During the IDFA 2023 press conference, artistic director Orwa Nyrabia reflected on the role of documentary film in response to urgent and devastating global affairs.
“Where journalism offers an immediate response or direct commentary to historical events as they unfold, documentary film offers a broader perspective. Documentary filmmakers have known and have told us that these terrible events were coming. No matter how atrocious, it is not a surprise. The signs were clear, and filmmakers integrated them into their films. Films that have been shown at IDFA recently and over the past 36 years of the festival’s life. Films that tell us and remind us that oppression breeds extremism. That the lack of hope breeds anger and violence. That violence breeds violence. That pains breeds pain. And that echoes over generations. The festival brings us together again. Let us listen better, so to break from our definitions of ourselves and our warring identities. Let us not get trapped in our own ideas and patterns. IDFA gives space for serious, responsible, and in-depth debate. The festival gives space to films and filmmakers to tell us how they see the world in their own subjective view and what they see for the future. I believe that things would have been much better if we had all listened more carefully. Let’s do that now, let’s have a festival and listen better, to honor all victims.”