The IDFA Bertha Fund (IBF) is the only fund in the world dedicated solely to stimulating and empowering the creative documentary sector in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania. Our aim is to support independent, critical, and artistic voices—by creating space for artistic expression without limitations and safeguarding critical and relevant filmmaking. We do this because we believe that our filmmakers tell compelling and universal stories, which address urgent subjects, and that film is a tool to understand and influence the world around us. By supporting independent filmmakers from IBF regions, we set out to contribute to a more balanced representation and (co-)ownership of documentary narratives.
How we work
The IDFA Bertha Fund was founded in 1998 and is a fundamental part of IDFA. Since 2020, the Fund is part of the Filmmaker Support department, that is dedicated to talent development. The Fund supports relevant films with a clear sense of artistic ambition.
Not limiting the filmmakers’ scope of topics, the overall body of films supported by the IBF presents an outstanding contribution of the global view and representation of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania. Documentaries supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund express the artistic vision of filmmakers and vary greatly in theme, narrative, and visual style. Supported films range from philosophical filmic essays to documentaries dealing with pressing social issues.
The Fund offers documentary filmmakers development and production grants through two funding schemes. Next to financial support, IBF offers a wide range of activities aimed at the professional development of these filmmakers. The workshops and labs are part of IDFA’s talent development program and are aimed at empowering filmmakers throughout the creative process (particularly in story development and editing) and the production process (financing and distribution). Each year’s IBF-selected filmmakers are also invited to attend the festival, where they can present their films and expand their network.
The Fund takes risks on unknown and seasoned filmmakers alike through a rigorous selection process, for which over 750 submissions are made annually, from which 30 projects are selected. The selection process of the IBF has proven successful time and again, with films and filmmakers breaking through from marginalized positions to taking over the most respected festivals and platforms, and winning awards in both cinema and television.
The Fund also actively promotes the harvest of IBF-supported documentaries each year at IDFA, the world's largest and most influential documentary film festival, and helps filmmakers and organizations expand their networks. The IBF puts IDFA's power and reach at the service of its filmmakers.
All these endeavors work towards an inclusive documentary production system where filmmakers and documentaries from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania can reach a worldwide audience, and are presented as prominently at international festivals, markets, and television channels as Western documentaries.
How can you support the IBF?
The IBF connects the love for documentary with the mission to provide urgent stories with the largest possible audience. With your support, we can make more outstanding, creative, and critical films possible. This way, we ensure that urgent stories are shared across the globe, promoting connection and understanding through documentary and debate. Read more about how you can contribute here.
Stills from films previously supported by IBF: All That Breathes by Shaunak Sen / Queendom by Agniia Galdanova / The Mother of All Lies by Asmae El Moudir / Milisuthando by Milisuthando Bongela / The Echo by Tatiana Huezo