All Documentaries

    A list of all films and interactive documentaries selected for IDFA throughout the years.

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    United states of america (177)

    A.K.A. Don Bonus

    • Spencer Nakasako, Sokly 'Don Bonus' Ny
    • 1995
    • 56 min

    Most American youngsters of eighteen are in their final highschool year and are filled with expectations and longings about the future. For Sokly 'Don Bonus' Ny, however, the examination year was also a test to see if he could survive in American society. Ny and his family live in a housing complex for South-east Asian refugees. After their arrival in the United States their life did not really improve. The family got scattered and they were confronted with racism and violence. a.k.a. Don Bonus was shot by Ny himself and co-directed by producer Spencer Nakasako. The film tells the story of a young Cambodian who grows up in the melting-pot of modern-day America.

    A.R.M. Around Moscow

    • Jeanne Finley, Gretchen Stoeltje
    • 1993
    • 74 min

    A.R.M. stands for 'American Russian Matchmaking', which is a company that couples American men with Russian women. Four times a year, initiator Ron takes a group of candidates to Moscow on a festive tour, dropping in at potential wives' places. At first sight, both parties benefit from the deal: the American men feel that their female compatriots are too independent and demanding, the Russian women consider their fellow countrymen weaklings and dipsomaniacs. Obviously, under the skin the balance of power is rather shaky at various levels. The makers of this film followed an A.R.M. trip to Moscow and by showing how the people are being paired off particularly examine the women's motives. Their spirits broken by the hard economical conditions, these women are hoping for a better life and mutual affection. In that order. Back in America, two couples talk about their experiences. The filmmakers handle the rather wry subject matter with a sense of humour and without any moralistic intentions.

    Abduction the Megumi Yokota Story

    • Chris Sheridan, Patty Kim
    • 2006
    • 85 min

    A Japanese couple tries to find out the truth about their daughter, who was kidnapped as a 13-year-old by the North Korean secret service in 1977.

    All Dressed Up And No Place To Go

    • Peter Schwartz
    • 1996
    • 72 min

    American Dream

    • Barbara Kopple
    • 1990
    • 100 min


    • Third World Newsreel
    • 1969
    • 30 min

    This film is about the anti-Vietnam demonstration in Washington D.C. in November 1969. AMERIKKKA focusses on the escalation of the protest movement. Interviews with Vietnam veterans, teenagers, and militants provide a context for the shots of the demonstration, which also include repressive actions by the police.


    • Frederick Wiseman
    • 1991
    • 146 min

    The American town of Aspen is a traditional Western town with a colourful history. In the 19th century it attracted speculators who hoped to strike it rich in the silvermines. At the same time Aspen is modern: now, in the second half of the 20th century, Aspen is a well-known ski resort, visited by people who have the desire and the possibility to show their wealth: corporate and show business celebrities and people who like to associate with them. Both residents and visitors show the extreme sides of our consumption oriented society in their behaviour, clothing and way of life.


    • Roland Legiardi-Laura
    • 1988

    In 1988 it was exactly one hundred years ago that the Nicaraguan writer Ruben Dario published his first work. Azul was the first publication of modern poetry in the Spanish language. Legiarda-Laura has given the same title to his film, because he wanted to show the Nicaraguan poetic inheritance. 24 poems are read, interspersed with interviews and discussions. Thus, the cultural soul of Nicaragua is mapped out. In the beginning of the film the Minister of the Interior, Borges, says that "poetry exists to take power". Cuadra, journalist of the opposition paper La Prensa, precisely alerts to the danger of politicising poetry. Be that as it may, this discussion fits in the Latin- American literary tradition, in which personal feelings are almost self- evidently linked to a social stand. This is not surprising for people who are living in an area that has been afflicted with political violence for so long. With the film Azul, Legiardi-Laura hopes to contribute to the creation of a more tolerant society, from which violence can finally be banned.


    • Frederick Wiseman
    • 1995
    • 222 min

    Ballet is Wiseman's twenty?seventh documentary since he started filming twenty?eight years ago. The film is a portrait of the American Ballet Theatre in vintage Wiseman style, with the cinéma vérité approach: the various people involved in the ballet are being followed at their activities, without Wiseman intervening. The first part of the film concentrates on the arduous creative and physical demands made upon the dancers. We get a close look at the working methods of the choreographers. In the second part Wiseman follows the troupe on a European tour, calling in at Athens and Copenhagen. Resplendent images of performances are interspersed with images of the ballet dancers in their daily lives. Ballet is Wiseman's ode to the enchanting world of ballet.

    Ballot Measure 9

    • Heather MacDonald
    • 1994
    • 80 min

    In 1992 a referendum was held in the American state of Oregon on the question whether discriminating stipulations with regard to gay people should be included in the federal law. This initiative was taken by a right?wing civil movement ? the Oregon Citizen's Alliance ? who claimed to guard public morality and family values. They lumped homosexuality together with 'paedophilia, sadism, and abnormal and perverted behaviour'. By shooting for more than six months in Portland, Oregon Heather MacDonald gathered about three hundred hours of footage. In this provocative documentary she gives the floor to both advocates and opponents of the measure, but there is no doubt about her sympathy for the gay community. With barely restrained anger, ballot measure 9 gives an exact analysis of the political pulse of right?wing America.