The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will be moved online in 2022 for the second consecutive year due to growing concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant across Europe. It’s the first major European film festival to take the virtual route in 2022.
The decision comes four days after the Dutch government announced that a strict nationwide lockdown will be enforced starting Dec. 19. All nonessential shops — as well as cinemas, schools, museums and catering establishments — will remain closed until at least mid-January.
Under the online format, the programme of the 51st edition, including the movie roster and IFFR Talks, will be available on IFFR.com. As previously announced, IFFR Pro industry events CineMart and Rotterdam Lab will also take place online. More details on the adapted lineup will be announced during a press conference in early January.
“In light of the current concerns and unpredictable circumstances of the global health crisis, IFFR has made the decision to host a scaled-down festival programme online,” said the festival in a statement. “The festival’s previous announcements outlined plans for an ambitious on-site programme for IFFR 2022 that is now no longer possible.”
Added the festival: “Even in the case the current restrictions are lifted after 14 January, the sheer scale of the festival is no longer compatible with a last-minute transition to an in-person event in Rotterdam.”
IFFR, which is known for celebrating cinema and providing a platform for filmmakers from across the globe, said it “acknowledges that the impact of this critical decision is widely felt — most prominently affecting the filmmaking community and audiences which IFFR continually sets out to support and connect with.”
The festival’s education programmes will be adapted or postponed until later in the year to offer students access to IFFR-curated cinema.