Festival entry regulations 2021

    The 34th International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, including its new media program IDFA DocLab, takes place November 17 to 28, 2021. The regulations stated here apply only to submissions to IDFA's 2021 festival edition. For further information and the regulations of IDFA's markets and other programs go to Docs for Sale, IDFA Forum, IDFA Bertha Fund, IDFAcademy or IDFA DocLab.

    1. General entry requirements for all submissions

    Deadlines for entry 2021

    • Early entry deadline May 1, 2021 (entry fee for student films €20, films shorter than 40 minutes €35, films 40 minutes or longer €50)
    • Final entry deadline July 15, 2021 (entry fee for student films €20, films shorter than 40 minutes €35, films 40 minutes or longer €65). Screeners for films submitted in time for the final entry deadline need to reach IDFA by July 25, 2021 at the latest.
    • Deadline for new media projects and performances July 1, 2021 (entry fee for students €20, for others €50)

    How to submit

    • To consider your entry for the festival, IDFA must receive a completed IDFA entry form, a screener that is English spoken or subtitled in English, and payment of the entry fee.
    • New media projects and performances should be submitted via the separate entry form here.
    • Details for your online screener should be filled out in the entry form. Please note that it is your responsibility to make sure the video and password are available and valid up until December 2021. Without receiving an online screener and valid password we will not be able to take your application into consideration. See section 2 for the formats, including additional accepted formats for immersive and interactive projects. All submissions should have English dialogue or be subtitled in English.
    • If you wish to not submit your screener via a link, but instead would like to send a dvd, bluray, harddrive, DCP, or other format please contact the program department at program@idfa.nl.
    • Submissions or links sent to IDFA via e-mail will not be accepted, unless clearly requested via e-mail by the IDFA program department team.
    • To complete the submission process, it is required to complete payment of the entry fee. If the main country or countries of production is on the IBF country list your entry is eligible for a discount based on IDFA's discretion upon receiving a request via program@idfa.nl.
    • You will receive an automated e-mail including a copy of the filled-out entry form after submitting the form. Once the payment has been received and the entry is processed you will receive another e-mail confirming receipt of your entry.

    Premiere Status

    IDFA welcomes all documentary films that are a world, international, European or Dutch premiere. On average, half of all films selected for IDFA’s program are a Dutch premiere. The other half of IDFA’s program consists of films that are a world, international or European premiere. This is a requirement for films submitted to one of IDFA’s competitions, Luminous or Frontlight sections.

    Our program sections and competitions each have specific requirements regarding the premiere status. A world premiere would mean that a screening at IDFA is the first screening ever. The international premiere is the first screening outside the country of production, a European premiere is the first screening in Europe and a Dutch premiere the first screening in the Netherlands. For the specific requirements for our different competitions and program sections please see 2.

    Eligibility

    • IDFA considers documentary films and new media projects in any format and of any duration. IDFA understands documentary film in a broad sense, as a film that deals with reality, including hybrid films and films that rely on real elements as a core component. Please check entry requirements per section below (see 2).
    • Unless approved in writing by IDFA program department, only one version of a film will be considered. It is therefore highly preferred that the submitted screener is at least a picture-lock. Rejected works-in-progress cannot be resubmitted for the current edition when a newer version is available, nor for the following year.
    • Documentaries that have been submitted for consideration in previous years are not eligible, even if the film has changed significantly since the last time it was submitted.
    • Films that have already been screened in the Netherlands, been broadcast on Dutch television or are available via VOD, SVOD or any online platform in the Netherlands are not eligible for the festival. For premiere requirements and regulations for specific program sections please see 2.
    • The applicant will guarantee to have secured clearance from the copyright holders of any copyrighted materials included within the submitted film and any photographs submitted relating to the film for all purposes for which the material will be used, including screening, promotion prior to and during the IDFA festival, press publications and inclusion in the online IDFA Collection, among other purposes. By submitting the film, the applicant indemnifies IDFA against all claims of copyright, characters, residuals or any similar claims. All and any such claims are the sole responsibility of the applicant. IDFA reserves the right to disqualify any film with unauthorized inclusion of copyrighted materials.
    • If the documentary does not meet all requirements as stated in this section, it will not be eligible for selection. Please see section two for (additional) eligibility criteria of immersive/interactive projects to IDFA DocLab.

