IDFA sets up new Filmmaker Support Department

    As a crucial part of IDFA's year-round activities, a new umbrella department has been created to support filmmakers. Overseen by new deputy director of IDFA, Isabel Arrate Fernandez, the Filmmaker Support Department brings together the IDFA Bertha Fund and IDFA's talent development department, allowing the launch of various filmmaker support schemes in 2020 and in the future.

    The IDFA Bertha Fund focuses on grants and tailor-made support for filmmakers and projects from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Talent development within IDFA offers a range of activities focusing on talent development and project development, combining a broad offer with a tailor-made approach.

    In the coming months and beyond, IDFA will strengthen the creative and financial support of filmmakers as one of its three main pillars, along with functioning as a key industry marketplace and sealing its position as the home of documentary film through the premiere festival in Amsterdam and an expanding online collection. Within the new department, the filmmaker is placed front and center, with the aim to diversify the documentary artform and narrative in the broadest sense. Through several key programs, selected filmmakers can participate in different kinds of activities and training initiatives depending on their projects, the stage they are in, and challenges that they are facing.

    A good example of a new such initiative is the recently launched IDFA Project Space, which provides creative and professional development to both recognized and emerging filmmakers who will take part in this multi-phase program consisting of a wide range of guidance and mentorship activities throughout the year.

    The Filmmaker Support Department will be overseen by the managing director of the IDFA Bertha Fund, Isabel Arrate Fernandez, who will be promoted to IDFA deputy director in this new, overarching position. She will be working closely with head of talent development Meike Statema and the teams of both the IBF and IDFAcademy.

    "Although we see the momentum documentary film is having, we also observe the increasing need for creatives to challenge the long-standing, standard forms, styles, and approaches that come with the prominent spot documentary has gained. At the same time, we feel that having a diversity of narratives, stories, and point of views is crucial," says Arrate Fernandez. "While IDFA has developed into an important marketplace, a yearly event not to be missed for the international industry, it is just as important to endorse and empower filmmakers from all over the world and support them in their creative work. It is necessary to cherish and safeguard a space where there is freedom to imagine the potential of what documentary cinema can be."

    Both the support categories of the IDFA Bertha Fund and the talent development programs will remain in place, including the activities for Dutch talent, providing them with an opportunity to connect internationally. At the same time, new programs will be added to widen the offer and develop a creative development track for filmmakers.

    Featured still: Kabul, City in the Wind by Aboozar Amini.

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