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International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

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highlights

  • The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam was founded in 1988 in order to stimulate national and international documentary culture.
  • IDFA looks for documentaries that are interesting from a stylistic point of view, or are particularly innovative, relevant to social issues and successfully manage to communicate with their audiences.

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

Surprisingly, this festival still seems to be very much below the radar in North America unless you happen to be that rarist of rare breeds, a person who makes a living in the doc world. Well, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam is pretty much the Grand Poobah of documentary fests, with all due respect to Hot Docs, Copenhagen, Sheffield, SilverDocs, and Full Frame. IDFA typically premieres major international documentaries that will eventually make their way through other premiere events, including Sundance - though watch your step with that one if your project is American. Doc lovers and insiders from all around the world come to IDFA, and the local audience is very supportive, with screenings often sold out at some beautiful venues - but be careful of the mice that run around inside. They typically scurry away when the house is full, but I wouldn't be putting my bag or purse on the ground, and definitely not food!Located well within the city center of Amsterdam, part of the festival's charm is the city itself, with its extremely tolerant and very diverse citizens. And while still a bit more docile then, say, a Sundance or SXSW in terms of nightly events, the festival or its guests manage to put on lively soirees. The festival also hosts a nightly chat series hosted by famed Canadian documentary filmmaker, Peter Wintonick - who serves as IDFA's annual unofficial guru-in-residence.

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