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Taking place from November 19th to the 29th at a number of venues in Amsterdam, the IDFA will present events and screenings celebrating an international selection of "documentaries that are cinematically intriguing or innovative, are relevant or highly topical to society at large, and stimulate the viewer to reflect, discuss and ask questions." Along with its annual festival, the IDFA also supports documentary filmmaking through several subsidiary programs: The Jan Vrijman Fund concentrates on supporting the development of documentary projects in developing nations; the FORUM is the largest European co-financing market; and "an international documentary market where buyers, sales agents and distributors can see a selection from the best creative documentaries of the past year" is known as Docs for Sale.
Each year the festival draws a substantial number of entries from Europe and North America (Germany alone is represented with 21 productions this year), but the event is truly an international affair with directors and films originating in dozens of countries around the globe. Perusing an alphabetical listing of films for the 2009 festival, the first partial page of 'A' entries alone includes projects from Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan, England, Russia, Iraq/Iran, the United States, Canada, France, and of course The Netherlands.
And while the event centers on finished productions, the IDFA is also a bonanza for networking and film development. Organizers have gone so far as to assemble a Guest List of filmmakers, producers, publicists and other industry collaborators who will be in attendance. Opportunities for schmoozing will abound, with events such as Guests Meet Guests and the Docs for Sale Happy Hour scheduled alongside regular IDFA workshops and speaking presentations.
No film festival would be complete without awards, and up for grabs at the annual IDFA event are top honors in the three major formats (Feature-Length Documentaries running longer than 60 minutes, Mid-Length documentaries between 30-60 minutes, and Short Documentary films under one-half hour), as well as First Appearance honors for documentaries by new filmmakers and a special competition for student films presented by members of various film academies. Special programs at this year's festival include Not Normal Films (posing the question: "What is normal and who decides?"), Green Documentaries (with themes of environmentalism and globalization), and a career retrospective and master class with octogenarian American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman.
Those unable to attend the festival in person but living in The Netherlands, Belgium or Luxembourg can view a selection of films online via the IDFA TV streaming video page. SEE ALSO: www.idfa.nl
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.
See other articles by Eric J Herboth.
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