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Docs on the Spot

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Opening film, Envision Competition, International Competition, and IDFA DocLab selections announced for IDFA 2022

At the festival’s press conference today, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) announced the opening film and main competition lineups for its fast-approaching edition. Newly unveiled selections include the Envision and International Competitions, the entire IDFA DocLab program, and the nominations for all cross-section awards. As of today, the official selection of 277 titles is complete. The 35th edition of IDFA takes place in person in Amsterdam from November 9-20.  

Artistic Director Orwa Nyrabia said:

“Here’s an eclectic lineup that is united only by originality. Through the subjectivities of these filmmakers, an image of a world in pain emerges—a humanity that is trying hard, that is vulnerable and sincere, that is complex and persistent. The diversity of artistic forms is astonishing, and there are no boundaries when it comes to tackling the biggest powers or inventing new grammar. The Envision Competition introduces artistically and politically courageous films, memorable journeys, and new questions. The International Competition brings together profound films that will tour the world and inspire audiences for years to come. IDFA DocLab celebrates its sweet 16th with the maturity of a prodigy, connecting our many lives, exposing how our nervous systems are a continuum connected to our planet and all the technology we share it with. Documentary is well! IDFA is back!” 

Opening film 

IDFA 2022 opens with the world premiere of All You See by Niki Padidar. Contemplating questions of what it means to belong, who gets excluded, and how outsider status is continually reaffirmed, Padidar’s multi-layered feature powerfully foregrounds the sensation of being looked at. Honest, painful, and even humorous encounters with three other immigrants to the Netherlands are stylistically interwoven between Padidar’s own personal history, opening up a vulnerable space of articulation with global resonance. A confessional collage with no simple outs, All You See turns the spotlight on all of us, while simultaneously asking: who is “us”?  

International Competition  

The International Competition presents 13 singular films that absorb us in cinematic worlds of human emotion, looking across generations for rich sources of meaning.  

Urgent stories draw from the filmmakers’ own arenas in reflecting on today’s world. Mila Turajlić’s Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels, to be presented as a diptych and performance, explores the never-before-seen footage of Tito’s cameraman documenting his trips to Africa and Asia to promote a third way amidst the Cold War. Paradise by Alexander Abaturov enters the heart of a raging forest fire in northeastern Siberia, brought on by climate change, as villagers come together to subdue the inferno. 

Other films peer into intimate spaces as a window onto the wider world. Silent House by Farnaz Jurabchian and Mohammadreza Jurabchian tells the story of three generations of an Iranian family, from the 1979 Islamic Revolution to today, who grapple with history in a hundred-year-old house. Petra and Peter Lataster’s Journey Through Our World affectionately looks at their shrunken world in lockdown, capturing a slice of life at our strange moment in history. Apolonia, Apolonia by Lea Glob tenderly evokes a 13-year friendship between the filmmaker and a magnetic young painter as they navigate growing up in a world of life, death, and art.  

Envision Competition

The Envision Competition offers 12 unparalleled films, each of them stylistically arresting, as visionary filmmakers forge new cinematic languages.  

Within the program, a number of directors reappropriate their own cultural narratives through existing footage. In My Lost Country, filmmaker Ishtar Yasin Gutiérrez uses family keepsakes to construct a loving portrait of her exiled theater director father Mohsen Sadoon Yasin, and an elegy to their lost homeland of Iraq. Invoked by Luka Papić and Srđa Vučo looks back at the landmark free elections in Serbia in 1990, reimagining through montage how history might have otherwise unfolded. 

Elsewhere in Envision, filmmakers experiment with staging reality, as in Scenes with My Father, the directorial debut from Biserka Šuran, which enters an abandoned factory-turned-theater to journey through family history while interrogating the construct of Europe. Ignacio Agüero’s Notes on a Film uses re-enactment and archival footage to shed light on Chile colonization as explored through the 1889 memoirs of a Belgian settler. 

Collective filmmaking also finds a place in Envision, with collaborative partnerships at the heart of several titles. In Raw Session, Brazilian trans/non-binary collective As Talavistas and delivers a playful, personal, and political self-portrait: a succession of prologues to a film that is continually in progress. Meanwhile, in Notes on Displacement, filmmaker and visual artist Khaled Jarrar joins hands with a refugee family, accompanying them in their long, grueling journey from Syria to Germany.  

IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction  

The 12-title Immersive Competition showcases the growth of the immersive art form on all fronts.  

XR remains a medium of choice for groundbreaking immersive works such as Darren Emerson’s multisensory VR installation In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats, presented in collaboration with Amsterdam Dance Event and the London Film Festival, which viscerally uncovers the birth of rave culture in the UK. In Plastisapiens by Miri Chekhanovich and Edith Jorisch, present an expanded VR experience and live cooking performance that looks to our amalgamation with bioplastics.  

Other landmark sensory and immersive projects go beyond virtual reality headsets to explore different modes of physicality, as in the physical installation and fulldome project Dancing with Dead Animals, in which Maarten Isaäk de Heer re-animates the deceased creatures in his direct environment in a whimsical danse macabre. My Toe (Uncensored) by Lisa Schamlé combines photography, sculpture, embroidery, live performance and a real-life OnlyFans account to explore the objectification of even the most innocuous of body parts. 


IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling  
With 10 selected titles, the Digital Storytelling Competition builds on the rich history of interactive storytelling with both established names and newcomers.  

