During IDFA, creative documentaries take centre stage. This means that IDFA chooses films which express the filmmaker’s point of view in a creative and cinematic manner. IDFA searches for documentaries that are cinematically intriguing or innovative, are relevant or highly topical to society at large, and stimulate the viewer to reflect, discuss and ask questions. IDFA strives for an international, diverse, topical and politically committed programme. IDFA is the biggest documentary film festival in the world.
The exchange of ideas and knowledge is one of the pillars of IDFA. Each year, the festival complements its documentaries with a broad range of educational activities. These programmes ensure that the transmission of knowledge isn’t a one-way street, but rather an open dialogue. This festival screens Documentaries in categories that include: Feature, Short and Debut Documentaries. Sections include Kids and Docs, International Panorama, Dutch Docs and IDFA workshop productions.
Aside from the festival, IDFA consists of three other components: the Jan Vrijman Fund, the FORUM and Docs for Sale. All of these were established in order to improve the international climate for creative documentaries. The Jan Vrijman Fund offers support to documentary projects and festivals in developing countries, the FORUM is Europe’s biggest co-financing market for international documentary productions, and Docs for Sale is an international documentary market where buyers, sales agents and distributors can see a selection from the best creative documentaries of the past year. Together, these activities have propelled IDFA to its current, top-ranked status within the world of creative documentary cinema.
Awards include: Joris Ivens Award for best feature length documentary: € 12.500, Silver Wolf Award for best documentary between 30 and 60 minutes: € 10.000, Silver Cub Award for best short documentary (up to 30 minutes): € 5.000, First Appearance for best debut: € 2.500, Movies that Matter Award for best Documentary with a human rights theme: € 2.500, Audience Award: € 5.000, MovieSquad DOC U! Award by a jury consisting of people aged 14- 18: € 2.000
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