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International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
IDFA logo
LocationAmsterdam, Netherlands
Hosted byIDFA

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is the world's largest documentary film festival held annually since 1988 in Amsterdam. Over a period of twelve days, it screens more than 300 films, sells more than 250,000 tickets and welcomes more than 3,000 guests.

The festival is an independent, international meeting place for audiences and professionals to see a diverse (in form, content and cultural background) program of high-quality documentaries. IDFA selects creative and accessible documentaries, which offer new insights into society. In its mission statement[1], IDFA says it ‘strives to screen films with urgent social themes that reflect the spirit of the time in which they are made’.

The festival was initially held at the Leidseplein area in the centre of Amsterdam. It has since spread to a number of other locations, including Tuschinski Cinema and EYE Filmmuseum. Apart from its international film program, the variety of genres and the many European and world premieres featured each year, the festival also hosts debates, forums and workshops. Since 2007, the festival's New Media program IDFA DocLab showcases the best interactive non-fiction storytelling and explores how the digital revolution is reshaping documentary art.

In addition to the festival, IDFA has developed several professional activities, contributing to the development of filmmakers and their films at all stages. At co-financing and co-production market IDFA Forum filmmakers and producers pitch their plans to financiers; at Docs for Sale new documentaries are on offer to programmers and distributors; the IDFA Bertha Fund supports filmmakers and documentary projects in developing countries; and the IDFAcademy offers an international training programs for up-and-coming doc talents.

IDFA was founded by Ally Derks, who remained at the helm from 1988 until 2017, when she stepped down. Barbara Visser oversaw the 2017 edition as interim director. In January 2018, Syrian film producer Orwa Nyrabia was appointed[2] as the new artistic director of IDFA.


The best new documentaries of the year compete in IDFA's main competition programs:

  • The IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary for best documentary longer than 70 minutes.

Prize: €15,000 (The jury also presents a Special Jury Award)

  • The IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary for best documentary between 40 and 70 minutes.

Prize: €10,000 (The jury also presents a Special Jury Award)

  • The IDFA Award for Best Short Documentary for best documentary under 40 minutes.

Prize: €5,000 (The jury also presents a Special Jury Award)

  • The IDFA Award for Best First Appearance for best debut film.

Prize: €10,000 (The jury also presents a Special Jury Award)

  • The IDFA Award for Best Student Documentary for best student documentary from film academies around the world.

Prize: €5,000 (The jury also presents a Special Jury Award)

  • The Beeld en Geluid IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary for best Dutch documentary.

Prize: €7,500 (The jury also presents a Special Jury Award)

Alongside the competition programs, five awards are awarded during IDFA:

  • VPRO IDFA Audience Award for best film as voted by audience.

Prize: €5,000

  • Amsterdam Human Rights Award for the documentary that best depicts the theme of human rights.

Prize: €25,000

  • Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds Documentary Scholarship, a €50.000 grant for a documentary talent, allowing the recipient to make a documentary about a subject of their choice.
  • Filmfonds DocLab Interactive Grant, a cash prize for the development of interactive projects within the Netherlands.
  • Karen de Bok Talent Award for the winner of the IDFAcademy & NPO-fonds workshop. It is the successor of the Media Fund Award Documentary. The NPO Fund awards the winner € 25.000 to further develop the project in collaboration with a producer and a broadcast.

Program sections

In addition to the competitions, IDFA presents several non-competitive film programs:

Regular programs

  • Masters

In this program section, the festival presents the latest documentaries by renowned documentary auteurs.

  • Best of Fests

In Best of Fests, the festival presents films that have made an impact on the international festival circuit this year.

  • Panorama

In this section, the festival presents films from all over the world, which are thought-provoking in their form and choice of theme.

  • Paradocs

The films in this section showcase what is going on beyond the frame of traditional documentary filmmaking, on the borders between film and art, truth and fiction, and narrative and design.

