Global outreach

Representing IDFA at film festivals abroad

Beyond our strong grounding in Amsterdam, the IDFA team travels the world to participate in documentary showcases, panels, pitching events, and everything in between. To kick off 2019, we headed to the Berlinale’s European Film Market, where we met with filmmakers at various expert sessions and moderated a panel on diverse programming at documentary festivals.

In February, IDFA DocLab presented a showcase at SXSW for the twelfth year in a row—this time with a new selection of artworks under the header ‘Algorithmic Intimacy.’

Springtime saw the IDFA team travel to Cannes, where we participated in a panel on gender parity, hosted a talk on today’s documentary boom, and held various expert consultations.

The list goes on! In 2019, we also started to examine how we can reduce our environmental footprint—a process that will be essential from this point forward.

Awards for a new generation of talent

Throughout 2019, we had the pleasure of awarding 11 emerging filmmakers and new media artists at Chile Conecta, Guadalajara International Film Festival, DocedgeKolkata, East Doc Platform, Beirut Cinema Platform, Visions du Réel, Mediamorfosis Mexico, DocMontevideo, Sarajevo Film Festival, Ouaga Film Lab, and CNEX. With an IDFA Project Award under their belt, the winners were welcomed to IDFA 2019 with accreditation to IDFAcademy or IDFA Forum, meetings with relevant industry professionals, free travel and accommodation.

Members of the Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk meet Dame Helen Mirren, ambassador of the cause. From left to right: Vanja Kaludjercic (IFFR), Dame Helen Mirren, Marion Döring (EFA), Orwa Nyrabia (IDFA).

The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk

2019 also marked the seedlings of the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk, an initiative by the European Film Academy, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and IDFA to advocate for who face political persecution for their work.

After participating in more ad-hoc calls to action for imprisoned film professionals such as Oleg Sentsov and Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, the Coalition formed as a concrete step forward for its ability to act as a permanent body that could offer support in a coordinated manner, and document and legitimize the cases of persecuted filmmakers. Since emerging from our IDFA 2018 industry talk ‘Solidarity with Filmmakers at Risk’, the initiative has grown considerably. By the end of 2019, actress Helen Mirren and Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi even signed on as early ambassadors of the Coalition, a hopeful sign of further support to come.

“Artistic freedom is not a privilege—it is a human right. Standing in solidarity with our filmmaking colleagues and friends around the world who are being deprived of their creative freedom has to be our honorable duty.”
– Helen Mirren, ambassador of the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk

Next steps and new challenges

With an international reach now stretching farther than ever before, IDFA is eager to move forward into the future. A big part of that future will include advocacy for filmmakers and the documentary community—a priority IDFA looks forward to undertaking.

At the same time, however, being an institute that travels the world demands more responsibility and accountability for our ecological footprint. We have taken a small step towards this with the development of an environmental policy, but this requires further consideration. This is another practice that will surely define the future of IDFA, and the documentary world at large.