    Commitment

    • Entry and participation imply unconditional acceptance of the regulations.
    • The applicant will inform the festival in case of any changes to the premiere status of the film as indicated in the entry form.
    • When invited for the festival, the applicant will confirm participation before the date as specified in the festival invitation (usually set within around 10 days).
    • After accepting IDFA’s invitation a film or project can no longer be withdrawn from the program. Accepting the invitation means that the filmmaker, creator, producer, distributor and other people or parties involved with the film all agree to participating in the festival.
    • Failing to keep the premiere status as indicated to IDFA before a selection decision has been made, will automatically result in a reconsideration of the selection decision and/or the section where the film is placed.
    • Any costs incurred as a result of cancellation or change of our initial agreement will be the liability of the filmmaker.
    • Only a sub-selection of IDFA 2021 program will also be invited as part of IDFA’s Online/Hybrid offer.
    • Unless requested otherwise in writing by the rightsholder, all works in the festival selection will be made available for accredited guests in IDFA’s Press and Industry library, hosted on the festival’s website.
    • If your immersive/interactive project is selected, your work will be showcased as part of the annual IDFA DocLab physical exhibition, the online/virtual exhibition program, or our live events program.
    • Any exceptions to these regulations or decisions on cases not covered in these articles can be made by the Artistic Director of IDFA.

    Disclaimer

    • Your entry will not be taken into consideration until we receive the completed entry form and payment of the entry fee.
    • Your payment will be handled by Adyen. This name may appear on your bank statement.
    • We apply a no refund policy, to which we can make no exceptions.
    • IDFA is under no obligation to provide comments or feedback regarding the submitted film to the applicant or any other representative of the submitted film.

    2. Entry requirements per program section

    IDFA selects between 250 new documentary films and projects for its 2021 edition. The general entry requirements apply to all program sections, unless stated otherwise below. Please see our FAQ page in case you are unsure about the premiere status or country of production of your film.

    2.1. IDFA Main Competitions

    The International Competition presents about 15 films, over 60 minutes in duration each, in world, international or European premiere. This is the best of an art that matured over time and the work of a filmmaker that masters it with all its sophistication and refinement. Here are films that are artistically confident, well-rounded, and in their unique ways, universally relevant.

    The Envision Competition presents about 15 films, over 40 minutes in duration each, in world, international or European premiere. With stylistic integrity and courage, each one of these films searches for its own language. Here is a polyphony of proposals, giving us signs of what the future of documentary film can be, helping us realize the present moment of reality, and of the art itself.

    Films selected for IDFA’s competitions are eligible for IDFA awards. Please see section 7. Juries and awards.

    2.2. Luminous and Frontlight

    Luminous and Frontlight are international non-competitive sections for films longer than 40 minutes, in world, international or European premiere. Short films (under 40 minutes) are eligible for Frontlight.

    Read more about the programs here.

    2.3. IDFA DocLab Competition & IDFA DocLab New Media Program 

    • IDFA DocLab is open to all sorts of non-fiction artworks that use emerging media to represent reality, including web experiences, digital art, games, audio experiences, immersive experiences (such as VR/AR/MR, social VR and full dome films), physical installations, live performances and immersive theatre. For reference, see the IDFA DocLab page. For frequently asked questions see the DocLab FAQ page.
    • Submitted projects will be considered:
      • (1) for the IDFA DocLab Competition program,
      • (2) for our physical festival exhibition,
      • (3) for our live events program,
      • (4) for our online and virtual exhibition program.
    • Projects selected for the IDFA DocLab competition program are eligible for one of this year’s IDFA DocLab Awards. In total, €15.000 will be distributed among the winners to celebrate artistic excellence across immersive art, digital art and interdisciplinary installations and performances.
    • We can preview interactive/immersive projects on most platforms/devices, including MAC, PC, iOS, Android, Steam, Sony Playstation, Xbox, Oculus Rift, Quest and Go, Samsung Gear and HTC Vive Pro. We can also consider projects for Magic Leap, Hololens or any other type of AR headset. For projects using custom hardware, please get in touch.
    • Projects should be submitted via a password-protected (streaming) link, a download link to the VR build/360 video file (preferably by Dropbox/Google Drive), an app download package, or game install.
    • For performances, installations or for projects that cannot be sent digitally, please provide extensive visual and written documentation.
    • The IDFA DocLab program and competition are open to unreleased projects, as well as projects that have been made publicly available on the internet after July 2020. Priority is given to projects that have not yet been presented at other events or festivals.
    • In some cases, we will reconsider projects or works-in-progress that have been submitted in previous years.

