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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.


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, sold out, sold out".

Sold out? The film about the Romanian amputee who is living in a squat tenement house? Sold out? The film about the Filipino housewife about to have her/his sex reassignment surgery? Sold out? The one about the grandfather's emotional return to his yak farm in rural Kazahkstan? That is sold out?

The truth is, this Festival is hot....and crowded. The lobbies are filled with people, en route to watch films that are downright depressing most of the time. But hey, I am also on the queue. There is something (masochistic?) challenging about being enthusiastic about films that offer a sometimes very bleak picture of our world. And yet, the audiences here are several notches about enthusiastic, approaching each film with great excitement and curiosity.

In the minutes before a film begins, there is so much palpable excitement in the room. Perhaps it is because of the anticipated shared experience or just the buzz that comes with a festival, but the desire on the part of IDFA audiences to "go there", to let themselves experience things that are not always pleasant, feels remarkably sane and invigorating. They are among the most loyal audiences I've ever seen, and I've been to many festivals.

So, while it is frustrating to hear the words "sold out", it is also quite heartening to know that at the same time that CASINO ROYALE and BORAT are playing down the street, that these people have chosen to come to the IDFA be informed, to be moved, to be challenged, to even be made depressed. All on a Wednesday night. Next....

Sandy Mandelberger
Online Festival Dailies Editor

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About IDFA International Documentary Festival Amsterdam

Online Dailies of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 


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