IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

    • set 20 items

    With an influx of young filmmakers, the IDFA Competition for Short Documentary has grown in scope, with twenty selected titles that showcase a healthy boom for the short film form. A mosaic of styles and themes defines this selection, exploring everything a short documentary can be: from animation to personal archive films to classic documentary cinema, with plenty of experimenting in between. Explore the selection below.

    Selected for the shorts competition

    Adjusting

    • Dejan Petrović
    • 2021

      Distinctively framed, observational footage of a dog rescue center in Serbia, and in particular of the endearing dog Vanja and her anonymous trainer. Can humans and animals learn from each other? And what works best: punishment or reward?

      More info

      Bancal

      • Rafael Montezuma
      • 2021

        Santiago performs each action with intense concentration: searching out the right stone, chiseling it a bit, carefully positioning it atop the others. And with equal serenity and attentiveness, this stunning, mysterious film contemplates his masterly work.

        More info

        Contents Inventory

        • Irene Lusztig
        • 2021

          What is the true value of things? What makes a house a home? Irene Lusztig looks beyond the clichés in this compassionate, thoughtful documentary, as she interviews some of her neighbors who have lost everything in a major forest fire.

          More info

          Dixie

          • Caroline Rumley
          • 2020

            In serene black-and-white, filmmaker Caroline Rumley embarks on a personal quest, digging into her family’s past in the southern states of the U.S. and revealing a disconcerting history. Can she reconcile herself with her roots?

            More info

            Don’t Worry

            • Juan Vicente Manrique
            • 2021

              In the highlands of the Mexican state Guerrero, 14-year-old Tavo gives his friends weapons training. It’s a daily reality in a region where villagers are increasingly taking the defense of their community into their own hands.

              More info

              Five Scenes from the War in Afghanistan as They Appear in East Sussex

              • Frank Eli Martin
              • 2021

                In a greenhouse, a British military veteran talks about returning from Afghanistan with PTSD. His therapy consists of gardening. A powerful contemplation of the effect of memory and trauma, framed by the flowers he planted himself.

                More info

                Gangnam Beauty

                • Yan Tomaszewski
                • 2020

                  English-born Oli London has spent a fortune on plastic surgery to make them look like Korean pop-star Jimin. A delightful blend of documentary and theatrical drama on the subject of idol worship, with Oli also performing a re-imagining of a Korean myth.

                  More info

                  Handbook

                  • Pavel Mozhar
                  • 2021

                    The Belarusian police dealt brutally with protesters demonstrating against the re-election of President Lukashenko in August 2020. The protesters’ re-enacted testimonies form a dry but impactful instruction video.

                    More info

                    Herd

                    • Omer Daida
                    • 2021

                      A thoughtful father-daughter portrait in which 10-year-old Na’ama considers her father’s business—he’s a livestock farmer supplying the meat industry. Na’ama loves animals and has questions about their fate. Is it possible to do business differently?

                      More info

                      I Am Trying to Remember

                      • Pegah Ahangarani
                      • 2021

                        To the accompaniment of a powerful sound score, filmmaker Pegah Ahangarani uses photographs, videos, and vivid recollections from her own childhood to evoke a collective memory of the Iranian revolution.

                        More info

                        Letter from Eusapia

                        • Andrés Cornejo Pinto
                        • 2021

                          The son sends robotic cameras into the sewers of Brussels; the father performs keyhole surgery in Ecuador. Both are investigating disease and decline, which affects them personally when the Covid-19 pandemic makes their separation palpable.

                          More info

                          Nelly’s Memory

                          • Nicolas Wouters
                          • 2021

                            A grandson of colonists in the Belgian Congo wants to know what life there was really like—behind the photos, letters, and films of his grandparents. As it turns out, this is a hopeless task. Silence and looking the other way were the essence of colonial life.

                            More info

                            Nuisance Bear

                            • Jack Weisman, Gabriela Osio Vanden
                            • 2021

                              Churchill, Manitoba is a famous destination for photographing polar bears. But how do they experience the attention? Beautifully composed shots assume a bear’s perspective as it navigates a suspenseful obstacle course of human activity. 

                              More info

                              Our Ark

                              • Deniz Tortum, Kathryn Hamilton
                              • 2021

                                Now that it’s technologically possible, we are trying to record virtually our entire world. In this video essay, Deniz Tortum and Kathryn Hamilton ask complex philosophical questions that are easily overlooked as developments hurtle ever onwards.

                                More info

                                Prosopagnosia

                                • Steven Fraser
                                • 2021

                                  Filmmaker Steven Fraser lives with prosopagnosia, otherwise known as “face blindness,” which means he can’t remember or recognize faces. In this DIY film he uses animation to convey what this means to him.

                                  More info

                                  Random Patrol

                                  • Yohan Guignard
                                  • 2021

                                    An award-winning short film shot entirely from the passenger seat, about a police officer patrolling an Oklahoma City suburb. A multifaceted portrait of a man scarred by his work for the police force.

                                    More info

                                    Sine die

                                    • Camila Moreiras
                                    • 2021

                                      There’s plutonium buried beneath the village of Palomares in southern Spain, and it’s still radioactive. The landscape and the director’s own body come together in parallel stories, shot on celluloid, about recovery and survival.

                                      More info

                                      Survive

                                      • Lara Milena Brose, Kilian Armando Friedrich
                                      • 2021

                                        Burnt-out twentysomething Leon is struggling in a residential rehab clinic. His father Hans-Joachim, by contrast, is brimming with zest for life—in fact, this landscape artist is planning to live forever, as a “homo digitalis.”

                                        More info

                                        Two-Spirit

                                        • Mónica Taboada-Tapia
                                        • 2021

                                          A transgender woman in a small indigenous community in Colombia, Georgina counters the hostility directed at her with the words, “I have only love.”

                                          More info

                                          Wolf Whispers

                                          • Chloé Belloc
                                          • 2020

                                            “Since I was a child, my brother has been absent.” This is how the filmmaker describes her relationship with her autistic brother. In a sensitive, highly visual film she goes beyond the limitations of words to put herself in the world he experiences.

                                            More info

                                            This website uses cookies.

                                            By using cookies we can measure how our site is used, how it can be further improved and to personalize the content of online advertisements.

                                            Read
                                             here everything about our cookie policy. If you choose to decline, we only place functional and analytical cookies