Selecting films and new media projects for the festival

    All festival submissions are reviewed thoroughly and carefully by our international programming team. At IDFA, selecting is a highly collaborative process that involves a dedicated team of experienced programmers, associate programmers, and program advisors. These experts from around the world join in the discussion that leads up to IDFA’s final selection. The selection process is overseen by IDFA’s artistic director.

    About the film selection process

    Submitted films are considered for IDFA’s competitions, Luminous, Frontlight, Masters, Best of Fests, Paradocs, and IDFA on Stage. Films can also be actively scouted for these sections, which is handled by the Program team in collaboration with regionally based Associate Programmers. In all cases, the films undergo an extensive selection process that starts with all filmmakers submitting an entry form.

    In 2022, María Campaña Ramia joins the Program team, working alongside Joost Daamen, Sarah Dawson, and Laura van Halsema on the International Competition, Envision Competition, Luminous, and Frontlight. For these sections, the four programmers each work with their own team of program advisors to put forward a shortlist of films. Once the films are shortlisted, the programmers collectively curate the selection for the two main competitions, Luminous, and Frontlight.

    For short films, Programmer Jasper Hokken works with his own team of program advisors to make a selection for the IDFA Competition for Short Documentary. Hokken also selects the short films for Best of Fests, Masters, and Frontlight.

    Programmer Joost Daamen is responsible for selecting films for the Paradocs section, taking input from the programmers and program advisors of the other sections.

    Selecting the titles for IDFA on Stage is a collaborative effort between programmer Jasper Hokken and IDFA’s new media team.

    All programmers are involved in selecting the films for the program sections Best of Fests and Masters, which together make up the bulk of the festival selection.

    The team members involved in the 2022 IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary will follow, but the process involves the same model as the other competitions, in which a curator leads a team of program advisors to reach a selection.

    Finally, submitted films are sometimes also considered for IDFA’s thematic Focus Programs. These sections are curated by IDFA’s programmers and include both new and historical films.

    The entire selection process is overseen by Orwa Nyrabia, IDFA’s artistic director.

    Film programmers

    María Campaña Ramia is an Ecuadorian film curator based in Rio de Janeiro. As a programmer, she has worked for MajorDocs (Spain), Ambulante (Mexico) and Encuentros del Otro Cine - EDOC (Ecuador), where she served as Artistic Director for ten years. In 2012, she co-edited the book El Otro Cine - Eduardo Coutinho and received a fellowship from the Flaherty Seminar. María has organized festivals and showcases in Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia and the United States. She writes for international journals and film publications, and collaborates with funds and institutions evaluating projects.

    Joost Daamen is a senior programmer at IDFA. He holds an MA degree in Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam. Since 2005, he has been working for IDFA’s Program department. Over the years, he has contributed to and programmed the main (non-)competition programs and Paradocs program, and he has (co-)curated focus programs.

    Sarah Dawson is a programmer and festival organizer from South Africa, where she began her career lecturing and writing about film and presenting grassroots film exhibition programs to nurture a local culture of film appreciation. She has gone on to contribute to festival programs including Durban International Film Festival, where she served as festival manager, as well as Africa in Motion, Sheffield Doc/Fest, London Short Film Festival, and IDFA. She has an MA in Film Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

    Laura van Halsema has an MA degree in American Studies from the University of Amsterdam. She has been working for IDFA since 2002, where for many years she developed and curated focus programs on several elements of documentary film art. The focuses ranged from the purely artistic aspects of filmmaking to investigations of complex questions relating to individualism, global politics, the role of media, and democracy. As Senior Programmer, she is part of the selection committee of the main competitions as well as being responsible for the focus programs and talks program.

    Jasper Hokken is a programmer IDFA, where he is responsible for IDFA’s Short Documentary Competition. He is also a curator for the IDFA on Stage program, which presents unique live events that explores the space between documentary cinema, new media, and performing arts. Additionally, he manages the festival’s online video-on-demand collection, which currently offers a curated online catalogue of 1000+ IDFA-selected documentary films and new media projects. Prior to working at IDFA in 2011, he studied Media & Culture Studies at the University of Amsterdam. In 2012, he completed his Master degree in Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image that specialized in online film distribution.

