IDFA is pleased to announce the 63 projects selected to pitch at IDFA Forum, the festival’s co-production and co-financing market. The selection welcomes both established filmmakers and new voices to the international stage, including projects from Maria Ramos, Mila Turajlić, Andrei Ujica, and Kim Longinotto, while the new media selection includes projects by Klasien van de Zandschulp, Sacha Wares, Toby Coffey, Joe Bini, and Sam Green. With a new award, an additional presentation category, and the market’s most diverse lineup to date, the 28th edition of IDFA Forum promises to be a landmark industry event—one that is sure to define the coming year of documentary film. The Forum takes place online from November 16 to 20.
“We were impressed by the exceptional quality of projects this year. All the productions have been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another, but this selection also shows the resilience of the industry and the creativity of filmmakers and artists. Directors, producers, and makers are still creating outstanding projects, and the Forum is finding new ways to support them in finding production and financing partners to realize their work,” said Adriek Van Nieuwenhuijzen, Head of Industry at IDFA.
The year’s selection is notably diverse, with a strong representation of female pitch teams. In the Forum, women make up 64% of the producers and directors; in the DocLab Forum, 46% are women. The entire Forum selection includes projects from 45 different production and co-production countries.
Notable filmmakers in the selection include Maria Ramos, pitching the new investigative project Justice under Suspicion on state rule in present-day Brazil. Ambulance director Mohamed Jabaly is back with Al Haya Helwa (Life is Beautiful), an intimate story about the filmmaker’s cultural-exchange-turned-exile in the Norwegian arctic. Other highlights include Things We Said Today, the new found-footage project from Andrei Ujica on New York’s daily life during the summer of 1965, when the Beatles came to town for their first concert at Shea Stadium.
A strong slate of emerging directors and producers also join the pitch lineup. Among them are Meena Nanji and Zippy Kimundu with the project Testament, tracing the colonial atrocities of Kenya, and Everlane Moraes and Felipe Tomazelli with the project Germano Black Society, on the social columnist who is raising the visibility of black culture in Brazil.
Rough cuts in the selection include Mila Turajlić’s The Labudovic Reels, which dives into the vaults of Josip Broz Tito’s official cameraman. Up-and-coming directors include Victoria Fiore with the rough cut Hide and Seek (Nascondino), a first-hand look at Naples’ often-glorified criminal underworld and its impact on one local family.
15 projects have been selected for IDFA DocLab Forum, the market’s new media strand. Drawing on different disciplines and backgrounds, the selected artists use a wide spectrum of formats in their work: live performances, full-dome experiences, web-based interactives, virtual reality, and dance, to name a few.
Selection highlights include names such as Joe Bini and Sam Green, who present the immersive live cinema piece 32 Sounds, a sound-art project that is also accessible to audiences who are blind or deaf. Klasien van de Zandschulp is joined by Natalie Dixon to present the interactive web series Good Neighbours, on the hilarious and uncomfortable truths of neighborhood-watch communities. Known from the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio, Sacha Wares and Toby Coffey present the exhibition Inside: A Journey Into the World of Outsider Artist Judith Scott on the celebrated 20th century artist.
Newcomers to watch include Sunghwan Lee, presenting the virtual reality project Carving with Memories: Ihyangjeong, and Soumya Mukhopadhyay, presenting the web-based experience A South Asian Queer Pamphlet.
In addition to the Forum’s regular presentation categories, 15 projects* have been selected for an additional category designed to support filmmakers through the pandemic. The new, temporary Forum section includes pre-arranged one-on-one meetings with financiers, commissioning editors, and other decision makers, offering project teams the chance to follow up on industry connections made at other online markets this year. Notable projects in this category include How to Build a Library by Maia Lekow and Christopher King, Anhell69 by newcomer Theo Montoya, and Draw for Change!, the new documentary series by Laura Nix, Kim Longinotto, Nada Riyadh, Karen Vazquez Guadarrama, Arya Rothe, and Anna Moiseenko.
This year, IDFA Forum is pleased to introduce the IDFA Forum Award for Best Pitch (€2,500), to be handed out by an international jury in the market’s film and new media sections. The award winners will be announced online at the Forum’s celebratory closing event on Friday, November 20.
*A previous version of this article listed 14 extra projects.
IDFA Forum is supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands and Creative Europe Media.