After more than 13 years as an integral member of the IDFA Program team, our beloved Raul Niño Zambrano is moving on to his next adventure. From the end of January he will be Head of Film Programmes at Sheffield DocFest, and we wish him all the best in the lead-up to the festival’s 2022 edition and beyond.
In his tenure at IDFA, Raul helped launch the careers of countless filmmakers and brought renewed attention to the documentary masters of our time, many of them lesser known within the Netherlands. With his profound expertise on Latin American cinema and LGBTQIA+ documentary films, his keen eye for emerging documentary talent, and his remarkable ability to make lasting personal connections with filmmakers, professionals, and audiences, Raul played a core role in IDFA and the international documentary community surrounding it.
Since coming to IDFA in 2008 after completing his studies in Media and Culture, Raul has contributed to an impressive range of landmark film programs at the festival. In 2011, he curated the focus program Cinema do Brasil, a sweeping presentation of contemporary Brazilian documentary cinema in tandem with a retrospective on auteur Eduardo Coutinho.
In 2013, he created Queer Day, an extensive program of screenings, panel discussions, and performances that showcases queer documentary stories from around the world, which has since become a mainstay of IDFA. In 2013, after a research trip to Malaysia, Cambodia, and Myanmar, he led the Emerging Voices from Southeast Asia program, and in 2014, he conducted a large-scale study on the position of women within the documentary world as part of the program The Female Gaze. From 2015 to 2020, he also oversaw the IDFA Competition for First Appearance, giving an important platform to dozens of emerging filmmakers as they premiered their first feature.
Finally, Raul has also been a friend to many IDFA colleagues over the years thanks to his warmth, compassion, and infectious sense of humor, which will be dearly missed. We are confident he will do great things at Sheffield DocFest, and we congratulate him on this exciting new step in his career.