"Don't mess with Mr. In-Between," advised Bing Crosby. But these 12 works—all of them touching to greater or lesser degrees on important, socially-conscious themes—display the validity of a filmmaking format which can too easily be overlooked. It is to IDFA's credit that mid-length cinema is not just a part of its selection, but that it is the recipient of a €7,500 Ammodo-supported prize. Mid-length films are, we believe, just as worthy of attention as features and shorts, and not merely "stepping-stones." While regrettably restricted regarding theatrical possibilities, they can conversely be a vital crossover between cinematic and televisual forms.
A handful of our dozen betrayed signs of the problems that can afflict mid-lengthers: too television-oriented, or giving the impression of an over-stretched short, or of an over-condensed feature. However the majority did, gratifyingly, aptly match duration with content and ambition. We were particularly pleased to discover emerging talents among more familiar names like Třeštíková and Quadri. We will hear much more about them in the years to come—in a future when distinctions between running-times are hopefully less rigid, and when the inspiring strength of mid-length work continues to be recognized, valorized and rewarded by leading festivals such as IDFA.
A direct, intimate, and personal film which provides a surprising and original perspective on a subject-matter and a place which have both become familiar in documentaries over recent years. Among several fascinating character studies in this year's competition, this one stands out for the way in which the director engages with his protagonist, both of them emerging as stronger artistic voices via this process of creative, collaborative symbiosis. Our special mention goes to Hamedine Kane for The Blue House.
A multi-layered film about survival in one of Earth's most forgotten places, this outstanding achievement deals with and embodies vulnerability. We are transported on a journey into the depths of human desperation, respectfully examining the incredible effort required to sustain hope, integrity, and the will to live. The film is a document of one country, but raises universal questions about loneliness and socio-economic injustice. That country is Mongolia. The 2020 IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary goes to Nomin Lkhagvasuren for The Wheel.