IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

    • set 12 items

    IDFA’s flagship competition offers 12 world or international premieres from all over the world, with documentary films that put humanist filmmaking front and center.

    Items in this selection

    Europa, “Based on a True Story”

    • Kivu Ruhorahoza
    • 2019

    A hybrid film by the Rwandan director, who’s making a fiction feature set in London about a mysterious Nigerian man, his mixed-race British lover and the lover’s white husband. Increasing social and racial tension form the backdrop.


    • Valentina Pedicini
    • 2019

    The sect members at an Italian monastery are training hard so they can combat evil. It’s all about openness and blind devotion in this intimate look at an isolated existence.

    I Walk

    • Jørgen Leth
    • 2019

    Filmmaker, sports journalist and poet Jørgen Leth survived an earthquake in Haiti, but since then he has shuffled unsteadily through life. A fascinating personal documentary about dealing with old age when the hunger for life hasn’t been satisfied yet.

    In a Whisper

    • Heidi Hassan, Patricia Pérez Fernández
    • 2019

    Best friends Patricia and Heidi lose touch when they both move from Cuba to Europe. Years later, they send each other video letters. A beautifully designed, sensitive and frank account of two lives broken apart.

    La Mami

    • Laura Herrero Garvin
    • 2019

    Doña Olga worked for more than 40 years in Mexico City’s nightlife. Now she is “La Mami,” the caretaker of the women’s restroom at the Barba Azul Cabaret—a safe haven remaining in a nocturnal world that’s being transformed.

    Let’s Talk

    • Marianne Khoury
    • 2019

    A mother and daughter film each other in intimate conversation about identity and modern life. These scenes are interwoven with images from the family archive and excerpts from the autobiographical feature films of Youssef Chahine, the mother’s uncle.

    Mother and Son

    • Hilal Baydarov
    • 2019

    In rural Azerbaijan, a mother welcomes her adult son, who left home eight years earlier. In the calm rhythm of rural life, reflective silences punctuate their personal, philosophical conversations.

    Pearl of the Desert

    • Pushpendra Singh
    • 2019

    Twelve-year-old Moti grew up with the musical tradition of his Manganiar caste. He becomes the hero of his Indian village when he gets cast in a musical and goes on a world tour. For the talented singer, it’s part of a journey to find where he belongs.


    • Maasja Ooms
    • 2019

    An intimate and sincere portrait of problem teenagers who are placed under temporary supervision. The challenging conversations with a counselor are meant to lead to a better life, but their past won’t leave them alone.

    The Sea Between Us

    • Marlene Edoyan
    • 2019

    Filmmaker Marlene Edoyan follows two women with strong views who grew up on different sides of the same civil war, thus painting an insightful portrait of Beirut: a divided city in an explosive region, balanced in a precarious peace.

    Shadow Flowers

    • Seung-Jun Yi
    • 2019

    Ryun-hee Kim is North Korean, but she has been living in South Korea since 2011—against her will. Returning to South Korea’s northern enemy proves extremely difficult. An unsettling tale that turns our ideas about North and South Korea on their head.

    Sunless Shadows

    • Mehrdad Oskouei
    • 2019

    A picture of life in an Iranian juvenile detention center, where a group of adolescent girls serve their sentence for murdering a male member of their family. Alone with the camera, they reveal their thoughts, feelings and doubts.