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IDFA International Documentary Festival Amsterdam

The 23rd edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the world's largest and most prestigious film event devoted exclusively to non-fiction film and media, will run from 17 - 28 November in the city of Amsterdam.


Polish Spy Thriller To Open 2009 IDFA

    The world of documentary film has descended on the city of Amsterdam for IDFA, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the world's largest and most diverse showcase of non-fiction film from around the world. With documentaries showing muscle at the theatrical box office, as well as providing a well of programming for new electronic distribution formats, the hunger for the real is greater than ever. By offering a diverse program of film premieres, special...

IDFA Awards Announced In Amsterdam

Sunday, November 30--------IDFA came to a smashing and glamorous climax last evening at the IDFA Awards Ceremony. Winning the Joris Ivens Competition, the Festival's most prestigious prize, was Burma VJ--Reporting From A Closed Country by Danish director Anders Ostergaard. The film is a gripping chronicle of the 2007 uprising by Burmese monks, which creates a political and religious crisis in a country that is viewed as the most repressive regime on earth. Nearly all the footage in this fascin...

Closing Tidbits From IDFA

  Saturday, November 29-----As IDFA began to wind down in anticipation of its Awards Gala this evening, here are some bits and pieces announced or experienced in the past week:   CROSS MEDIA PROJECTS AT IDFA FORUM In addition to the traditional documentaries that were pitched at the IDFA Forum this past week, three projects were invited that deliberately cross media. Thee include the ambitious 24berlin-A Day In The Life, marking the 20th anniversary of the fa...

Documentary Viewing In A Plush Red Seat

Saturday, November 29---------One of the pleasures for me in attending the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is the theatrical experience of viewing "serious cinema" in a plush environment. With its move last year to the Rembrandtplein, IDFA has been able to license two of Amsterdam's premiere theaters: the art deco movie palace the Tuschinski and the modern multiplex Pathe Munt. Both theaters offer a widescreen and "big" presentation of what is often...

Nominations Announced At IDFA Documentary Festival

Burma VJ (Denmark/Sweden/England/Norway   Friday, November 28-------As IDFA enters its final weekend, the front runners in the various competition categories have been announced. At the nightly IDFA Talks, an assembly of filmmakers, producers, programmers and IDFA staff anxiously awaited the announcements of the final nominees in the main Festival competitions. The list is included below, with information on the award winners coming soon on this blog. ...

Restrospective Programs At IDFA

Thursday, November 27-----While the accent at IDFA is on the new crop of documentaries being created around the world, there is also a healthy respect for career retrospectives to showcase for both filmmakers and audiences alike the themes and techniques of earlier non-fiction masters.   At this year’s event, the Festival is presenting two such retrospectives. 110 Years of Joris Ivens, named for the most famous Dutch documentarian Joris Ivens, is celebrating the 110th birthday of th...

Finding Financing At The IDFA Forum

Thursday, November 27------Yesterday saw the close of one of IDFA’s most important professional ventures, the Forum for International Co-Financing of Documentaries. IDFA organized the first Forum in 1993 and has seen the event grow in stature, number of projects and interest from film and television funders and programmers. The original aim was to establish an international network that would facilitate contact between independent documentary producers and television broadcasters. This has e...

Orientation at IDFA

Wednesday, November 26-----I arrived at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam yesterday to find….an event very much in full swing. The Festival had, in fact, opened the Thursday before, so the hundreds of international visitors who have descended to Amsterdam were already fully oriented. I’ve attended IDFA several times in the past, but this is the first time since it fully relocated from its traditional location on the Leidseplein to the more upscale surroundings of the Re...

East Side Stories: Focus On India At IDFA

Tuesday, November 25------As part of the parallel Amsterdam India Festival, IDFA is presenting a program it calls East Side Stories, featuring 17 contemporary documentaries from India. This unique look at the emerging documentary movement in one of Asia's most complex and thriving cultures offers a rare look at different aspects of this fascinating region, a country in transition trying to balance its age-old traditions with its new status of economic development and increased international cl...

DocLab Explores Connection Between Documentary And New Media

  Monday, November 24--------A new addition to this year's IDFA is the introduction of Doclab, a new program section that explores the relationship between new media and the documentary form. The main theme for this year is data visualisation.   In all modern cultures, a dizzying amount of information is compiled by government bodies, market researchers and large companies like Google. In aggregate, this data offers an accurate if exhausting account of our colle...


Sunday, November 23-----Making its international premiere at IDFA this weekend is the Peruvian documentary Lucanamarca. The film tells the intriguing and disturbing story of the 1983 massacre of 69 residents of the remote village of Lucanamarca, who were brutally murdered by members of the Maoist guerrilla movement known as Shining Path. Among the victims were numerous women and children. The bloodbath was an act of retaliation for the murder of one of the movement's leaders and the first in a...

A Man Who Speaks His Mind: Garry Kasparov at IDFA

  Saturday, November 22-----Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov is due in town today to attend the screening of In The Holy Fire Of Revolution, Masha Novikova’s film about the daily harassment of opposition political leaders in Putin’s Russia.   Kasparov was a major international chess champion who won every possible award in the game over a career that spanned nearly 20 years. However, his post-chess campaign for human rights has made him one of Russia's...