  • Music Documentary

Screenings of many films from this program are accompanied by live performances connected to the films.


In addition to the regular programs, each year the festival presents programs like the Queer Day, featuring new documentaries about LGBTQ related topics; Focus programs which zoom in on aspects like sound design, editing and cinematography or a topical theme; a themed program by DocLab, featuring live events and an interactive exhibition; and a retrospective of a filmmaker who also chooses a personal documentary Top 10.

Award winners

IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary (formerly: Joris Ivens Award)

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
1988 Birthplace Unknown Karin Junger  Netherlands
1988 Ksjsiner Ruben Gevorksjanz  Soviet Union
1989 Šķērsiela Ivars Seleckis  Soviet Union
1990 Christo in Paris D. Maysles  United States
1991 Dreams and Silence Omar Al-Quattan  Belgium
1992 La Memoria del agua Hector Faver  Spain
1993 Belovy Victor Kossakovsky  Russia
1994 Solo, de wet van de Favela Jos de Putter  Netherlands
1995 Délits Flagrants Raymond Depardon  France
1996 Atman Pirjo Honkasalo  Finland /  Germany
1997 Auf der Kippe Andrei Schwartz  Germany
1998 Fotoamator / Photographer Dariusz Jablonski  Poland
1999 André Hazes - Zij gelooft in mij John Appel  Netherlands
2000 The Sea That Thinks Gert de Graaff  Netherlands
2001 Family Phie Ambo & Sami Saif  Denmark
2002 Stevie Steve James  United States
2003 Checkpoint Yoav Shamir  Israel
2004 Stand van de maan Leonard Retel Helmrich  Netherlands
2005 My Grandmother's House Adán Aliaga  Spain
2006 The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun Pernille Rose Grønkjær  Denmark
2007 Stranded Gonzalo Arijon  France
2008 Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country Anders Østergaard  Denmark
2009 Last Train Home Lixin Fan  Canada
2010 Position Among the Stars Leonard Retel Helmrich  Netherlands
2011 Planet of Snail Seung-jun Yi  South Korea
2012 First Cousin Once Removed Alan Berliner  United States
2013 Song from the Forest Michael Obert  Germany
2014 Of Men and War Laurent Bécue-Renard  France /   Switzerland
2015 Don Juan Jerzy Sladkowski  Sweden /  Finland
2016 Nowhere to Hide Zaradasht Ahmed  Norway /  Sweden
2017 The Other Side of Everything[3] Mila Turajlić  Serbia
2018 Reason [4] Anand Patwardhan  India

VPRO IDFA Audience Award

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
1988 The Last Judgement Herz Frank  Soviet Union
1989 Skierskala Ivars Seleckis  Soviet Union
1990 In Memory of the Day Passed By Šarūnas Bartas  Lithuania
1991 Djembéfola Laurent Chevallier  France
1992 Black Harvest Robin Anderson & Bob Connolly  Australia
1993 Belovy V. Kossakovsky  Russia
1994 Choice and Destiny Tsipi Reibenbach  Israel
1995 Anne Frank Remembered Jon Blair  United Kingdom
1996 Blue Eyed B. Verhaag  Germany
1997 Vision Man W. Long  Sweden
1998 Twee Vaders Ko van Reenen  Netherlands
1999 Crazy Heddy Honigmann  Netherlands
2000 Desi Maria Ramos  Netherlands
2001 Offspring, B B. Stevens  Canada
2002 Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore  United States
2003 My Flesh and Blood Jonathan Karsh  United States
2004 The Yes Men Dan Ollman & Sarah Price & Chris Smith  United States
2005 Sisters in Law Kim Longinotto & Florence Ayisi  United Kingdom
2006 We Are Together / Thina simunye Paul Taylor  United Kingdom
2007 To See If I'm Smiling Tamar Yarom  Israel
2008 RiP: A Remix Manifesto Brett Gaylor  Canada
2009 The Cove Louie Psihoyos  United States

