In celebration of documentary film and the power of standing together, IDFA is thrilled to announce the first films selected for its 33rd edition: 30 titles in the Best of Fests program, and 10 titles selected by Gianfranco Rosi for the Top 10 program. Through an initial selection that spans award-winners, newcomers, and hidden gems, IDFA sets the tone for a festival edition that is significant in its creative scope. IDFA 2020 runs November 18 to 29 in Amsterdam venues, in addition to online screenings (November 18 to December 6) and online markets (November 16 to 20).
With 30 films that lit up the selections of Berlin, Sundance, Cannes, and many more, the Best of Fests program applauds the irreplaceable work of film festivals today. This year more than ever, IDFA honors the festivals that, in spite of incredible circumstances, continue to champion the art of documentary filmmaking. The initial Best of Fests selection highlights both audience favorites and award-winning masterpieces. More titles to be announced.
Audience must-sees include The Truffle Hunters by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, a stylized glimpse into the northern Italians who live and die by the elusive white truffle—a Sundance premiere that also shone in the Cannes and Telluride selections. Elizabeth Lo’s meditative Stray, an award-winning film from Hot Docs also selected for the Tribeca Film Festival, poetically observes Turkish city life through the eyes of stray dogs. In The Foundation Pit, a notable premiere at this year’s Berlinale, Andrey Gryazev uses found footage to construct a collective message from Russian citizens to Putin's government. Meanwhile, Garrett Bradley’s Time, having scored a Directing Award at Sundance, looks to the urgent issue of mass-incarcerated African Americans through one mother’s 20-year fight to free her husband.
For cinephiles, Radu Ciorniciuc’s exquisitely shot Acasă, My Home observes the incredible life of a Roma family on the fringes of Romanian society, a winner of no less than four awards at festivals across Europe and North America. CPH:DOX-selected IWOW: I Walk on Water*, considered Khalik Allah’s best cinematic accomplishment, puts the street life of Harlem, New York under a new lens through a collage of 8mm, 16mm, and video formats. Other artistic highlights include: Iryna Tsilyk’s The Earth Is Blue as an Orange, one of the year's cinematic hits at Berlinale and Sundance, which beautifully explores how the Ukrainian war can be transformed into film; Elvis Sabin Ngaibino’s Makongo, the double-awarded Cinéma du Réel film that traces the lives of two young Aka pygmies in the Central African Republic; and Berlinale-favorite Notes from the Underworld by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, which honors Austria’s documentary tradition with an ode to the gangsters of 1960s Vienna.
In the Top 10 program, renowned Italian filmmaker and IDFA 2020 Guest of Honor Gianfranco Rosi presents a nomadic journey through his world of cinema, in the process offering valuable entry points to decode his own oeuvre. Illustrating Rosi’s masterful approach, the selection invites audiences to re-discover the filmmaker through discovering the films that helped shape him, which include documentary, hybrid, and fiction titles.
Italian masterpieces such as Anna by Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli and 10 short films by Vittorio De Seta, never before shown at IDFA, invite film lovers to experience an Italian cinema they may be unfamiliar with. Unexpected selections—ranging from Robert Kramer’s Route One/USA all the way to Jack Hazan’s A Bigger Splash—reveal a lesser-known side of Rosi, in which the filmmaker opens his home library to share the films that had an impact on him. Finally, fiction films such as Roberto Rossellini's Francesco, giullare di Dio round out the Top 10 selection, illustrating Rosi’s wide-ranging and eclectic, yet always moving, influences.
IDFA puts health and safety first. The 33rd festival edition will take place in Amsterdam and online, with comprehensive hygiene measures in place at all on-site venues. See the latest updates at idfa.nl/covid-19.
*This title is no longer in the selection.