Reaching a global audience

A festival in times of Covid-19

2020 was an eventful year—the most eventful year in IDFA's history. We don't have to explain why. But in addition to many disappointments and difficulties, 2020 also brought a lot of hope. The state of the world invited reflection. In the first place, there was something remarkable about time, or rather the sense of time. It seemed as if we were, on the one hand, catapulted back in time and, on the other hand, as if we made a huge leap into the future. Measurable time and tactile time differed immensely. As the weeks rolled on, IDFA's virtual offices were infused with a pioneering spirit that was strongly reminiscent of the 1990s. Swallowed up in the folds of time, everyone worked with tremendous energy on a whole matter of new activities even though we didn't know how our efforts would turn out, and it turned out well. From an empty Tuschinski theatre, IDFA 2020 opened as a hybrid festival edition. All films had their premiere in a theatre for a crowd of maximum of 30 people, after which they were shown to a larger audience online in the newly developed online dashboard. Filmmakers were called in for a live Q&A, either on the silver screen or on the screen at home. The two markets, the industry program, and the talent development program all took place in a fully online setting. IDFA films were shown in cinemas throughout the Netherlands in IDFA Extended. In 2020, IDFA presented a total of over 250 documentaries and interactive projects from over 70 countries, of which 93 were world premieres, 43 international premieres, and 15 European premieres. With this exemptional scenario, IDFA reached an audience of approximately 190,000 people, amongst which over 32,500 pupils and 3,200 international professionals from all over the world. The 2020 activities have been evaluated as very positive by both the general audience and professionals, and several formats from the festival have served as an example for other leading international film festivals. Moreover, because of the Online Collection with documentaries and new media projects, the amount of website visits has increased dramatically from 1.6 million to almost 3.5 million. With a strong drive for innovation, continuous sharpening of the artistic quality, diversity of the program, and with support from old and new partners, IDFA was able to play a meaningful role for its audience and the international documentary community amidst the bizarre circumstances in 2020. More than ever, we dedicate the festival to all our friends worldwide who have made this edition possible. It has truly been inspiring to witness the support we have provided each other in these difficult times. Now on to the next chapter! Back to the theaters where we can experience cinema together.

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