IDFA 2021

    The in-person festival edition takes place November 17–28

    After many months apart, we can’t wait to welcome you to IDFA 2021. The 34th edition of the festival will take place in person, which means films and talks in cinemas, immersive and interactive experiences all over the city, and industry programming in all the familiar venues.

    Of course, the upcoming edition will prioritize the health and safety of everyone in attendance, adopting comprehensive hygiene measures to ensure an event experience that is both festive and responsible. We warmly invite all film lovers, filmmakers, industry professionals, partners, and other guests to join us in Amsterdam, and we hope that many of you—whether near or far—will be able to make the trip to IDFA this year. In the meantime, keep your eyes on this page as we reveal the exciting program that we're working on passionately. Lots more is coming your way soon.

    First program details

    Your official sneak peek of IDFA 2021 is here! The upcoming edition promises to take documentary film to new heights, with three forerunners of the artform already confirmed to attend the event.

    Renowned filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl will attend IDFA 2021 as the festival's Guest of Honor. The prolific Steyerl, whose work spans documentary film, video installation, performative lectures, and academic essays, is known for her darkly ironic cultural critiques of contemporary reality. Having exhibited at leading art institutions such as the Venice Biennale, documenta 12, ICA, and MoMA, the Berlin-based artist is best known for her pivotal video works How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File, In Free Fall, Liquidity Inc., and Factory of the Sun, among many others. As Guest of Honor, Steyerl curate a Top 10 program of films that have influenced her and give a public Filmmaker Talk in Amsterdam’s Pathé Tuschinski cinema.

    The 34th edition of the festival will also present a special program on the great Armenian filmmaker Artavazd Pelechian, honoring him with a rarely bestowed Lifetime Achievement Award. With a momentous body of work that cuts to the very heart of cinema, Pelechian’s films are at once revelatory and revolutionary, lyrically weaving together sound, light, motion, and texture to create experiential masterpieces on celluloid. A prodigal figure in the heyday of Soviet filmmaking, Pelechian’s work first graced Western screens in the 1980s, garnering praise from luminaries such as Jean-Luc Godard and Patti Smith, yet his films remain rarely shown to this day. As part of the ten-film retrospective, IDFA will welcome the director to Amsterdam for the European premiere of his new film La Nature, his first release in 27 years.

    In recognition of the late documentary icon Johan van der Keuken, IDFA will present a curated program inspired by Amsterdam Global Village, one of the most influential films of the Dutch documentary tradition. A quarter of a century after its release, van der Keuken’s lyrical four-hour masterpiece remains more relevant than ever for filmmakers and film lovers alike, offering a poignant yet timeless lens to explore today’s urban landscape. Hailed for its empathetic, refreshing, and urgent approach in telling the personal stories of Amsterdammers of all cultural backgrounds, Amsterdam Global Village serves as the starting point for a curated Focus Program at IDFA 2021. Festivalgoers can anticipate a cinematic exploration of the colonial past and its continued relevance; how our cities are shaped by that history; and a deep dive into a world built on many injustices and our challenges in facing it.

    More details of the IDFA 2021 program, including the official selection, will follow throughout the fall.


    Different ticket options are available for festival goers, from single film tickets to our popular strippenkaart for multiple screenings at a discount. Ticket sales start Monday, November 1 for Friends of IDFA and accredited guests. General ticket sales begin Wednesday, November 3 for all audiences.

    As always, the IDFA Specials and Hits present a full morning, afternoon, or day full of carefully selected documentary films from the festival program, organized in collaboration with our loyal partners. Tickets for the IDFA Specials and Hits, including the Volkskrant Day, Queer Day, and VPRO Extras, go on sale Thursday, October 21.


    Accreditation for industry professionals is now open. Depending on your professional activities in the documentary field and your interest, we offer a variety of guest passes providing access to the festival, markets, and talent development program. Explore the options on offer and apply for your guest pass via the accreditation page. Mark your calendars with all key dates for filmmakers and film professionals here.

    IDFA follows the health and safety rules by the RIVM. In September IDFA will give an update about the covid-19 measures with regard to the upcoming festival.

    IDFA's audience program is made possible by Vriendenloterij, VPRO, Fonds 21, de Volkskrant, WePresent, Ammodo, Insinger Gilissen, VSBfonds, and Oxfam Novib.

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