AI-driven storytelling can be seen in, among others, Bieke and Dries Depoorter’s Border Birds: a poetic imaging project that follows the flight of birds across heavily policed borders via hacked webcams. Rich, long-form experiences include entries such as Ghana Airways by Hakeem Adam, a three-part audio work that asks what it means to be Ghanaian in the 21st century, rewriting the concept of oral history in the process.  

Other works borrow from varied and unexpected forms of storytelling: He Fucked the Girl Out of Me by Taylor McCue uses arcade video games to discuss trauma and sex work; interactive graphic novel Glasfäden by Ben Wahl recounts the personal history of a Vietnamese migrant worker in Communist East Germany who lives through reunification; A South Asian Queer Pamphlet by Soumya Mukhopadhyay brings together performance art and interactive web installation to create bespoke pamphlets that subvert South Asian gender norms. 

IDFA DocLab Spotlight 

With 10 selected titles, the non-competitive DocLab section brings award-winning VR projects, immersive theater, and an expanded offering of fulldome projects, affirming the latter as a flourishing stage for new media. Among them are Partita for 8 Voices by Michel Lam, a breathtaking collaboration between the arts of song and graphic animation; A Radical Compromise by Daniel Červenka, a 360-degree immersion into a Czech brown coal mine; and Grandma’s House by David Gardener, a palpable portrayal of careening into dementia. Other highlights include a special motion capture stage presented by IDFA DocLab and ONX Studio, with immersive live performances and workshops to explore the artistic potential of mocap technology for documentary art.  


Cross-section awards 

IDFA has also announced the nominations for the IDFA Award for Best First Feature, IDFA Award for Best Dutch Film, and the Beeld & Geluid IDFA ReFrame Award. The winners will be announced during the IDFA 2022 awards ceremony on Thursday, November 17.   

The Envision Competition is supported by Ammodo

IDFA's audience program is supported by VriendenLoterij, Deloitte, VPRO, Fonds 21, de Volkskrant, Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, WePresent by WeTransfer, Ammodo, NPO, Oxfam Novib, IDFA Friends/Special Friends, Creative Europe Media, Netherlands Film Fund, European Cultural Foundation, VSB fonds and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds

IDFA DocLab is supported by Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, CLICKNL, Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, The Netherlands Film Fund, Onassis Foundation and IDFA Special Friends+

DocLab research collaboration partners include MIT Open Documentary Lab, Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid, ARTIS-Planetarium, Atlas V, Bombina Bombast, Diversion cinema, East City Films, Eye Filmmuseum, Kaspar AI, National Film Board of Canada, ONX Studio, Polymorf, POPKRAFT, Sandman Studio, The Immersive Storytelling Studio (National Theatre), and Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond

Selected films: International Competition 

Apolonia, Apolonia, dir. Lea Glob (Denmark/Poland/France), 116’, World Premiere 

Colette and Justin, dir. Alain Kassanda (France/Belgium), 89’  
World Premiere 

Dreaming Arizona, dir. Jon Bang Carlsen (Denmark/Estonia/Norway), 76’, World Premiere 

Girl Who Dreams About Time, dir. Hyuck-jee Park (South Korea), 111’, International Premiere 

Journey Through Our World, dir. Petra Lataster-Czisch, Peter Lataster (Netherlands), 113’, World Premiere 

Much Ado About Dying, dir. Simon Chambers (Ireland/United Kingdom), 84’, International Premiere 

Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels, dir. Mila Turajlić (Serbia/France/Croatia/Montenegro/ Qatar), 105’ - World Premiere 

Paradise, dir. Alexander Abaturov (France), 88’, World Premiere 

Parallel World, dir. Mei-ling Hsiao (Taiwan), 177’, World Premiere 

Port Desire, dir. Juan Manuel Bugarín, (Argentina), 74’, World Premiere 

Portrait of My Father, dir. Juan Ignacio Fernández Hoppe, (Uruguay), 99’, World Premiere 

Silent House, dir. Farnaz Jurabchian, Mohammadreza Jurabchian (Iran/France/Canada/Philippines/Qatar), 100’, World Premiere 

Wisdom Gone Wild, dir. Rea Tajiri (United States), 84’, International Premiere 

Selected films: Envision Competition 

Cross Words, dir. Mario Valero (France), 81’ 
International Premiere 

The Fabulous Ones, dir. Roberta Torre (Italy), 75’ 
European Premiere 

How Dare You Have Such a Rubbish Wish, dir. Mania Akbari (Iran/United Kingdom), 72’ World Premiere 

Invoked, dir. Luka Papić, Srđa Vučo (Serbia), 64’, World Premiere 

Just an Alien, dir. Weicheng Hua (China), 71’, World Premiere 

Light Falls Vertical, dir. Efthymia Zymvragaki (Spain/Germany/Netherlands), 83’, World Premiere 

Manifesto, dir. Angie Vinchito (Russia), 68’, World Premiere 

My Lost Country, dir. Ishtar Yasin Gutiérrez (Costa Rica/Iraq/Chile/Egypt/France), 96’, World Premiere 

Notes for a Film, dir. Ignacio Agüero (Chile/France), 105’, International Premiere 

Notes on Displacement, dir. Khaled Jarrar (Palestine/Germany), 74’, World Premiere 

Raw Session, dir. As Talavistas, (Brazil), 88’ , International Premiere 

Scenes with My Father, dir. Biserka Šuran (Netherlands), 47’, World Premiere 

Please visit the IDFA website for a complete list of DocLab projects. 

This year marks the 35th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, which will take place from November 9–20 throughout the city. General ticket sale begins on October 31. Program announcements will follow throughout October. 


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