IDFA Project Space

    IDFA Project Space offers first- or second-time directors the opportunity to work on their project with highly esteemed filmmakers and film professionals who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with emerging film talent.

    First launched in 2020, IDFA Project Space is the youngest brainchild of IDFA’s Filmmaker Support department and has since grown into an in-depth talent development program carefully tailored to filmmakers’ individual needs. While taking initial inspiration from our old training program IDFAcademy Summer School, the past two years have attested to the importance of a program that extends beyond a pressure-cooker week of workshopping and looks to support filmmakers organically over a several-month period.

    In 2022, IDFA Project Space took the best of both worlds. The program was spread over four months, from June to September, with two online modules and one in-person week in Amsterdam. Filmmakers had the chance to engage in a continuous process of growth with a program that flexibly adjusted to their specific needs.

    Program 2022

    This is a project-driven program in which participants focus on strengthening the narrative of their documentary film project. Project stages can vary from the late development or early production stage to the advanced editing or rough cut stage.

    The online component of the program, which took place at the beginning and end of summer, consisted of two elements:

    • individual consultancies that match project teams with a tutor (an experienced director, producer, or editor).
    • an inspirational program that includes online discussions with all participants. This online part of the program was joined by a wider group of filmmakers as well.

    During the summer, the in-person part of the program took place in Amsterdam, where participants spent an intensive week together working on their projects. Participants with a project in development or production worked on the creative aspects in individual sessions. For participants with a project in the rough cut stage, tutors helped refine their rough cut in the editing suite.

    The 2022 program supported eleven creative documentary projects in the Development & Production section and five in the Rough Cut section.

    Development & Production

    This section aims to strengthen film projects by working intensively on a strong narrative in its early stages—either on the narrative or, when the project is more advanced, the production processes.

    Focus is on:

    • Structuring the initial film idea or concept into a film project with a solid core narrative.
    • Finding the right balance between different storylines.
    • Choosing the main characters. How do they add to your story?
    • Visualizing the story. How should the cinematography, sound design, and editing be used to strengthen the narrative?

    Rough Cut

    The Rough Cut section requires shooting to be near completion when applying, with a rough cut ready in time for the start of IDFA Project Space. The participants will work intensively with an experienced editor to refine the rough cut.

    Focus is on:

    • Defining the structure of the film.
    • Identifying characters and building the story line.
    • Fine-tuning the film’s rhythm and dramatic structure.


    IDFA Project Space is open to directors making their first or second feature documentary. Film school students are not eligible. The focus is on creative documentary projects.

    Filmmakers who are selected also have the opportunity to bring a sparring partner: a creative producer or a co-director. Filmmakers who are participating in the Rough Cut section must bring their editor. Participants are expected to have a working knowledge of English and to be available for the full duration of IDFA Project Space.

    IDFA Project Space aims at a broad division of creative projects. Some participants will be chosen from projects that have already received a grant from the IDFA Bertha Fund, which supports filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and parts of Eastern Europe.

    Application process

    Applications will open at the beginning of 2023.

    The following information is required to apply:

    • Logline: provide a summary of your story (max. 50 words).
    • Synopsis of max. 400 words. Give an overview of your story, introducing the main characters and potential plot points.
    • Project description of max. 1500 words. This should include background information, main protagonists, access to protagonists, visual approach, director’s note, etc.
    • Project timeline: a timeline from the project's current state to the anticipated completion date. Your timeline should cover both the creative and production processes. Max 200 words.
    • Project stage: Explain in detail what progress you will make between the moment of application and the start of the program in June (include important steps, meetings, or changes in the stage of production). This will give us a clear estimation of the suitability of the project and the needs that you will have during the program. Max. 200 words.
    • A detailed biography and filmography of the participant(s) (max. 500 words each).
    • Your personal motivation for attending IDFA Project Space, including the goal(s) to be achieved during the program. Please share with honesty the challenges and obstacles you are facing, as well as the specific needs of your project. This can be either a written answer (max. 750 words) or a video (4 to 5 mins).

    If you are submitting a project for Development & Production:

    • Visual material of the project (if available).
    • Please note that if you are selected, we will ask you to send us a written update on your progress in the time between submission and selection.

    If you are submitting a project for Rough Cut:

    • Previous work of the director (visual material).
    • An edited sequence of the project or a selection of scenes (approx. 20 minutes).
    • Please note that the rough cut should be ready no later than June. If not, we cannot let you enter the program.


    • Letter of recommendations from experienced film professionals (film directors, producers, official funding bodies, film schools).
    • Still(s) of your project.

    Selection process

    In assessing projects, we will consider the project’s qualities, its fit with regards to the program timeline, and the motivation and goals of the participants. All applications that are complete will be considered for selection. Within four to six weeks, filmmakers will be informed if their project is pre-selected. If a project is pre-selected, we will contact you to conduct an online interview.

    Projects submitted to IDFA Project Space cannot be withdrawn after selection. From the selected projects, we expect commitment and availability to attend all the sessions of the program, both online and in person.

    Selected projects pay a participation fee that must be wired to the indicated IDFA account. The participation fee is €850 for one person and €1,250 for two people. This fee does not cover travel and food expenses. For international participants, accommodation is included.

    Please check in advance for local or regional funds that can support with transport and fee costs.

    For projects supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund, the fund will pay the fee, hotel costs, and part of the travel costs.

    Program dates

    IDFA Project Space online & in Amsterdam: Dates to be announced

    IDFA's talent development program is made possible by The Netherlands Film Fund, Creative Europe Media and NPO Fund.

    This website uses cookies.

    By using cookies we can measure how our site is used, how it can be further improved and to personalize the content of online advertisements.

     here everything about our cookie policy. If you choose to decline, we only place functional and analytical cookies