IDFA 2016: A First Glimpse


The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam is almost a month away and we couldn’t be more excited.

If you are lucky enough to find yourselves in Amsterdam, you will never run out of things, as the city seems to be always busy. A cultural hub, Amsterdam is annually home to more than 300 festivals, for every taste. One of the biggest sensations is the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), which is returning for the 29th time. It comes across as the world’s biggest documentary festival and it takes place all over the city. With 297 titles- including 102 world premieres- the selection of films to watch is naturally hard. Some of this year’s subjects include technology, mental illness and, of course, the war raging in the Middle East. We took a first look at the full program and we are recommending some titles- just so you make sure you reserve the dates.

1) Beware the Slenderman (USA)

What is real and what is fantasy? Modern day media makes it hard to tell, thus the younger generations get fascinated by modern mythical creatures- such as the Slenderman. Two teenage girls decide to sacrifice their friend so the Slenderman spares their lives.

2) Cameraperson (USA)

At what point does the observer become a participant? Kirsten Johnson (director) allows us to enter her private life, while she is recording a politically charged reality.

3) OJ: Made in America (USA)

More than 7 hours of material on the trial that shook the US. OJ’s case initiated a hardcore conversation on race, civil rights, and equality. Several people involved in the case give their own testimonies.

4) Raving Iran (Switzerland)

Electronic music is banned in Iran and moral police are always around, looking for suspects. Blade & Beard are two DJs craving for a normal life, but they know this can only happen by abandoning their dreams. They must decide soon, as they are called to perform at a festival in Zurich. Filmed by cell phones gives an extra edge to Raving Iran.

5) Nowhere to Hide (Norway/ Sweden)

Nori Sharif was asked to report within “the triangle of death” the state of his country after the war. Working as a nurse in a local hospital gave him access to shocking images and stories. When the IS takes over Jalawla, Sharif finds himself in the same position as his filmed objects.

6) Like Dew in the Sun (Switzerland)

Peter Entell goes back to his father’s home country, Ukraine, seeking for an answer to the question: “why is there so much misery in this country?” The ongoing wars have left the nation torn apart, both ethnically and religiously. War leaves behind only losers.

7) Venus (Denmark/ Norway)

A woman is expected to be both innocent and wild at the same time. The two filmmakers try to explore female frustrations related to sex life so they hold a casting session. During the session, women talk openly about their frustrations, fantasies, and wills, turning the casting call to a sincere and intimate discussion.

8) The Good Postman (Finland/ Bulgaria)

Villages being deserted is a common phenomenon in the Balkans. Ivan the Postman, lives in “The Great Gate,” a village of 38 people. He decides to run for mayor. According to his agenda, he wants to relocate Syrian refugees in the Great Gate, so village becomes vivid again.

9) The European (The Netherlands)

One would imagine that being a parliament member of the collapsing European Parliament would be a hard task, yet Frans Timmermans proves otherwise. Despite his hectic agenda, he still finds time to spend with his children. We see what his life was like in the span of two years: from his appointment as the Vice President of the European committee to Brexit.

10) Stranger in Paradise (The Netherlands)

Being unwanted is a reality that the thousands of refugees flowing into Europe have to face. Three different scenarios of welcoming are presented to three groups of refugees: a dismissive, an empathetic and the actual European migration policy. Is it human to categorize someone else’s life?

IDFA 2016 will be held from 16- 27 November.


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