    2.4. IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

    Competition for films up to 40 minutes, in world, international, or European premiere. For Dutch productions only world premieres can be accepted.

    Films selected for IDFA’s competitions are eligible for IDFA awards. Please see section 7. Juries and awards.

    2.5. IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary

    The IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary invites young audiences (between 8 and 14 years old) to discover art of documentary film. Filmmakers who take young audiences seriously with films that do not shy away from difficult subject matter and vast artistic expression are the cornerstones of this competition. Shorts, feature-length films, and virtual reality can all find a home in the selection, broadening the horizons of what a documentary can be. World, international, European and Dutch premieres are eligible for this competition. Dutch productions may have been screened in the Netherlands prior to being presented at IDFA.

    Films selected for IDFA’s competitions are eligible for IDFA awards. Please see section 7. Juries and awards.

    2.6. Best of Fests and Masters

    Two non-competitive programs that bring the highlights of the year to Amsterdam. This is IDFA’s showcase of the films that have made an impact on the international filmfestival circuit and the latest films made by renowned filmmakers. Read more about the programs here.

    The sections are open to films of any duration and require films to be at minimum a Dutch premiere at time of the screening at IDFA. Screening, TV broadcast or availability through streaming platforms in the Netherlands prior to the festival makes the submission ineligible.

    2.7. Paradocs

    International non-competitive section consisting of experimental documentaries and documentary experiments of any duration. This program is also open to video installations and other media which are not necessarily presented in a cinema. World, international, European and Dutch premieres are eligible. Dutch productions may have been screened in the Netherlands prior to being presented at IDFA.

    2.8. IDFA on Stage

    A highly selective program of unique live events in which we explore the space between documentary film and performing arts, that bridges IDFA's film and new media programs. This section is open to projects that combine documentary film elements with music, theatre, dance, new media, etc. (e.g., Live Cinema projects, Experiential Cinema projects, Immersive Theater). Priority is given to world, international, and European premieres.

    For all submissions, written documentation is required (e.g., project outline, proposal, technical rider/specifications, link to video registration).

    3. Requirements for films supported by IDFA’s Filmmaker Support programs, IBF and IDFA Forum

    Films that originated from one of the IDFAcademy training and education programs (IDFA-Mediafonds Workshop, IDFAcademy & NPO Fund Workshop, ZappDoc LAB, IDFAcademy Summer School or IDFA Project Space) can be selected for one of the regular sections as listed above (see 2.1 through 2.8 and general entry requirements). Before you submit the IDFA entry form we kindly ask you to inform IDFAcademy staff about your upcoming submission at idfacademy@idfa.nl.

    All films made with financial support from the IDFA Bertha Fund will be taken into consideration for one of the program sections as listed above (see 2.1 through 2.8 and general entry requirements). Before you submit the IDFA entry form we kindly ask you to inform IBF staff about your upcoming submission at idfaberthafund@idfa.nl. The right of first screening of the film in the Benelux territories is granted to the IDFA Bertha Fund, which will propose the film to IDFA.

    If you are submitting a film or new media project that was pitched at a previous edition of the IDFA Forum, please contact the Forum team for more information at forum@idfa.nl.

    4. Selection procedure, required items for selected films, and authorizations

    Selection procedure

    Documentaries may be eligible for several sections. In case of selection, IDFA’s artistic director and programmers will decide for which section(s) a film is invited. The festival will notify the applicant, director, producer, sales representative, and distributor of the film of their decision no later than October 8, 2021.

    Agreement

    • When invited for the festival, the applicant will confirm participation before the date as specified in the festival invitation.
    • After accepting IDFA’s invitation a film can no longer be withdrawn from the program. Accepting the invitation means that the filmmaker, producer, distributor and other people or parties involved with the film all agree to participating in the festival.
    • Failing to keep the premiere status as agreed on between both parties will result in the festival reconsidering selection and placement of the film.
    • Any costs incurred as a result of cancellation or change of our initial agreement will be the liability of the filmmaker.
    • A sub-selection of films made by the IDFA program team will be invited for the online program of the festival.
    • Unless requested otherwise in writing by the rightsholder, all films in the festival selection will be made available for accredited guests in IDFA’s Press & Industry library, hosted on the festival’s website.
    • Rightsholders of selected films that have a Dutch distributor will inform the festival before October 1, 2021.
    • Any exceptions to these regulations or decisions on cases not covered in these articles can be made by the Artistic Director of IDFA.

