The IDFA Competition for Kids & Docs presented us a selection of diverse topics with one thing binding them together: the urgency. From the power of friendship when growing up to the power of creativity to change a situation; from the dreams coming true despite a disability to dreams being blocked by borders and bureaucracy, we felt a big urgency within this selection to bring these stories to young audiences.
We had a tough job comparing these qualitative documentaries, not in the least because they were also very diverse in form: from co-creative documentaries to author driven cinema; from claustrophobic portraits to complete universes in virtual reality.
We saw documentaries that were not necessarily made for young audiences, but nonetheless appeal to these young audiences. It raised the interesting question: what are the criteria to select the best children’s documentary?
As a jury, we are very happy that festivals like IDFA present this diversity of stories, places, perspectives, and artistic beliefs to young audiences. We applaud in particular the gender diversity of the filmmakers and characters within the selection. It can only mean our future is safe.
Our special mention goes to a documentary with an innovative form that does justice to the urgent topic. A form that is empowering to both the spectator and the main characters. It shows what creativity can do. As a jury, we felt a lot of respect for the effort in finding a suitable form for bringing forward such a delicate theme. The special mention goes to An Intermission by Edwin Mingard.
For the winner, we chose great cinema piece. The craftsmanship is outstanding: the cinematography, sound design, and editing are all a world onto its own. It is great cinema with a lot of stillness, but at the same time it is exciting to watch because you empathize with a strong main character from minute one. It is a world far away but also familiar, universal. It tells just enough to leave space for your imagination, like a poem. The IDFA Award for Best Children’s Documentary goes to Shadegan by Ako Salemi.