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International Film Festival Rotterdam

Combining within its organisation the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Hubert Bals Fund and co-production market CineMart, IFFR offers a launching pad and supportive platform for innovative and talented independent filmmakers.


Three New Titles Selected For IFFR’s Inaugural IFFR Live


Erbarme dich - Matthäus Passion Stories, Speed Walking and Melody added to simultaneous live screening event 

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has selected three new titles for IFFR Live, the documentary feature ERBARME DICH – MATTHÄUS PASSION STORIES, which will screen as a World Premiere, SPEED WALKING and MELODY, both of which will be European Premieres. The unique international film festival event, established in partnership with Fortissimo Films, TrustNordisk and Doc & Film, will screen a series of five film premieres during the 44th International Film Festival Rotterdam and simultaneously beam them to cinemas and VOD platforms in multiple territories across Europe. 

Acclaimed filmmaker Ramón Gieling (JOHAN CRUIJFF – EN UN MOMENTO DADO, BUÑUEL’S PRISONERS), produced by KeyDocs, will present his new work ERBARME DICH – MATTHÄUS PASSION STORIES, a powerful film which revolves around a choir and orchestra’s performance of J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion and its effect on the wider community. Niels Arden Oplev (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, DEAD MAN DOWN) will present SPEED WALKING, a moving and funny drama starring Sidse Babett Knudsen (BORGEN, AFTER THE WEDDING) and Pilou Asbaek (LUCY, SEX, DRUGS & TAXATION). Bernard Bellefroid (THE BOAT RACE) will also be in Rotterdam to present his award winning second film MELODY which features rising star Lucie Debay and Rachael Blake (SLEEPING BEAUTY), who shared the best actress award at the recent Montreal World Film Festival for their roles in this gripping story of a young surrogate mother and her relationship with the woman for whom she is carrying the baby. IFFR previously announced the first of the selected titles; ATLANTIC. from Dutch writer/director Jan-Willem van Ewijk, which screened to critical acclaim at the recent TIFF. The fifth and final title completing the IFFR Live line-up will be announced shortly.

On making the announcement Festival Director, Rutger Wolfson commented
"IFFR Live was conceived as a way of bringing great films from great filmmakers to as wide an international audience as possible. We could not ask for greater films than ERBARME DICH, SPEED WALKING, MELODY and ATLANTIC. to be part of this inaugural IFFR Live. We look forward to welcoming the filmmakers to IFFR 2015 and are thrilled to be a part of bringing these films to audiences throughout Europe.

IFFR Live is supported by the European Commission, enhancing the circulation of European films in the digital era. The 44th International Film Festival Rotterdam runs from 21 January to 1 February 2015. 

ERBARME DICH – MATTHÄUS PASSION STORIES by Ramón Gieling (The Netherlands, 2015)
Music is a world in itself
A language beyond understanding
A labyrinthine narrative in which such notable people as Peter Sellars, Emio Greco, Simon Halsey and painter Rinke Nijburg explain their special relationship with Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Set against the backdrop of a church which has fallen into disrepair, through the rehearsals of a choir of homeless people and Pieter Jan Leusink’s Bach Choir & Orchestra performing the Passion, the main characters share their relationship with this piece. Leusink isn't solely the conductor, he is one of the main characters himself, with a painful history in which this musical piece has played a dominant role. Stories from the wide range of characters alternate seamlessly. As their stories unfold, we learn how the St Matthew Passion played a decisive role in the human relations between men and women, lovers, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, mothers and their unborn children, and finally that in spite of our differences we all share in the secret of music. ERBARME DICH – MATTHÄUS PASSION STORIES is represented by Doc & Film and produced by KeyDocs. The film is a co-production with NCRV, supported by Netherlands Film Fund, Dutch Cultural Media Fund, CoBO and Fund 21. The film will be released in The Netherlands in spring 2015 by ABC - Cinemien.

SPEED WALKING by Niels Arden Oplev (Denmark, 2014)
In a quirky, small town, situated in the outskirts of everything, 14-year-old Martin is preparing for one of the most formal transitions from boy to man; his First Communion. It’s 1976, music is in the air and hormones are raging. In the midst of it all, Martin’s mother suddenly passes away and her tragic death triggers a series of events that not only changes Martin’s life forever, but affects the local community as a whole. An intense, humorous and evocative story about how life and death demand a transition in us all. SPEED WALKING is represented by TrustNordisk and produced by Nordisk Film Production.

MELODY by Bernard Bellefroid (Belgium/Luxembourg/France, 2014)
Young Melody decides to become a surrogate mother in return for a large sum of money. The contracting mother, Emily, a rich Englishwoman, forces the slightly unstable Melody to come and live with her. While at first they are worlds apart, the two women are surprised to find themselves adopting one another. But when tragedy strikes, history threatens to repeat itself. MELODY is represented by Doc & Film and produced by Artemis Productions, Samsa Film, Liaison Cinématographique and Mille et Une Nuits. The film will be released in the Benelux by Cinéart. 

About IFFR Live
IFFR Live will give the audience the opportunity to experience the unique thrill of being part of a major international film festival. In addition to watching the film in theatres and online in countries ranging from the UK to Spain and Poland, audiences will be able to see the director and film team attend the premiere in Rotterdam and participate in a live Q&A session via Twitter. IFFR Live is designed to celebrate, enhance and expand the live festival experience, of watching a film in the presence of the filmmaker and cast, through the use of new technologies and social media. It will maximise the potential of an innovative form of simultaneous release and cultivate collaboration between the film festival, sales agents, distributors and exhibitors helping bring high-quality artistic film to new audiences in a way that has never been done before. For further information please go to

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) offers a high quality line-up of carefully selected fiction and documentary feature films, short films and media art. The festival's Tiger Awards Competitions, Bright Future, Spectrum and Limelight sections contain new work by auteurs from all over the world including many World Premieres. In the Signals section, IFFR presents retrospectives and themed programmes. IFFR actively supports new and adventurous filmmaking talent through numerous industry initiatives including co-production market CineMart, its Hubert Bals Fund and Rotterdam Lab. For further information please go to  



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About International Film Festival Rotterdam

Combining within its organisation the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Hubert Bals Fund and co-production market CineMart, IFFR offers a launching pad and supportive platform for innovative and talented independent filmmakers.



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