IDFA offers an independent and inspiring meeting place for audiences and professionals to see a diverse and high-quality program. The diverse nature of the event applies to the form and content of the films as well as to the cultural backgrounds of the filmmakers. IDFA offers an alternative to mass entertainment and uniformity, confirming that there is an increasing need in audiences for high-quality films that delve deep and urge us to reflect.
The creative documentary is IDFA’s point of departure. These are documentaries that are visually striking and express the filmmaker’s vision. The filmmaker makes artistic choices in the use of cinematic means (image, sound and editing) to convey his or her vision on the subject matter and tell the story. This artistic demand is the festival’s most crucial selection criterion – originality, expressiveness and cultural and/or historical value pay an important role as well.
Creative documentaries also offer new insights into society – they open our eyes and stimulate our critical thinking power. IDFA strives to screen films with urgent social themes that reflect the spirit of the time in which they are made. They do not reiterate the reality of yesterday or today, as this is the job of the news. News can break us down, but background stories do the opposite. They offer nuance and provide insight, making reflection on current events possible. IDFA considers this kind of social function to be crucial in its evaluation of documentary submissions.
Finally, IDFA searches for documentaries that manage to move the viewer. The power of a great documentary is when it succeeds in touching us, getting us to feel uncomfortable, softening us up or making us laugh. IDFA strives to be an accessible festival, to reach people of all walks of life and function as a true experience for as diverse an audience as possible.
IDFA focuses on talent, new media and cultural diversity. These focal points are implemented over the entire breadth of the IDFA event: not only in the festival programming, but also in the aforementioned activities for film professionals. They are key in further developing the genre, guaranteeing the multiformity of the documentary landscape, offering audiences and professionals varied stories and perspectives that lead to high-quality reflection, and solidifying IDFA’s own unique position.