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Roffa Mon Amour

by Teun Botterweg


What do you get, when you put two energetic and creative women behind the bar in the film house LantarenVenster? Two ladies having 'something’ with film, and, in addition to this share the feeling that they miss an aspect related to film in Rotterdam? Correct! A new summer film festival! That happened five years ago with Roffa Mon Amour. And now, in 2017 this festival celebrates its fifth anniversary. Our editor, Teun Botterweg got wind of it, and, two weeks before the start of the festival managed to arrange a remarkable talk with Charlotte van Zanten and Lisa Smith, the founders and organisers of this festival.

The Roffa Mon Amour festival is not just an annual happening in a way back small park; no it just happens in the very city centre. A modest festival, but it is só much ‘real’ Rotterdam with the strange nickname RMA.

RMA? It has a conjecture with something medical. But then the name: Roffa Mon Amour, that really sounds puzzling and enchanting.
Charlotte affirms this: “it was an impulsive find, because we suddenly needed a working name for formal registration of the festival. And then it unexpectedly appeared that this peculiar name did strike! Indeed, the name is puzzling and spicy. And it ran like wildfire”.


Roffa is street language for Rotterdam, isn’t it?
Charlotte calls it a makeshift process: “Yes, because the approach was typical for Rotterdam: an idea, quick design of a feasibility plan, use of relationships, making good use of some coincidences and then: just go for it. And then the factor film: Mon Amour, with a nod to Hiroshima, Mon Amour”.

And whát kind of film. With quite a specific objective, I read on your portal.
Lisa: “Yes, films of promising new filmmakers who have something to tell about people and their social circles. We choose films that feel like the filmmakers will become high shelved. We conceived a festival of twelve evenings long under the stars. And it came alive immediately”.

A nice new feature, but you can't develop something permanent in that manner, can you?
Lisa: “No, that is certainly not all. We did it, because this did not exist in Rotterdam. And we were convinced that that was not right. We conceived a surprising party night. In addition to that we always try to present the film maker in person at the festival. We create top quality on the rooftop of the former railwaystation Hofplein. And it worked! It started with 250 visitors growing to 400 at present”. Charlotte adds: “It should not become much larger; this figure is optimal given the location and the film objective. And now, during this jubilee, there will for the first time also be two days with a kids-festival”.

And, how about the LGBTQI character?
Lisa: “Well, from the 12 films definitely two: Corpo Elétrico and Pieles”. Charlotte: “But if you also take into consideration the aspect searching (the Q of questioning, ed.) then we can mention some more names: Hiroshima Mon Amour, Wúlu, Apprentice, and possibly Kids too”.

That is half of all the screened movies, and LGBTQI! But is our target group coming for these movies?
Charlotte: “Certainly. The visitors, mainly youngsters, come in groups of friends to have a pleasant evening and we see that such groups are mostly very mixed in terms of roots and gender. Furthermore we do everything in the English language since we clearly attract an international audience".

Charlotte (on the left) and Lisa: "Top quality on the rooftop of the former railway station Hofplein".

And what are you doing the remaining part of the year?
Charlotte: “Well, simply continuing! Organising monthly film evenings: Discover the director of the future”.
Lisa: “Every second Wednesday of the month in LantarenVenster (Rotterdam), Rialto (Amsterdam) and ‘t Hoogt (Utrecht) a feature film of an brand new film maker. We do this simultaneously, with at the end of screening a Q&A with the maker with Skype and WhatsApp so that the other two locations can participate in the discussion. And the cinema’s are happy to participate. Moreover, we do in the cinema Kino (Rotterdam): Throwback Thursday; first films of heroes. Also with discussions at the end about the makers and their later developments in cinematography”.

Why should people with always full diaries have to go to Roffa Mon Amour?
The energetic ladies find this a rather difficult question. But Lisa tries it: “nowhere you will find something like at our festival. A relatively small scale party with some unique accents, and with the candy girls and boys walking around during the performance with a tray full of sweeties. This is a nice addition with a nod to the past”.

So, just simply go?
Charlotte: “Certainly, just once get the experience ...”.

For all information about the festival, take a look on the website of Roffa Mon Amour.

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