No less than 22 films supported by the IDFA institute are in the official festival selection. The year’s substantial harvest—having passed through the IDFA Bertha Fund, IDFA Forum, or IDFA’s talent development programs—includes new work from major filmmakers such as Nishtha Jain (The Golden Thread) and Manuel Abramovich (Pornomelancolía). Debut films also find a prominent place in the lineup, with six titles by first-time filmmakers in addition to Anhell69, the first feature by Theo Montoya. Other films make their world premiere after many years in the making, as in Apolonia, Apolonia by Lea Glob (pictured above), Dear Mother, I Meant to Write About Death by Siyi Chen, and Blue ID by Burcu Melekoglu and Vuslat Karan.
“Through financial support and all kinds of training, we aim to have a broad offer for supporting the creative process of filmmakers. Key to what we do is a tailor-made approach, in which we keep an eye on what happens in between the programs we offer, connect filmmakers to IDFA’s different activities like the markets and the festival, and help them navigate future opportunities,” said Isabel Arrate Fernandez, Deputy Director of IDFA and Managing Director of the IDFA Bertha Fund.
“Within the industry, IDFA Forum is an excellent opportunity for filmmakers, artists, and producers to explore international, cross-cultural, financial, and creative collaborations. By curating a diverse and artistic groundbreaking slate of projects and offering room to both established and upcoming filmmakers, we strive to contribute to a rich and varied documentary selection for global audiences in the coming years,” said Adriek van Nieuwenhuijzen, Head of IDFA Industry.
Major IDFA-supported films in the International Competition include Mila Turajlić’s much-anticipated Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels, having successfully presented twice at IDFA Forum in 2017 and 2020. Also in the International selection is Apolonia, Apolonia by Lea Glob, whose two-time participation in IDFAcademy Summer School and IDFA Forum (both in 2015 and 2018) attest to the necessity of Glob’s lengthy shooting period.
In the Envision Competition, Manifesto by Angie Vinchito received support from the IDFA Bertha Fund, and Scenes with My Father by Biserka Šuran was developed at the Dutch talent program IDFAcademy & NPO Fund Workshop (predecessor to IDFA Project Space NL).
Turning to new media, two titles that previously pitched at IDFA DocLab Forum are now selected for the DocLab competitions. In the Immersive Non-Fiction Competition, Sunghwan Lee brings Ihyangjeong: Carving with Memories, and in the Digital Storytelling Competition, Soumya Mukhopadhyay comes with A South Asian Queer Pamphlet.
From the year’s harvest, six films are in the running for IDFA’s cross-section awards. Among them, IDFAcademy alumnus Scenes with My Father is nominated for the IDFA Award for Best Dutch Film—notable for the director’s perseverance while forgoing the usual route through local broadcasters.
From the nominations for the IDFA Award for Best First Film, Loving Martha received support from the IDFA Bertha Fund and workshopped at IDFA Project Space. Dear Mother, I Meant to Write About Death received two rounds of funding from the IDFA Bertha Fund, underwent script development at IDFAcademy Summer School, and pitched at the Forum.
Finally, Manifesto and Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels are both in the running for the archival-focused Beeld & Geluid IDFA ReFrame Award, the former having received support from the IDFA Bertha Fund, and the latter having pitched at IDFA Forum.
The non-competitive Best of Fests section remains a centerpiece for IDFA-supported films that met with success at major festivals such as Berlinale, Sundance, San Sebastian, Venice Critics Week, and Visions du Réel. Among them, particularly noteworthy titles are Alis by Clare Weiskopf and Nicolas van Hemelryck, and All That Breathes by Shaunak Sen, both non-European titles that garnered attention at A-list festivals before making the rounds worldwide. Both films were supported by the IBF and pitched at IDFA Forum; All That Breathes also received an editing consultancy at the international talent development program IDFA Project Space.
For the full overview of films, explore the individual harvests of the IDFA Bertha Fund, IDFA Forum, and IDFAcademy and other training programs.