IDFA Sets Slate of 250 Films for Annual Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam
by Eugene Hernandez
The 17th IDFA, the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, will kick-off on November 18th with a screening of Leonard Retel Helmrich's "Stand Van de Maan" (Shape of the Moon). More than 250 docs will screen during the ten day festival, considered the most important doc event in the world. Festival director Ally Derks has unveiled the lineups for the four competition sections that make up this year's event (November 18-28). The program includes the Joris Ivens Competition for premiere docs, the First Appearance competition for debut films, the Silver Wolf Competition for shorter films, and the Amnesty International competition, surveying a selection of fest films.
IDFA's Joris Iven's Competition includes twenty feature films, from twelve countries. The winner will receive 12,500. Set to compete this year are: Don Boyd's "Andrew and Jeremy Get Married" from England, Danae Elon's "Another Road Home" from the U.S., Eduard Erne's "Bird People" (Vogelmenschen) from Germany, Sholeh Hejazi's "Camino Al Andar" from Spain, Mikael Wiström's "Compadre" from Sweden, Dumitru Budrala's "The Curse of the Hedgehog" (Blestemul Ariciului) from Romania, Thomas Balmès' "A Decent Factory" from Finland/France/England, Joop van Wijk's "Echoes of War" from The Netherlands, Lars Johansson's "The German Secret" (Den Tyske Hemmelighed) from Denmark, Alexandru Solomon's "The Great Communist Bank Robbery" (Marele Jaf Comunist) from Romania, Vicente Ferraz' "I Am Cuba, The Siberian Mammoth" (Soy Cuba, O Mamute Siberiano) from Brazil, Jonathan Stack's "Liberia: An Uncivil War" from the U.S., Roger Manley and Peter Friedman's "Mana - Beyond Belief" from France, Gunnar Källström and Michal Leszczylowky's "Rehearsals" (Repetitioner) from Sweden, Cao Guimares's "The Sould of the Bone" (A Alma Do Osso) from Brazil, Leonard Retel Helmrich's "Stand Van de Maan" (Shape of the Moon) from The Netherlands, Hu Tai-Li's "Stone Dream" (Shtou Mong) from Taiwan, Jeppe Rønde's "The Swenkas" from Denmark and Pola Rapaport's "Writer of O" (Ecrivain D'O) from France."
In the First Appearance competition, twenty new films will compete for the 2,500 award for best debut filmmaker. Set to screen in the section are Jochen Frank's "Afghans Don't Flirt" from Germany, Travis Klose's "Arakimentari" from the U.S./Japan, Celesta Davis' "Awful Normal" from the U.S., Margaret Brown's "Be Here To Love Me" from the U.S., Cameron Pearson's "Crazy Like They Are" from the U.S., Sylvestre Campe and Monica Schmiedt's "Extremo Sol" from Brazil, Huang Wenhai's "Floating Dust" from China, Mystelle Brabbee's "Highway Courtesans" from the U.S., Alejo Hoijman's "Home Made Money" from China, Ilil Alexander's "Keep Not Silent" Rogier Kappers' "Lomax The Songhunter" from The Netherlands, Max Kestner's "Max By Chance" from Denmark, Caroline Martel's "The Phantom of the Operator" from Canada, Ileana Stanculescu's "Podul Peste Tisa" from Romania, Margaret Loescher's "Pulled from the Rubble" from England, Vincent Hunter's "Some Distant Day" from Scotland, Marcelo Andrade Arreaza's "Venezuela Bolivariana: People & Struggle of the Fourth World War" from Venezuela, and Erwann Briand's "The Women of the Mount Ararat" from France.
Among the other programs at the festival, the Reflecting Images section, featuring nearly 70 films, offers docs that have screened at other international film festivals, while the Highlights of the Lowlands program will offer fourteen new Dutch documentaries. The Workshop Results program will screen three films from the IDFA Documentary Workshop, and the Kids & Docs program will include twenty films for young students.
Special programs set for 2004 include a retrospective of work from the Polish Film Academy in Lodz, films programmed during the 34 year career of VPRO's Jannie Langbrook, and the new ParaDocs, including experimental documentary work.
A true highlight of IDFA 2004 will no doubt be the Direct Cinema Debate, featuring a live discussion about classic and contemporary documentary cinema, with legendary doc directors Richard Leacock, Albert Maysles, D.A. Pennebaker and Frederick Wiseman. The chat will be moderated by Betsy McLane. Numerous other programs are on tap, including the Docs for Sale market for professionals, master classes, seminars, industry events, and workshops.
[ For more information, please visit: http://www.idfa.nl. ]
[EDITORS NOTE: indieWIRE Editor-in-Chief Eugene Hernandez will serve on the First Appearance jury at this year's festival and indieWIRE's Associate Editor Brian Brooks will also be in Amsterdam for indieWIRE's coverage of the festival.]