Special Jury Prize

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
1988 Hôtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie Marcel Ophüls  France /  United States
1988 The Power of Solovki Marina Goldovskaya  Soviet Union
1989 Skierskala Ivars Seleckis  Soviet Union
1990 The Collector E. Strömdahl  Sweden
1991 Djembéfola Laurent Chevallier  France
1992 Black Harvest Robin Anderson & Bob Connolly  Australia
1993 Mit Verlust ist zu Rechnen Ulrich Seidl  Austria
1994 Choice and Destiny Tsipi Reibenbach  Israel
1995 Picasso Would Have Made a Glorious Waiter Jonathan Schell  United States
1996 The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera Adam Simon  England
1997 Little Dieter Needs to Fly Werner Herzog  Germany
1998 Pavel and Lyalya / a Jerusalem Romance Victor Kossakovsky  Russia
1999 A Cry from the Grave Leslie Woodhead  England
2000 Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale Laurie Gwen & David Shapiro  United States
2001 Elsewhere Nikolaus Geyrhalter  Austria
2002 On Hitler's Highway Lech Kowalski  France
2003 The Corporation Mark Achbar  Canada
2004 Liberia: an Uncivil War Jonathan Stack & James Brabazon  United States
2005 Our Daily Bread Nikolaus Geyrhalter  Austria
2006 Tender’s Heat. Wild Wild beach Alexander Rastorguev  Russia
2007 Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go Kim Longinotto  United Kingdom
2008 Forgetting Dad Rick Minnich & Matthew Sweetwood  Germany /  United States
2009 The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers Judith Ehrlich & Rick Goldsmith  United States
2012 Teached Kelly Amis  United States
2013 A Letter to Nelson Mandela Khalo Matabane  South Africa /  Germany
2014 Something Better to Come Hanna Polak  Denmark /  Poland
2015 Ukrainian Sheriffs Roman Bondarchuk  Ukraine /  Latvia /  Germany
2016 Still Tomorrow Jian Fan  People's Republic of China

IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary (formerly: Silver Wolf Award)

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
1995 6 Open, 21 Closed Amit Goren  Israel
1996 Mr. Behrmann - Leben Traum Tod Andreas Voigt  Germany
1997 Gigi, Monica...& Bianca Yasmina Abdellaoui & Benoït Dervaux  Belgium
1998 Hephzibah Curtis Levy  Australia
1999 Les Enfants du Borinage - Lettre à Henri Storck Patric Jean  Belgium
2000 Jung (War) in the Land of the Mujaheddin Fabrizio Lazzaretti, Alberto Vendemmiati, Giuseppe Petitto  Italy
2001 Haj-Abba's Wives Mohsen Abdolvahab  Iran
2002 Interesting Times - the Secret of my Success Jinchuan Duan  Chile
2003 Surplus: Terrorized into Being Consumers Erik Gandini  Sweden
2004 Georgi and the butterflies Andrey Paounov  Bulgaria
2005 Before Flying Back to the Earth Arūnas Matelis  Lithuania
2006 Enemies of Happiness Eva Mulvad  Denmark
2007 To See If I'm Smiling Tamar Yarom  Israel
2008 Boris Ryzhy Aliona van der Horst  Netherlands
2009 Iron Crows Bong-Nam Park  South Korea
2010 People I Could Have Been And Maybe Am Boris Gerrets  Netherlands

IDFA Award for Best Short Documentary (formerly: Silver Cub Award)

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
2005 Butterfly Man Samantha Rebillet  Australia
2006 My Eyes Erlend E. Mo  Denmark
2007 The Tailor Oscar Pérez  Spain
2008 Slaves - An animated documentary Hanna Heilborn & David Aronowitsch  Sweden /  Denmark
2009 Six Weeks Marcin Janos Krawczyk  Poland