    Film program advisors

    Alia Ayman is a filmmaker, curator and NYU doctoral candidate, based between Cairo and New York City, and has contributed to the programs of Berlinale Forum, IDFA, BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia the Arab Women Film Festival in Brazil, Images Festival in Toronto, Flaherty NYC and Arsenal Institute for Film and Video in Berlin among others.

    Ela Bittencourt is a critic and curator currently based in São Paulo. She is a contributor to Artforum, Criterion, Film Comment, Harper’s, Reverse Shot, and Sight & Sound. Bittencourt is a consultant for Giornate degli Autori (Venice Days) and a member of the selection committee for It’s All True. She has curated sessions at the True / False Film Festival, São Paulo International Film Festival, CineSesc, Instituto Moreira Salles, and the Museum of the Moving Image.

    Kees Brienen is a filmmaker and film programmer. He studied filmmaking at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. His feature debut Dead Body Welcome premiered at IFFR in 2013. Over the years he has curated (special) programs for festivals such as IFFR, IDFA, and Cinema Planeta, among others.

    Victoria Chernukha is an editor, programmer, and creative producer. She worked as an investigative journalist before focusing on film acquisition for cable outlets and festival programming. She collaborated in various capacities with Message to Man, IMFF, Beat Film festival, and 2/Tomorrow Film Festival in Russia, and has been a program adviser at IDFA since 2018. Alongside developing hybrid and non-fiction film projects in the Netherlands, Victoria curates discursive programs for cultural institutions. Since 2021 she has also overlooked IDFA’s public talks program.

    Nadica Denić is a film researcher and curator with Serbian origins, currently residing in Amsterdam. As a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam, she explores how migrant perspectives in documentary advance a cinematic ethics of migration. She has been a member of IDFA’s selection committee since 2019.

    Film curator and critic Katarina Hedrén resides in South Africa. She has worked as film curator and co-curator for Stockholm CinemAfrica Film Festival, Johannesburg First Wednesday Film Club, South Africa European Film Festival, Addis-Ababa African Film Week, and London Film Africa. Katarina provides regular support as a consultant, advisor, mentor, speaker, and moderator to film festivals, markets, funds, and other events around the world.

    Born in 1979 in Sudan, Suhaib Gasmelbari studied cinema in France at Paris VIII. He directed short films while researching the Sudanese film archives, during which he found lost films that led to his first feature film, Talking About Trees, awarded at the Berlinale and other festivals.

    Young-Woo Kim studied Visual Arts & TV at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, USA. He worked for Busan International Film Festival as a programmer in charge of Asian cinema and a member of the selection committee of Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) and Asian Project Market (APM) as well. Working closely with the Korean independent cinema groups, he has been a board member of Seoul Independent Film Festival. Since 2019, he has worked for DMZ DOCS as a programmer, and also a program advisor of IDFA 2020.

    Wood Lin is a documentary film critic, writer, curator, and festival organizer who has served as Program Director of Taiwan International Documentary Festival since 2013. He has also served as a juror in many international film festivals and is the supervisor of Research and Development at Taiwan Film Institute.

    Andrea Meuzelaar is a media scholar at the department of Media and Culture Studies of Utrecht University, and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of the University of Amsterdam, where she designs courses around IDFA’s program. She holds a PhD from the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis and her research interests include the fields of television history, archival theory, and postcolonial studies. She has advised the (former) Shadow Festival and the documentary committee of the Netherlands Film Fund.

    Belgrade-born and Zagreb-based Vladan Petkovic is a film journalist, critic and festival programmer. His programming experience includes ZagrebDox, Cinema City Novi Sad, FeKK Ljubljana, Kratkofil Banjaluka, and Belgrade Short & Documentary Film Festival. He is also a correspondent for Screen International, senior writer for Cineuropa, contributing editor for IDFA's website, and head of studies of the GoCritic! training program for emerging film critics.

    A graduate of Anthropology (1997) and Urban Arts studies (2020), Lulu Ratna is an Indonesian short film activist based in Jakarta. She has been working as a film festival organizer since 1999 and now is a lecturer on film festival management.

    Currently based in Paris, Raquel Schefer is a Portuguese researcher, lecturer, and author with wide experience curating exhibitions and thematic showcases aimed for museums, festivals and film series. She is the co-editor of the quarterly journal of theory and history of cinema La Furia Umana and teaches at Sorbonne Nouvelle University and Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola.

