As If We Were Catching a Cobra 122 min.

Hala Alabdalla, United Arab Emirates / Syria / France, 2012, color, HDcam

Inspired by events surrounding the Danish Mohammed cartoons, Syrian filmmaker Hala Alabdalla interviews political cartoonists in Egypt and Syria about the tension caused by their work. What starts as a documentary about cartoons in the Middle East takes another turn when the Arab Spring arrives in both countries. From her studio in Paris, Alabdalla makes additional comments on the events in voice-over. The cartoonists talk at length about the tradition of political illustrations, their battle with censorship and their struggles to keep irony and rebellion alive under authoritarian regimes. After the protests, the director gets in touch with them again, asking them in what way the revolution has influenced their lives and work. Some of them actively participated in the protests and didn't come away unscathed. They reflect on their fears, the dangers of the uprising and the euphoria that came with the sudden freedom of expression. The interviews are combined with personal scenes of Alabdalla as she follows the revolution through social media, on her computer screen back in Paris.

Opening film: Stranger in Paradise October 18, 2016 | IDFA 2016 will open at the Royal Theatre Carré on November 16 with Stranger in Paradise by Dutch director Guido Hendrikx, exploring the relationship between Europe and refugees in a film on the boundary between documentary and drama.
Three films selected for IBF Europe distribution support October 18, 2016 | The IDFA Bertha Fund has concluded the final selection round of 2016. Three documentaries will receive grants through the IBF Europe scheme for distribution support.
IDFA Forum Selection 2016 October 17, 2016 | The selection for IDFA Forum 2016 has been announced. This year's Forum welcomes 60 pitch teams from 25 different countries.
Film List 2016 October 10, 2016 | The full line-up for IDFA 2016 is now online. Full details on all films and programme information will be announced November 3.
IDFA Spotlight in Ramallah October 4, 2016 | IDFA will present a documentary programme during the upcoming ‘Days of Cinema’, taking place October 15-21 in Ramallah.
Special focus program: Assembling Reality October 4, 2016 | In the IDFA 2016 special focus program Assembling Reality, leading international editors - including director/editor Frederick Wiseman - will discuss the role of editing in constructing documentary narratives.
Special focus program: Shifting Perspectives September 27, 2016 | The special focus program Shifting Perspectives will investigate the role of opinion-shaping in terms of the way we see and think about race and identity, as well as the perspectives from which we do so.
Special focus program: The Quiet Eye September 20, 2016 | IDFA’s special focus program The Quiet Eye will investigate ‘slow documentary’, presenting documentary projects that take the experience of time in real life as their starting point.
Sergei Loznitsa to present Top 10 August 30, 2016 | This year’s IDFA Top 10 will be compiled by Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa. His latest documentary, Austerlitz, will have its world premiere at the Venice film festival and will screen at IDFA as part of a retrospective of Loznitsa's work.
IDFA Award at Docu Rough Cut Boutique August 19, 2016 | At last night's closing ceremony of the Docu Rough Cut Boutique of the Sarajevo Film Festival, the IDFA Award was given to City of the Sun by Rati Oneli.
The Vice Documentary Pitch at IDFA July 25, 2016 | VICE returns to IDFA to launch The VICE Documentary Pitch at IDFA, offering filmmakers a chance to win a commission from the VICE documentary team. 
IDFA Bertha Fund Concludes May 2016 Selection July 12, 2016 | Eleven documentary projects from countries including Sudan, Chile, Syria, Cuba, Afghanistan and Ukraine will be supported through IDFA Bertha Fund - Classic. The selection includes new projects by Maite Alberdi, Alisa Kovalenko and Manolo Sarmiento.


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