Edition 31 October 2019
The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam offers an independent and inspiring meeting place for audiences and professionals to see a diverse and highquality program. The diverse nature of the event applies to the form and content of the fi lms as well as to the cultural backgrounds of the fi lmmakers. IDFA offers an alternative to mass entertainment and uniformity, confi rming that there is an increasing need in audiences for high-quality fi lms that delve deep and urge us to refl ect. Since 2007, the festival’s New Media program IDFA DocLabshowcases the best interactive non-fiction storytelling and explores how the digital revolution is reshaping documentary art. In addition to the festival, IDFA has developed several professional activities, contributing to the development of fi lmmakers and their fi lms at all stages. At co-fi nancing and co-production market IDFA Forum fi lmmakers and producers pitch their plans to fi nanciers; at Docs for Salenew documentaries are on offer to programmers and distributors; the IDFA Bertha Fundsupports fi lmmakers and documentary projects in developing countries; and the IDFAcademyoffers a international training programs for up-and-coming doc talents.
IDFA’s new media program DocLab has been exploring the art of interactive and immersive non-fi ction since 2007. Over the years, IDFA DocLab has developed into one of the leading platforms for interactive documentary art and storytelling. Every year, we commission new pieces, initiate collaborations between artists, and offer a wide range of industry activities to support those shaping the landscape of emerging media and art. During the festival we showcase the best new interactive documentary art through two competition programs, a physical exhibition, and a series of experimental live events to present undefi ned art forms to a wider audience.
Announcing Luminous selections and Competitions for Dutch, Short, Kids & Docs, Student fi lms Today IDFA proudly presents the fi rst competitions of IDFA 2019, alongside noncompetitive sections Luminous, IDFA on Stage, Spotlight: Venezuela, and Spotlight: Sudan. 72 titles have been added to the fast-approaching IDFA 2019 program.
IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary The Dutch competition includes 11 world premieres from the country’s leading documentary fi lmmakers. Maasja Ooms’ Punks observes three at-risk youngsters struggling to cope with the system that failed them. The Death of Antonio Sànchez Lomas marks the return of fi lmmakers Ramón and Salvador Gieling with an exploration of trauma in post-Franco Spain. Titles by emerging fi lmmakers include Marina Meijer’s Carrousel, a rawly minimalist fi lm that gets up close and personal with a group of marginalized young men in Rotterdam, and Sophie Dros’ King of the Cruise, a humorous portrait of a Scottish aristocrat at sea, among other section highlights.
IDFA Competition for Short Documentary Now a premiere-only section, IDFA’s shorts competition offers 12 titles with a wide variety of styles and experimentations. Selfi e (dir. Nayra Sanz Fuentes), from the co-writer of Victor Moreno’s The Hidden City (IDFA 2018), stretches the temporality of the short fi lm form with prolonged takes of a distorted Chi- cago cityscape. Animation-meets-archive fi lm Mizuko (dir. Katelyn Rebelo, Kira Dane), winner of the If/Then Global Pitch at DOC NYC, looks to Japanese grieving rituals after an abortion. Fast-paced portrait fi lm Steve Is Undocumented (dir. Michael Barth, Kauai Moliterno), from the team behind VPRO IDFA Audience Award-winner Don’t Be a Dick About It, plummets into the paradoxical life of a xenophobic club bouncer
Luminous The non-competitive premiere section Luminous presents 18 timeless cinematic fi lms that redeem the beauty of human relationships, expression, and empathy. Andrey A. Tarkovsky makes new meaning in the legacy of his famous father in Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer, as does Mira Burt-Wintonick in Wintopia, on the late IDFA team member Peter Wintonick. Renowned artists star in Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power (dir. Nancy Lang, Peter Raymont), on the acclaimed author’s little-seen private life; Max Richter’s Sleep (dir. Natalie Johns), plunging into the artistic process of the lauded German composer; and A Comedian in a Syrian Tragedy (dir. Rami Farah), an intimate portrait of dissident Syrian actor Fares Helou. More titles to be announced.
IDFA Competition for Student Documentary With 12 titles, all world or international premieres, the student competition reveals a committed generation of fi lmmakers shaping the future of documentary fi lm. Youth participation in politics takes center stage in Objector (dir. Molly Stuart), in which a young Israeli woman rejects the army with radical politics of resistance, and Summerwar (dir. Moritz Schulz), with a Ukrainian summer camp that trains the nationalist soldiers of tomorrow. Themes of family and home also come to bear: No Crying at the Dinner Table (dir. Carol Nguyen) breaks the emotional barriers of one Vietnamese-Canadian family; No Man’s Land (dir. Charlotte Müller) shares the political plight of women who choose to have a child on their own in France; while Silent Storm (dir. Anaïs Moog) haptically explores the texture of mourning through oceanic celluloid vistas.
IDFA Competition for Kids & Docs IDFA’s competition for youth documentaries presents 12 titles, each with a strong focus on young heroes in the making. After winning Best First Appearance in 2017, Simon Lereng Wilmont is back with the world premiere of Bird Boy, a poetic portrayal of an adolescent bird keeper in Azerbaijan. Feature-length Anbessa (dir. Mo Scarpelli), a fi lm for all ages, gives a window into the social realities of Ethiopia through an imaginative young protagonist. The international premiere of Dear Darkness introduces newcomer Samuel N. Schwarz with a sensorial short fi lm on the experience of a twelve-year-old girl who is blind. Finally, the world premiere of high-drama fi lm Foreplay (dir. Anne van Campenhout) takes another courageous step for Dutch youth documentaries, exploring sex education in a local high school.
IDFA on Stage The non-competitive program section includes a series of live events that span fi lms with live music, new media performances, and multidisciplinary shows. Among them, Andreï Ujica’s 1995 documentary Out of the Present makes its return to IDFA with the Dutch premiere of the live cinema version, complete with live soundtrack by British Sea Power. Copresented with Flemish Arts Centre De Brakke Grond, Belgian production True Copy (by theater company BERLIN) gives the fl oor to master art forger Geert Jan Jansen, drawing the audience into a documentary play on the art of deception. More titles to be announced.
Spotlight: Venezuela & Spotlight: Sudan Diving into the urgent developments unfolding in Venezuela and Sudan, the noncompetitive sections include fi ve fi lms and talks with the directors. With the Spotlights, IDFA aims to increase awareness, promote solidarity, and send a signal to the fi lmmakers: IDFA is standing by their side. From Venezuela, IDFA presents the world premiere of The Cause (dir. Andrés Figueredo), with undercover cameras rolling for over half a decade in Venezuela’s corrupt prison system, alongside awardwinning fi lm The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (dir. Kim Bartley, Donnacha O’Briain, 2003).
From Sudan, IDFA presents the Dutch premieres of Khartoum Offside (dir. Marwa Zein), with women soccer players who dream of playing for Sudan in the Women’s World Cup, and Talking About Trees (dir. Suhaib Gasmelbari), the Berlinale award-winner with four fi lmmakers who fi ght tooth and nail to revive an old Sudanese cinema. Finally, Beats of the Antonov (dir. Hajooj Kuka, 2014) scrutinizes Sudan’s national identity by celebrating traditional music making.