IDFA Presents The Films of Nikolaus Geyrhalter

  Our Daily Bread Friday, November 21---------IDFA has selected Austrian documentary filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter to present the annual Top Ten program at this year's Festival. As part of the program, Geyrhalter will present a few of his own films and other documentaries that have influenced him. Among those Geyrhalter films being showcased are Pripyat (1999), which won the Diagonale Grand Prize Award at the Diagonale Film Festival, as well as the SCAM Award at...

IDFA Opens Tonight With Local Documentary Auteur

Pathe Tuschinski Foyer  Thursday, November 20------The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, better known for its acronym of IDFA, is one of the world's great non-fiction film events. It is truly an international celebration, with more than 300 documentaries screenings, along with daily debates and talkshows, and the accompanying Forum, Docs for Sale and IDFAcademy professional events. Everything is centered around the new home of the Festival in and around Amst...

Final Impressions of Amsterdam..........

Tuesday, December 4----As the 19th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) is now history, this attendee is left with these final impressions of Amsterdam..... Sandy Mandelberger Online Festival Dailies Editor ...

Already Looking To The Future

Monday, December 4----With the 19th edition of the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) just ending on Sunday night, the organizers have already begun to strategize for next year's 20th anniversary. As reported by Geoffrey Macnab in the last edition of the IDFA Dagkrant Dailies, a clearer picture is beginning to emerge of what shape IDFA will take as it celebrates its 20th anniversary (a definite milestone for any festival event). The main change will be that the Festiva...

Denmark Sweeps IDFA Awards

Monday, December 4---- The 19th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) came to a rousing end on Saturday evening, with the awarding of the IDFA prizes in a number of categories. Films from Denmark made a remarkably strong showing, winning several major prizes at the Awards Ceremony held at De Zwijger. The VPRO Joris Ivens Award for the best long documentary was presented to Danish director Pernille Rose Grønkjær for her documentary THE MONASTERY--MR. VIG &...

Documentary Subsidy Cutbacks In The Netherlands

Saturday, December 2----Despite the high profile given Dutch documentary films at this year's International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA), and the apparently enthusiastic reaction from Amsterdam audiences, the Friday edition of the IDFA Dagkrant Daily reported that a crisis is looming. Correspondant Jorn Rossing Jensen reported that local documentary filmmaking has entered "a financial limbo", following the former government's budget cuts for the public broadcasters and the transi...

Documentaries And The Web: A Date With Destiny

Saturday, December 2----At the "think tank" conference dubbed DocAgora, one of the many parallel events here at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA), the marketing, financing and sales opportunities for documentaries on the web was discussed in a lively debate. One of the most vocal proponents was James Fabricant, the head of marketing and content for MySpace UK. Fabricant was one of several speakers who offered some glimpses into the way that documentary filmmakers can...

The Face Of Iraq At IDFA

Saturday, December 2-----It certainly makes logical sense that one of the world’s largest documentary film festivals would have a number of films that focused on the troubles in Iraq, but the sheer volume of them has been, at least for this journalist, an eye-opening and yet terribly difficult experience. IDFA has spared no one with some excellent and heart-rending films that continue to haunt. The films dealing with the Iraq war, at least the ones that I’ve seen, fall into two distinct ...

IDFA Announces Nominations

Friday, December 1----As the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) heads into its final weekend, the speculation is growing on which films will win the major prizes at the ceremonies on Saturday night. There has been, as one would expect at a festival with many heart-felt opinions, many passionate discussions on the merits (or demerits) of certain films. Last evening, the nominations were announced for IDFA’s competition programs: the Joris Ivens Competition for best lon...

So, How About Those IDFA Audiences....

Thursday, November 30----OK, I'm on the line where you stand to pick up your free Guest Tickets to the public screenings. I have picked out three films to see.....very disturbing and depressive subjects about mortality and death and the decay of the medical system. Topics of personal interest to me these days. Very confident that it will be only myself and some older lady, sobbing into her handkerchief. I get to the bubbly Dutch woman who is arranging the tickets and get told..."Sold out, sol...

Explosion of Documentary-Only Film Festivals

Thursday, November 30----While it is true that most major international film festivals do showcase important documentary films, the explosion of documentary-only film festivals, as evidenced here at the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) in Amsterdam, is nothing less than an explosion. With brochures littering the industry areas, it is amazing and heartening to see such a massive public interest in the documentary form. So, instead of writing a long article, I am simply going to l...

What Does God Look Like?

Wednesday, November 29----So, what does God look like to you?? That is the provocative question posed by filmmaker Nathan Lang, as he travelled the United States in a coast-to-coast adventure to examine the religious pulse of ordinary Americans. Going to seven different cities and constructing a studio box with hidden video cameras, Lang has assembled over 100 hours of candid footage that will eventually become the documentary feature film GOD IN THE BOX (great title, Nathan). Lang is in Amst...

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Online Dailies of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 


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