IDFAcademy 2020 sessions

    On this page you will find information on IDFAcademy sessions available for participants during the festival. Please note that group meetings and recaps will be organized separately.

    Thursday, November 19

    14:00 – 15:30

    IDFAcademy Opening Talk with Claire Simon

    IDFAcademy kicks off with French master Claire Simon. In this in-depth conversation about her extensive career, IDFA's Artistic Director Orwa Nyrabia examines Simon’s cinematic approach and authorship. With her observational filming style, Simon creates an intimate atmosphere where recurring themes—such as youth— and the way places inspire her, allow her to unfold rich human stories in her films. As in The Competition, which takes viewers inside la Fémis, France's most prestigious film academy, where Simon taught for years, or in Young Solitude located in a high school in the Paris suburbs. Her most recent film The Grocer's Son, the Mayor, the Village and the World… (pictured on top), which will see its world premiere in IDFA's Feature-Length Competition, Simon takes the viewer to a one-street village in southern France: while some inhabitants are harvesting or struggling with hail, others are creating an international streaming platform for independent documentaries. An inspiring tale of tenacity and idealism and their salutary effects.

    Moderated by Orwa Nyrabia.

    Friday, November 20

    10:00 – 11:00 & 17:30 – 18:30

    Small Session: Directing in Limited Space

    With: Thomas Imbach and Marc Isaacs

    Cinematic limitations are often first perceived as an obstacle by a filmmaker early on in the filmmaking process; but what happens when you convert these limitations into cinematic power and creativity? Filmmaker Thomas Imbach's Nemesis is the second movie he has filmed from his window. Over seven years, he documented the replacement of Zurich's old railway station by a police station and prison on 35mm film. In protest against sensationalism in the documentary industry, Marc Isaacs made The Filmmaker’s House in his own home. Blending fact and fiction, he explores the theme of hospitality and indirectly asks questions about authorship. This is certainly not the first film in which Isaacs’ works with limited spaces. This talk will be about the diverse cinematic tools and language that arise from these (self-imposed) limitations.

    Moderated by Cecilia Lidin.

    15:45 – 16:45

    Filmmaker Talk: Gianfranco Rosi

    An extensive conversation with director and IDFA's Guest of Honor Gianfranco Rosi. Orwa Nyrabia, Artistic Director of IDFA, talks to Rosi about his latest film Notturno and his earlier films, as well as the films that helped shape him, using excerpts from his own and his Top 10 favorite films. Rosi is one of the few filmmakers who has found the way to balance accessibility and commercial success with a highly demanding artistic language, and as such is a key figure in the “Golden Age of Documentary” that we are living in. Although he made only six films, his approach resulted in masterpieces that provide a unique view of society.

    Moderated by Orwa Nyrabia.

    Monday, November 23

    10:00 – 11:00 & 17:30 – 18:30

    Small Session: Where to begin, writing for documentary film

    With: Firouzeh Khosrovani and Maite Alberdi

    When writing for documentary film, there is not always a clear-cut format to follow — each story and visual treatment will ask for a different format. The writing process can be a helpful tool in developing a narrative and a visual language for a documentary film, and help to organize the different story elements into a roadmap for production. Firouzeh Khosrovani and Maite Alberdi engage in a conversation about the writing process from the director's point of view, and discuss their latest works, Radiograph of a Family and The Mole Agent, both selected for IDFA 2020.

    Moderated by Isabel Arrate Fernandez.

    15:00 – 16:30

    Plenary Session: Finding and engaging your audience in a digitally overloaded world

    With: Sarah Mosses

    Since the world has began living in and out of lockdowns, new modes of outreach and participatory models of cinematic experiences have been emerging. In collaboration with arthouse cinemas or online platforms, collective cinema experiences have created new possibilities for filmmakers to reach out and engage with their online audience. We have seen the launch of initiatives that have designed a creative strategy to get or stay in touch with their audiences, and get their films to an even broader audience than ever before. Not only watching films, but also including a more active role for the online audience, participating in and even co-creating events. In this session, Sarah Mosses (Together Films) presents the changing landscape and the opportunities for filmmakers to innovate their outreach strategies; to get their films out in the world in ways they couldn't have imagined before and engage with audiences who are in need for good stories.

    Tuesday, November 24

    10:00 – 11:00 & 17:30 – 18:30

    Small Session: International Co-Production

    With: Mikael Opstrup and Armi Rae Cacanindin

    Entering a co-production is an important decision that opens doors to funding and new partnerships. Yet it also raises many questions with regards to contracts, budgets, and creative control. In this session Doc Developer, former producer and editor of the EDN Co-production Guide Mikael Opstrup outlines the basics for a good collaboration and how a co-production is defined in Europe. He will be joined by producer Armi Rae Cacanindin (Cinematografica) who managed a complex international co-production for the making of Aswang (Alyx Ayn Arumpac, 2019), the process of which required Cacanindin to bring together different national production realities, expectations, and cultures. Together they will analyze this process and the mix of financial partners in the global budget.

    15:00 – 16:30

    Plenary Session - Creative Producing: Whose Story Is It?

    With: Carine Chichkowsky & Mila Turajlić

    How, as a filmmaker, do you stay true to the story you want to make when different forces, such as financiers, join in the creative process? How can companies and producers most effectively protect the filmmakers vision, while working well together with various partners? Moderator Cecilia Lidin discusses these topics with producer Carine Chichkowsky (Survivance) and director Mila Turajlić who worked together on the award-winning film The Other Side of Everything (2017) and now are presenting to the rough cut of The Labudovic Reels to potential financiers at IDFA Forum. A glimpse into the creative collaboration between a director and producer, and into the importance of it weighs when you asking for patience from partners in supporting a long-term process.

    Moderated by Cecilia Lidin.

    Wednesday, November 25

    10:00 – 11:00 & 17:30 – 18:30

    Small Session: How to Pitch Successfully

    With: Mikael Opstrup

    There comes a time when the project that you have been developing yourself will need to see the light of day. When it is time to convince people to get on board, pitching is inevitable. How can you present a film that doesn’t exist yet, and how do you structure the pitch? A trailer is a genre in itself—what does that mean and what is a possible dramaturgy of a pitch trailer? Mikael Opstrup will elaborate on making a successful pitch and pitch trailer by showing examples and offering concrete advice. In the separate group meetings, two participants will get the opportunity to pitch their project and receive feedback from a panel.

    15:00 – 16:30

    Plenary Session: Sales & Distribution Strategy

    With: Liselot Verbrugge and Anaïs Clanet

    Sales agents Liselot Verbrugge (Deckert Distribution) and Anaïs Clanet (Reservoir Docs) will provide insight into their sales and distribution expertise. Discover their approach and secrets for getting a film out into the world. What is the best strategy for the different windows and how do you decide which steps best suit which film? How does the current situation worldwide influence these windows and strategy? Learn at what stage of the process a sales agent or distributor joins the team and what you can expect in a collaboration.

    Moderated by Isabel Arrate Fernandez.

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