Announcing Luminous selection and Competitions for Dutch, Short, Kids & Docs, Student films

    Today IDFA proudly presents the first competitions of IDFA 2019, alongside non-competitive sections Luminous, IDFA on Stage, Spotlight: Venezuela, and Spotlight: Sudan. 72 titles have been added to the fast-approaching IDFA 2019 program.

    IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary

    The Dutch competition includes 11 world premieres from the country’s leading documentary filmmakers. Maasja Ooms’ Punks observes three at-risk youngsters struggling to cope with the system that failed them. The Death of Antonio Sànchez Lomas marks the return of filmmakers Ramón and Salvador Gieling with an exploration of trauma in post-Franco Spain. Titles by emerging filmmakers include Marina Meijer’s Carrousel, a rawly minimalist film that gets up close and personal with a group of marginalized young men in Rotterdam, and Sophie Dros’ King of the Cruise, a humorous portrait of a Scottish aristocrat at sea, among other section highlights. The IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary is made possible by NPO 2Doc.

    See the selection

    IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

    Now a premiere-only section, IDFA’s shorts competition offers 12 titles with a wide variety of styles and experimentations. Selfie (dir. Nayra Sanz Fuentes), from the co-writer of Victor Moreno’s The Hidden City (IDFA 2018), stretches the temporality of the short film form with prolonged takes of a distorted Chicago cityscape. Animation-meets-archive film Mizuko (dir. Katelyn Rebelo, Kira Dane), winner of the If/Then Global Pitch at DOC NYC, looks to Japanese grieving rituals after an abortion. Fast-paced portrait film Steve Is Undocumented (dir. Michael Barth, Kauai Moliterno), from the team behind VPRO IDFA Audience Award-winner Don’t Be a Dick About It, plummets into the paradoxical life of a xenophobic club bouncer.

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    The non-competitive premiere section Luminous presents 18 timeless, cinematic films that redeem the beauty of human relationships, expression, and empathy. Andrey A. Tarkovsky makes new meaning in the legacy of his famous father in Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer, as does Mira Burt-Wintonick in Wintopia, on the late IDFA team member Peter Wintonick. Renowned artists star in Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power (dir. Nancy Lang, Peter Raymont), on the acclaimed author’s little-seen private life; Max Richter’s Sleep (dir. Natalie Johns), plunging into the artistic process of the lauded German composer; and A Comedian in a Syrian Tragedy (dir. Rami Farah), an intimate portrait of dissident Syrian actor Fares Helou. More titles to be announced.

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    IDFA Competition for Student Documentary

    With 12 titles, all world or international premieres, the student competition reveals a committed generation of filmmakers shaping the future of documentary film. Youth participation in politics takes center stage in Objector (dir. Molly Stuart), in which a young Israeli woman rejects the army with radical politics of resistance, and Summerwar (dir. Moritz Schulz), with a Ukrainian summer camp that trains the nationalist soldiers of tomorrow. Themes of family and home also come to bear: No Crying at the Dinner Table (dir. Carol Nguyen) breaks the emotional barriers of one Vietnamese-Canadian family; No Man’s Land (dir. Charlotte Müller) shares the political plight of women who choose to have a child on their own in France; while Silent Storm (dir. Anaïs Moog) haptically explores the texture of mourning through oceanic celluloid vistas.

    See the selection

    IDFA Competition for Kids & Docs

    IDFA’s competition for youth documentaries presents 12 titles, each with a strong focus on young heroes in the making. After winning Best First Appearance at IDFA 2017, Simon Lereng Wilmont is back with the world premiere of Bird Boy, a poetic portrayal of an adolescent bird keeper in Azerbaijan. Feature-length Anbessa (dir. Mo Scarpelli), a film for all ages, gives a window into the social realities of Ethiopia through an imaginative young protagonist. The international premiere of Dear Darkness introduces newcomer Samuel N. Schwarz with a sensorial short film on the experience of a twelve-year-old girl who is blind. Finally, the world premiere of high-drama film Foreplay (dir. Anne van Campenhout) takes another courageous step for Dutch youth documentaries, exploring sex education in a local high school.

    See the selection

    IDFA on Stage

    The non-competitive program section includes a series of live events that span films with live music, new media performances, and multidisciplinary shows. Among them, Andreï Ujica’s 1995 documentary Out of the Present makes its return to IDFA with the Dutch premiere of the live cinema version, complete with live soundtrack by British Sea Power. Co-presented with Flemish arts center De Brakke Grond, Belgian production True Copy (by theater company BERLIN) gives the floor to master art forger Geert Jan Jansen, drawing the audience into a documentary play on the art of deception. More titles to be announced. IDFA on Stage is supported by Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Zabawas Foundation.

    See the selection

    Spotlight: Venezuela & Spotlight: Sudan

    Diving into the urgent developments unfolding in Venezuela and Sudan, the non-competitive sections include five films and talks with the directors. With the Spotlights, IDFA aims to increase awareness, promote solidarity, and send a signal to the filmmakers: IDFA is standing by their side.

    From Venezuela, IDFA presents the world premiere of The Cause (dir. Andrés Figueredo), with undercover cameras rolling for over half a decade in Venezuela’s corrupt prison system, alongside award-winning film The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (dir. Kim Bartley, Donnacha O'Briain, 2003).

    From Sudan, IDFA presents the Dutch premieres of Khartoum Offside (dir. Marwa Zein), with women football players who dream of playing for Sudan in the Women’s World Cup, and Talking About Trees (dir. Suhaib Gasmelbari), the Berlinale award-winner with four filmmakers who fight tooth and nail to revive an old Sudanese cinema. Finally, Beats of the Antonov (dir. Hajooj Kuka, 2014) scrutinizes Sudan’s national identity by celebrating traditional music making.

    See Spotlight: Venezuela
    See Spotlight: Sudan

    Every week in October, IDFA presents new festival selections. The final selected titles will be announced on Wednesday, October 23rd, during the IDFA 2019 press conference—available to stream online at

    IDFA’s competition program is supported by Ammodo. IDFA’s audience program is supported by Fonds 21, Creative Europe Media, VSBfonds, and Democracy & Media Foundation.