Documentaries

    Explore all films and interactive documentaries that have been shown at IDFA over the years. Many are available to watch online (by using the filter Watch Online), some for free! We're working hard to keep the selection as broad and accessible as possible, but unfortunately, some titles are available to stream within the Netherlands only.

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    The Sailor

    • Giovanni Giaretta
    • Netherlands, Italy
    • 2017
    • 9 min
    • Paradocs: Amsterdam Art Weekend at IDFA

    A philosophical, poetic fairy tale that gradually alienates our eyes from the language that we use to describe what we see.

    Salata Baladi

    • Nadia Kamel
    • Egypt, Switzerland, France
    • 2007
    • 105 min
    • Jan Vrijman Fund

    Filmmaker Nadia Kamel's family is a happy mix of religions and cultures which rises above political conflicts and prejudices.

    The Same

    • Dejan Petrović
    • Serbia
    • 2017
    • 17 min
    • IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

    Rhythmically edited images of work in Serbian jails raise questions about individuality and freedom—both inside and outside the prison walls. 

    Saving Dolma

    • Nepal, Kuwait
    • 2010
    • 56 min
    • Panorama

    Kuwait is an inhospitable place for Nepalese women searching for work. Dolma has been sentenced to death. Can she still be saved?

    Saydnaya

    • England
    • 2016
    • IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling, DocLab: Elastic Reality, DocLab Program

    A 3-D reconstruction of the notorious Saydnaya prison in Syria, on the basis of testimony from former prisoners who were held there in fear and darkness.

    Scenes from a Dry City

    • François Verster, Simon Wood
    • South Africa, United States
    • 2018
    • 13 min
    • havo bovenbouw, vwo bovenbouw, mbo
    • IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

    Cape Town’s acute water crisis illustrates the differences within South African society, in a film that’s as visually stunning as it is urgent.

    Scheppers

    • Chai Locher
    • Netherlands, The
    • 2003
    • 23 min
    • IDFA Competition for First Appearance

    Quest for fossilised shark’s teeth as a metaphor of the human pursuit of happiness.

    Sea Point Days

    • François Verster
    • South Africa
    • 2008
    • 90 min
    • IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

    A document of daily life on Cape Town's Sea Point Promenade, in which the director paints a portrait of contemporary South Africa.

    Serbian Epics

    • Pawel Pawlikowski
    • England
    • 1992
    • 45 min
    • Top 10

    ‘Women don’t wage wars’, Radovan Karadzic’s mother says when her son comes to visit her and tells her about the military situation in Bosnia. A little later, SERBIAN EPICS shows a meeting of the Bosnian-Serbian war cabinet, in which the now notorious Ratko Mladic and Biljana Plavcic are seated. Initially, the tone of this portrait of Karadzic - psychiatrist, poet, businessman and leader of the Bosnian Serbs - is light-hearted, but gradually a shady world of power and delusion emerges. Without comment, with an almost anthropological eye, director Pawel Pawlikowski observes the besiegers of Sarajevo. The Serbian cultural heritage - centuries-old songs and poems - is used to justify the new ethnic struggle, and Karadzic loves to recite poetry.

    Serial

    • Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder
    • United States
    • 2014
    • IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling, DocLab: Immersive Reality

    This audiovisual whodunit keeps its podcast listeners in a perpetual state of tension – who killed the American schoolgirl Hae Min Lee?

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