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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.


Jan Vrijman Fund May Be Discontinued

Wednesday, November 22---A financial assistance fund that has helped several dozen documentary films from developing countries get made over the past 10 years is having its future status debated during the upcoming International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA), the largest showcase of international documentaries on the festival circuit.

The Jan Vrijman Fund, founded by IDFA in 1998, has provided financial funding to 36 projects from 29 countries, investing a total sum of over US $500,000 in script and project development. The purpose of the Fund is to stimulate the documentary climate in smaller nations who do not have a long documentary tradition. The Fund also supports six documentary festivals in developing countries, giving local and regional filmmakers a critical showcase for their work.

The Fund is named in honor of Jan Vrijman, a pioneering Dutch journalist and filmmaker who provided the inspiration for and founded IDFA almost 15 years ago. Vrijman died in 1997 and the Fund was named in his honor to reflect his personal integrity, his grasp of international issues and the dedication to the art of documentary film.

IDFA Founder Jan Vrijman

For the past eight years, the Jan Vrijman Fund has received financial support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Fund was recently rejected for another four year funding cycle, even though its goals clearly fit in perfectly with the mandate of the Dutch Ministry of Developing Aid. The Fund's Board of Directors have filed a formal complaint and hearings will be held in The Hague on November 30, smack in the middle of the IDFA documentary festival.

Friends of IDFA and supporters of the Jan Vrijman Fund are being encouraged to let their opinions be known to the ministers who will decide the Fund's fate in the coming weeks. As if to underscore the effectiveness of the Fund's activities, IDFA has scheduled premiere screenings of 16 films that have received partial financing and development assistance from the innovative Jan Vrijman Fund.

Chin Peng, Malaysian Communist Party Leader

Among the films being screened are THE LAST COMMUNIST by Malaysian director Amir Muhammad. The controversial film about the exiled head of the Malayasian Communist Party has been banned in its native country. Four Jan Vrijman Fund films will screen in the main VPRO Joris Ivens Competition, as well as in the Silver Wolf Competition (for short documentaries) and the First Appearance section, for debut directors.

The directors of the films have been invited to Amsterdam to demonstrate the importance of the Fund to the development of a worldwide documentary film movement, especially in countries where the film industries are quite small and the political pressures quite great.

Sandy Mandelberger
Online Festival Dailies Editor

Comments (1)

please continue the fund

discontinuing the fund means we are going backwards in our understanding of the world as a whole. we will be like the "frog" under the coconut shell who don't know or understand the world outside the shell. This means our minds will be narrow-minded and shelfish.


kaasang from kota kinabalu, sabah, malaysia

p/s i was intending to apply for a fund from Jan Vrijman Fund but on hearing that this fund will no more be available, my heart really broke because i dont have the money...

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Online Dailies of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 


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