    After IDFA Selection

    Once your film has been selected, you may use the IDFA logo and the relevant IDFA laurel for publicity purposes.

    Required materials for selected films:

    • Film stills (jpeg, high resolution, at least 5MB each)
    • Credit list
    • A high res video file of the final English version
    • A high res video file of the trailer
    • A DCP for festival screenings in cinemas
    • A ProRes or H.264 file for online screenings if your film is selected for the online festival program
    • For immersive/interactive projects any of the required materials to bring your project to life in the festival exhibition

    Authorizations

    After selection of a documentary, the festival has the right to:

    • Use a maximum of 3 minutes of video from the documentary for publicity and online purposes.
    • Use all publicity material to promote the festival.
    • Keep the high-res video files of selected documentaries in its archive for non-circulating use and educational purposes.
    • Record special events and Talks organized alongside screenings and publish these online.
    • Program the film free of charge during IDFA partner days, e.g. De Volkskrant, VPRO, De Groene Amsterdammer.
    • Program the film free of charge in Best of IDFA: Award Winners and Best of IDFA: Audience Favorites screenings.
    • Program the film free of charge in IDFA alliances and partnerships during the festival (e.g. IDFA in LUX Nijmegen, Groninger Forum, Lantaren Venster, Podium Mozaïek, Bijlmerpark Theater, and Oxfam Novib Selection).
    • Program the film free of charge in the IDFA Educational Programs.
    • IDFA may screen award-winning films after the festival in its ‘Best of IDFA on Tour’ program for a fixed fee. This selection of award-winning festival films will be screened in a limited number of theaters throughout the Benelux after the festival.

    5. Festival screening copy

    • If your film is selected for the festival, IDFA accepts the following screening formats for screenings in cinema: DCP (2K/4K), 35mm or 16mm. IDFA requires all DCPs to be in XYZ colorspace encoded in JPEG2000. Presentation of other formats requires authorization from the festival. These requirements do not apply to new media projects submitted to IDFA DocLab and IDFA on Stage, deliverables depend on the format of the project.
    • If your film is selected for the online festival program, IDFA requires a h.264 or ProRes 422 file for online screening.
    • Films will be presented to an international audience as well as professionals. Therefore, without exception, all films that are not (entirely) English-spoken must be subtitled in English. We require you to also subtitle films if they are spoken in English which is hard to understand for non-native speakers, i.e. an accent or slang.
    • IDFA is committed to delivering an inclusive festival experience. In case of selection we encourage you to (also for English spoken films) provide English subtitles, Closed Captioning and/or Audio Description where possible.

    Transport of screening copy

    • The festival must receive the screening copy of the documentary film by November 8, 2021 – preferably digitally delivered via FilmFetch.
    • In case of a new media project, your contact person at IDFA DocLab will be in close contact about the required materials, technical specifications and production details to bring your project to life in the festival exhibition.
    • For performances selected in the IDFA on Stage program, your contact person will be in close contact about the required materials, technical specifications and production details to present your project in the festival.

    FilmFetch

    In order to make film transport less time-consuming and more sustainable, we encourage filmmakers to deliver DCPs and online screening copies digitally via our technical partner FilmFetch. Filmmakers will receive more information as well as a link by mid-October through which the screening copy can be uploaded directly to our servers. These will be deleted from the festival’s servers after the festival.

    Shipment of hard disk

    If you decide to send your DCP to IDFA on a hard disk, please make sure it arrives by November 8 and regard the following instructions:

    • Ship the parcel using FedEx and assign a value that does not exceed 10 euros or 10 dollars.
    • DCPs are fragile, so please ship them well packaged. IDFA cannot be held responsible for hard drive failures resulting from bad packaging.
    • Mark the shipment as a permanent export.
    • Describe the content as follows: no commercial value, for cultural purposes only, and includes no explicit content.
    • For hard disks being shipped from outside of the European Union, a pro forma invoice must accompany the DCP.

    Your contact person from the program department will reach out to the screening copy contact about the shipment and the exact shipping address. Please provide your contact person with the tracking number once a shipment has been planned.

    The festival will return the copy within four weeks after the festival. The recipient will receive a dispatch notice from the festival.

