An overview of IDFA's current competitions, non-competitive and focus program sections, and special awards. The film selection for IDFA 2017 has now been announced; the full festival program will be announced in early November.
IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary
A selection of 15 documentaries longer than 70 minutes compete in the IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary. An international jury will evaluate the films and select the winners of the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary and the IDFA Special Jury Award for Feature-Length Documentary.
IDFA Competition for First Appearance
With this competition, IDFA supports talented new filmmakers. The documentaries in this competition compete for the two awards given out in this section. An international jury will evaluate the films and select the winners of the IDFA Award for Best First Appearance and the IDFA Special Jury Award for First Appearance, in memory of Peter Wintonick.
IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary
Fifteen documentaries between 40 and 70 minutes long are competing in this competition. A three-member international jury will evaluate the films and select the winners of the IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary and the IDFA Special Jury Award for Mid-Length Documentary.
IDFA DocLab Competitions
DocLab is open to all sorts of interactive projects, ranging from webdocs, apps and virtual reality projects to data art, multimedia journalism, installations and live performances. The best projects compete in two competition programs: the IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling and the IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction.
IDFA Competition for Short Documentary
A selection of international short films compete in this competition. An international jury will evaluate the films and select the winners of the IDFA Award for Best Short Documentary and the IDFA Special Jury Award for Short Documentary.
IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary
Dutch documentaries have always occupied an important position at the festival. Since 2009, IDFA has presented the IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary to highlight this connection. An international jury evaluates the films in this competition and selects the winners of the Beeld en Geluid IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary and the IDFA Special Jury Award for Dutch Documentary.
IDFA Competition for Student Documentary
A selection of international graduation films compete in this competition. An international jury will evaluate the films and select the winners of the ARRI IDFA Award for Best Student Documentary and the IDFA Special Jury Award for Student Documentary. Both winners will also receive an Amira camera, provided on loan by ARRI.
IDFA Competition for Kids & Docs
In its long-standing program section Kids & Docs, IDFA presents the best new international children's documentaries. An international jury will evaluate the films and select the winners of the IDFA Award for Best Children's Documentary and the IDFA Special Jury Award for Children’s Documentary. Several of the selected titles each year are the results of IDFA's annual Kids & Docs Workshop, which ran until 2015 and offered directors the opportunity to develop a documentary for young people.
Camera in Focus
Following in the footsteps of programs focusing on sound design and editing in previous years, IDFA is this year placing special focus on cinematography in the documentary through the program Camera in Focus. Established DoP's as well as up-and-coming camera talents will discuss specific films they've worked on and their unique, inspirational ways of capturing stories through images.
Shifting Perspectives: The Arab World
With this program of films and debates, IDFA offers a counterbalance to Western stereotypes that ignore the complexity of the Arabic-speaking world and keep ‘the Arab’ at arm’s length, as ‘the other’. Shifting Perspectives: The Arab World consists of sixteen films, both classic and new, examining life in a range of Arab countries as seen from the perspective of filmmakers from the region.
The Visual Voice
IDFA is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and we will also be saying goodbye to founder and director Ally Derks. In the program The Visual Voice, 18 renowned directors are honoring the festival, its founder and the documentary genre by screening their favorite films.
DocLab: Uncharted Rituals
IDFA's interactive media art platform DocLab this year focuses on the "rituals" created around the interaction between human and technology. Exploring new behaviors - that so far have been Uncharted Rituals - during live events, an interactive exhibition, online and on the street.
Jonathan Harris' Top 10 and Retrospective
For the first time ever, IDFA’s annual Top 10 program will be compiled by an interdisciplinary documentary artist in stead of a filmmaker. Internet artist Jonathan Harris will be this year’s IDFA guest of honor, compiling this year's Top 10 program as well as being honored with a Retrospective of his work.
In the program section Masters, the festival presents the latest documentaries by renowned documentary auteurs such as Errol Morris, Claire Simon, Steve James, Rithy Panh, and Lucy Walker.
Best of Fests
In Best of Fests, the festival presents films that have made an impact on the international festival circuit this year.
Panorama is one of IDFA's main program sections, returning every year. In this section, the festival presents films from all over the world, which are thought-provoking in their form and choice of theme.
The "periphery" of the documentary genre takes center stage in the Paradocs program. The films in this section section showcase what is going on beyond the frame of traditional documentary filmmaking, on the borders between film and art, truth and fiction, and narrative and design.
Paradocs: Amsterdam Art Weekend at IDFA
IDFA teams up with Amsterdam Art Weekend to screen films by artists represented by Amsterdam galleries, as well as residents of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten and De Ateliers.
Capturing a band, an orchestra or an musician, these documentaries live for music. Screenings of many films from the program will be accompanied by live performances connected to the films.
IDFA Junior is the special selection of youth documentaries for children from the age of 8 years and up. Screening during an event on the last Sunday of the festival in Filmmuseum Eye.