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IDFA Celebrates The World Of Documentary Film


Tuesday, December 4--------IDFA, the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, concluded its 10-day marathon of films this past weekend with the announcement of its major awards. The Festival, which celebrated its twentienth anniversary this year amid an explosion of film attendance and a major change in screening venues, has emerged as one of the hallmark events on the documentary film calendar. Films from all over the world not only get screened at IDFA, but sales are made and development pitches are presented that are making a vital difference to the growing yet still fragile world of documentary film and video.

STRANDED, a French film by Gonzalo Arijon, won the Festival's top prize, the VPRO Joris Ivens Award In STRANDED, the survivors of a plane crash in 1972 relate how they were able to survive more than ten weeks in the inhospitable Andes mountains. Jury chair Diane Weyerman (formerly of the Sundance Film Festival) praised the cinematic qualities of the film, which the jury found both “emotional and poetic”. The film was one of several dozen that were originally pitched to financiers and distribution executives at the IDFA Forum in 2005. More and more, films that first came to the industry event as projects in development are finding their way to film screens and to awards acclaim.

The Israeli fllm TO SEE IF I'M SMILING by Tamar Yarom, which chronciles the experiences of young women in the Israeli army in the territories occupied by Israel, was a double prize winner, winning both the Silver Wolf and the Volkskrant Audience Award. A Special Jury Prize was awarded to Kim Longinotto for HOLD ME TIGHT, LET ME GO, which focuses on the day-to-day life at a school for dysfunctional children.  

The First Appearance Award, which also includes a cash prize of € 5,000 was presented to Australian director Robert Nugent, for the film END OF THE RAINBOW (a co-production between Australia and France), which tells the story of a multinational corporation who hires the local population in Guinea, West Africa to operate a gold mine. The film is both a humanistic story and a critical think piece on the realities of globalisation. 

The Movies that Matter Human Rights Award, for the best documentary on human rights and human dignity, went to JERUSALEM IS PROUD TO PRESENT from Israeli director Nitzan Gilady. The film is about the organisation of the Pride Parade for homosexuals in Jerusalem, which was strongly opposed by religious factions and even the local government. THE DICTATOR HUNTER by local Dutch director Klaartje Quirijns was given a special mention by the jury for a stirring story of the commitment and determination of a Human Rights Watch lawyer fighting to have former President Habré of Chad brought to trial.

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Circuit Editor    


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About Festival Circuit

Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

Coverage of the world of film festivals on the international film festival circuit.

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