explores migration, class and sexuality in Austria. Several slices of the London queer community talk in depth about what it means to create a family in WHAT’S SAFE, WHAT’S GROSS, WHAT’S SELFISH AND WHAT’S STUPID, a heartfelt DIY debut by Jasmine Johnson. Jeremy Borison’s intriguing and important drama UNSPOKEN centres on a closeted Orthodox Jewish teen who discovers his grandfather might have loved another man, prompting a journey towards self-discovery.

BFI Flare screened the best queer films from the past 12 months in the BEST OF THE FEST section on the final day. These included 20,000 SPECIES OF BEES, a sensitive portrait of three generations of women spending a summer just as the youngest comes out as transgender; Andrew Haigh’s ALL OF US STRANGERS (pictured above), a dreamlike and intense meditation on life, loneliness and gay experience, beautifully conveyed by Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal; Emma Seligman’s BOTTOMS which sees Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri play the school’s ‘ugly lesbians’ who start a fight club to hook up with cheerleaders and lose their virginities before they go to college; and George C. Wolfe’s RUSTIN with Colman Domingo's acclaimed performance as an African American Civil Rights activist who is finally given the recognition he deserves here, including his role in the 1963 March on Washington. 

Source/images: BFI