IDFA Award for Best First Appearance

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
1997 Anthem, an American Road Story Shainee Gabel & Kristin Hahn  United States
1998 Les Amoureux de Dieu / Howling for God Dan Alexe  Belgium
1999 Zwischen 2 Welten Bettina Haasen  Germany
2000 Hybrid Monteith McCollum  United States
2001 Suka Igor Voloshin  Russia
2002 Barbeiros M. Junkkonen  Finland
2003 My Flesh and Blood Jonathan Karsh  United States
2003 The very best day Pavel Medvedev  Russia
2004 Podul Peste Tisa Ileana Stanculescu  Romania
2005 The Angelmakers Astrid Bussink  Netherlands /  Scotland
2006 We Are Together / Thina simunye Paul Taylor  United Kingdom
2007 End of the Rainbow Robert Nugent  France /  Australia
2008 Constantin and Elena Andrei Dascalescu  Romania
2009 Colony Ross McDonnell & Carter Gunn  Ireland /  United States
2010 Kano: An American and His Harem Monster Jimenez  Philippines
2011 The Vanishing Spring Light Xun Yu  China /  Canada
2012 Soldier on the Roof Esther Hertog  Netherlands
2013 My Name Is Salt Farida Pacha   Switzerland /  India
2014 Drifter Gábor Hörcher  Hungary /  Germany
2015 When the Earth Seems to Be Light Salome Machaidze & Tamuna Karumidze & David Meskhi  Georgia

Movies that Matter Human Rights Award

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
2002 The Day I Will Never Forget Kim Longinotto  United Kingdom
2002 The Trials of Henry Kissinger Eugene Jarecki  United States /  United Kingdom /  Chile
2003 Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer Nick Broomsfield & Joan Churchill  United Kingdom
2004 The 3 Rooms of Melancholia Pirjo Honkasalo  Finland
2005 China Blue Micha X Peled  United States
2006 New Year Baby Socheata Poeuv  United States
2007 Jerusalem Is Proud to Present Nitzan Gilady  Israel
2008 Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country Anders Østergaard  Denmark

IDFA DOC U! Award for the youth jury’s favorite film (formerly: Moviesquad DOC U! Award)

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
2005 Shadya, Roy Roy Westler  Israel
2006 A Lesson of Belorussian Miroslaw Dembinski  Poland
2007 Planet B-Boy Benson Lee  United States
2008 Kassim the Dream Kief Davidson  United States
2009 The Yes Men Fix the World Andy Bichlbaum & Mike Bonanno  France /  United States
2010 Autumn Gold Jan Tenhaven  Germany
2011 The Last Days of Winter Mehrdad Oskouei  Germany
2012 Little World Marcel Barrena  Spain
2013 #chicagoGirl - The Social Network Takes on a Dictator Joe Piscatella  United States /  Syria

IDFA Award for Best Student Documentary

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
2007 Paradise – Three Journeys in This World Elina Hirvonen  Finland
2008 Shakespeare and Victor Hugo´s Intimacies Yulene Olaizola  Mexico
2009 Redemption Sabrina Wulff  Germany
2015 My Aleppo Melissa Langer  United States

IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film or website's release)
2010 Out My Window Katerina Cizek  Canada
2011 In Situ Antoine Viviani  France

Zapper Award (1994 -1996)

Year Film Director Nationality of Director
(at time of film's release)
1994 Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy David Munro  England
1995 My Vote is My Secret Chroniques Sud Africaines 1994 Julie Henderson & Thulani Mokoena & Donne Rundle  France
1996 Grenzeloze Liefde - Made in Japan Puck de Leeuw  Netherlands


  1. ^, IDFA. "Mission statement | IDFA". Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  2. ^ "Orwa Nyrabia appointed new artistic director of IDFA (exclusive)". Screen. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  3. ^ "Mila Turajlić: Nismo ispričali sopstvenu istoriju". Večernje novosti (in Serbian). 24 November 2017. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  4. ^ "IDFA 2018 winners revealed". Screen Daily. 22 November 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 January 2019, at 06:24
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