    Ana Siqueira is a Brazilian film curator, translator and researcher. Head of programming at FestCurtasBH - Belo Horizonte International Short Film Festival (2013-14 and since 2017), she was previously a programmer at Cine Humberto Mauro film theater and various Brazilian film festivals.

    Marietta de Vries is an Amsterdam-based researcher, editor, educator and producer who works in film and book publishing. She teaches at the Design Academy Eindhoven, and since 2017 she has been a program advisor for IDFA.

    Jelte Zonneveld graduated with a specialization in documentary research and development from the MA in Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Since then, he has worked as a (freelance) editor/researcher, programmer, and (impact) producer for various documentary projects. At IDFA he worked as a producer of the Industry program and as an editor for the Doc Talks program; since 2017 he has been a program advisor. He currently works as an independent producer and creative producer at mint film office in Rotterdam.

    About the new media selection process & programming team

    All new media festival submissions and proposals for the IDFA DocLab Open Call for Festival Commissions are assessed by external and international program advisors, followed by a final round of selection and production checks by DocLab’s own curatorial team: Caspar Sonnen, Wotienke Vermeer, and Annabel Troost.

    In 2022, the proposals submitted for the IDFA DocLab Open Call for Festival Commissions are assessed by Tamara  Shogaolu, creative director and founder of Ado Ato Pictures; Janine Steele, production manager working at the confluence of linear filmmaking and emerging media and technologies at Creative BC; Eddie Lou, founder of China's largest immersive media festival, Sandbox Immersive; Jorge Caballero, producer, director, and researcher at Gusano Films, a Barcelona-Bogotá production company specialized in documentary and new media; Ziv Schneider, artist and creative; Anna Szylar, new media curator, visual artist; Rahima Gambo, whose work A Guide to Rest for A Tired Nigerian Artist was presented in the 2021 IDFA DocLab Exhibition; and Milo  Grootjen, head of the ARTIS-Planetarium.

    Dutch projects eligible for the Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant are selected together with the Netherlands Film Fund.

    Submitted new media projects are considered for IDFA DocLab’s competitions for Immersive Non-Fiction, Digital Storytelling and IDFA On Stage.

    New Media Program Advisors

    With a focus on the cultural and museum sector, Callum Cooper works at the intersection of storytelling, design, and technology. He has led a range of large-scale innovative digital projects for institutions including the National Air and Space Museum (Washington), Empire State Building (New York) and is currently the Head of Digital and Content at the Powerhouse Museum (Sydney).

    Ali Eslami is an artist en curator. His work originates in Virtual Reality, often manifesting as VR / Video Installations and performance lectures. Ali's engineering background nurtured an obsession with cybernetics and continues to build his curiosity towards the shifting roles of form and function that create virtual worlds.

    Nienke Huitenga is an award-winning immersive designer and director. In her work she blends immersive experiences, digital art and crossmedia storytelling. Her current practice revolves around exploring the limits of VR, algorithms and generative systems for podcast experiences.

    Faye Kabali-Kagwa is an arts coordinator, cultural curator, and writer. Faye has an uncanny ability to read the pulse of the cultural zeitgeist. Her work connects people and audiences across platforms and disciplines which include theatre, literature, film, and emerging technology.

    Margarita Osipian is a curator, researcher, and writer. Engaging with the intersections and frictions between art, design, technology, and language, she organizes collaborative projects both in formal institutions and in more precarious and fleeting spaces. Margarita is a programmer for The Hmm, a platform for internet cultures, and also works as a curator for both the W139 and Sonic Acts.

    Janine Steele is an experienced producer and administrator at the intersection of arts, film and technology. Currently she is a Project Manager at the economic development agency, Creative BC. Previously, she produced pioneering interactive work at the NFB, including Yesterday Today Tomorrow, Seven Digital Deadly Sins, Bear 71 and Welcome to Pine Point, earning a Cannes Cyber Lion, FWA Site of the Year and several Webby Awards.

    Rafaella Wang is an illustrator and graphic designer. She has been involved with IDFA DocLab since 2012 starting as a jury assistant and taking care of the graphic design. Rafaella has been a program advisor since 2020.

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