Celebrating film through digital transformation

As one of the world’s foremost annual film festivals, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has always been a vanguard of technological innovation. And, ahead of the festival’s 50th anniversary, IFFR wanted to do more than just navigate the pandemic of 2021: they wanted to break new ground as well.

By working closely with Burst in the years leading up to – and during – COVID-19, they have created digital experiences that have redefined how film festivals can operate, both in the physical world and online.

Cinematic evolution

Even in the years before the pandemic, IFFR were already looking at ways to create meaningful interactions with their audiences. Together with Burst in 2016, a new website was created to better handle ticket sales and high traffic volume, and when further technological opportunities presented themselves, the team leveraged the power of AI to create more personalised and innovative solutions across their digital ecosystem.

To make better use of all the data available from various sources, the Burst team created an API (and associated apps) to integrate multiple information sources about films – all while simultaneously rebuilding the website in Drupal 8 for a more engaging and robust online destination.

The show must go on

The global pandemic had all but cancelled large gatherings of people, so the IFFR once again turned to Burst to help them create a comprehensive virtual space to celebrate the festival’s 50th anniversary.  

By working closely with the foundation and technical partners, Burst created several transformative digital experiences in just a few months. From a custom film container that screened features with supplementary content through to personalized schedules and film recommendations, a new kind of festival was born: One that seamlessly connected attendees, press and industry players in digital symbiosis.

“Together with iO, we have managed to create a new virtual IFFR experience. The approach and construction of our application landscape has greatly supported this accelerated development. This would not have been possible without the decisiveness and flexibility of all our digital partners.”

Juul Veenboer, Head of IT, IFFR


Succes for silver screens around the world

Through technical innovation and elegant implementation, Burst and IFFR successfully brought the event online and celebrated the foundation’s 50th anniversary in a memorable and pioneering way. In the February 2021 segment alone, the website had over 140,000 film watchers, with 20% watching online premieres, and the rest -more than 4 million views on-demand through a Netflix-styled application.

And, with over 1,797 guests from the world of film, including directors, writers, press, actors and crew being able to take part, the festival was able to showcase talent, engage with the experts and most importantly, keep the world’s love for cinema alive.

Checkout the IFFR case study

“By migrating the festival infrastructure to our partner Platform.sh, IFFR has the agility needed to adapt to the new cultural norms driven by the pandemic,” says Hans Maltha, Burst founder and CEO.

Deze case is geschreven door de specialisten van Burst.

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