    Transport costs

    The inbound transport costs of DCPs to the festival office are the responsibility of the applicant. IDFA will pay for the outbound transport to a destination of choice.

    Insurance

    • Insurance for the shipping of films to and from the Netherlands is entirely the responsibility of the participants.
    • Upon gaining possession of the films from the courier or shipping company, the festival can only accept limited liability, extending to the time that the festival organization returns the film to the shipping company. The definition of this limited liability includes a refund of laboratory expenses for making a new DCP, a refund for damaged film reels or, in the case of video, duplication of the videotape. This refund will be calculated according to the current Dutch laboratory prices. It does not extend to negatives, positives, or master videotapes.
    • In the case of faulty projection, the festival cannot be held liable for intangible losses incurred by director, producer, or distributor. Complaints will only be considered if they are filed within six weeks following the festival.
    • Guests of the festival are not covered by the festival’s insurance. Publicity material and other related items are not included under the limited insurance liability.

    6. Attending IDFA

    IDFA invites all directors of selected films to attend the festival and represent their film in Q&A’s. Directors will receive free festival accreditation. For more information about attending IDFA please see our FAQs for film or immersive/interactive projects.

    7. Juries and awards

    International juries will award films selected for the International Competition, Envision Competition, IDFA Competition for Short Documentary and IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary. Each competition has its own international jury that is appointed by IDFA’s Artistic Director.

    • From the films selected for the International Competition an international jury consisting of five jurors will award a best film award (to be shared equally between director and main producer), as well as other awards that acknowledge the craft and innovation of filmmaking.
    • From the films selected for the Envision Competition an international jury consisting of five jurors will award a best film award (to the director and producer), as well as other awards that acknowledge the craft and innovation of filmmaking.
    • From the films selected for the IDFA Competition for Short Documentary an international jury consisting of three jurors will choose the winner of the IDFA Award for Best Short Documentary (awarded to the director). The jury may opt to also make a special mention of one additional film.
    • From the films selected for the IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary an international jury consisting of three jurors will choose the winner of the IDFA Award for Best Youth Documentary (awarded to the director). The jury may opt to also make a special mention of one additional film.
    • Projects selected for the IDFA DocLab competition program are eligible for one of this year’s IDFA DocLab Awards. In total, €15.000 will be distributed among the winners to celebrate artistic excellence across immersive art, digital art and interdisciplinary installations and performances.

    A number of films will also be nominated for cross-section awards by IDFA’s Artistic Director and programmers. Three international juries, with three members each, appointed for these awards will choose the winners of the:

    • IDFA Award for Best First Feature:
      First features (films 60 minutes or longer) selected for International Competition, Envision Competition, Frontlight or Luminous can be nominated for the IDFA Award for Best First Feature.
    • IDFA Award for Best Dutch Documentary:
      Dutch productions that are a world premiere and 40 minutes or longer can be nominated for the IDFA Award for Best Dutch Documentary.
    • Beeld en Geluid IDFA ReFrame Award (to be awarded to the director):
      Films of 40 minutes or longer and interactive/immersive projects can be nominated for this award for best creative use of archive.

    An international FIPRESCI jury will choose the winner of the FIPRESCI Award (to be awarded to the director).

    Festival audiences can also express their appreciation of the films by voting for the Audience Award. The film rated highest will receive the VPRO IDFA Audience Award.

    All decisions made by the juries are final. Entry and participation implies unconditional acceptance of the regulations.

    8. VAT

    • All IDFA entries will be charged an administration fee.
    • In case you fill out a company which is based outside the Netherlands as the billing address, you will not be charged additional VAT by IDFA, but you will have to pay your VAT duties in your own country.
    • If this is within the European Union, you need to fill out your VAT details in the billing address field. For general VAT rules within the EU please go to EU Tax and Customs info.
    • If your company is based outside the EU, IDFA will not charge VAT but you will need to check your tax regulations in your own country and act accordingly.
    • All Dutch submissions and all submissions done by private persons only (with no company attached) will need to pay VAT and will be charged in the IDFA invoice.

    9. Address and contact information

    International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

    Frederiksplein 52
    1017 XN Amsterdam
    The Netherlands

    Phone +31 20 6273329
    E-mail info@idfa.nl
    Website www.idfa.nl

    VAT number: NL 008551777B01

    Questions concerning regulations and/or entry forms should be directed to program@idfa.nl.

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