How we work

Empowering creative documentaries from the Global South

How We Work

The IDFA Bertha Fund supports independent documentary projects by both experienced directors and talented young filmmakers from the global south. With funding and advice, the Fund strives to encourage a new generation of filmmakers in developing a voice and style of their own and consequently to stimulate and empower the creative documentary sector in these regions. In addition, the Fund acts as a matchmaker and promoter of the supported filmmakers and documentaries to financiers, producers, sales agents and festivals worldwide.


IBF Classic: Funding Documentary Projects

The IDFA Bertha Fund’s Classic categories are open to independent filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe. The Fund maintains a list of eligible countries, and only filmmakers from these countries are allowed to apply. The applications the IBF receives are assessed by an international selection committee consisting of members active in the documentary film industry in various capacities, taking into account certain selection criteria. The IBF Classic funding scheme maintains two different categories:


IBF Classic Project Development

Contributions for project development during the early phase play a crucial role in starting up a project. The maximum contribution is €5,000. Filmmakers may use the contribution for research, development of a script and/or production of a trailer.


IBF Classic Production and Post-production

Financial support during the production phase allows filmmakers to make a start on the actual realization of their projects. During the post-production phase, the documentaries are edited, finished and formatted for screening on television, in cinemas and at film festivals. The maximum contribution is €17,500. The filmmakers may use the contribution for all forms of production and post-production.


IBF Europe: Funding International Co-productions
Since 2015 the Fund has worked to facilitate international co-productions between Europe and IBF countries through the IBF Europe scheme. By focusing on funding documentaries from IBF countries through European partners, the Fund is able to increase the support to these films, to strengthen the creative participation of the European partners and to stimulate the circulation of documentaries from the global south in a world that is mostly dominated by western media. One of the goals of the IBF Europe program is to support European producers in the smaller EU countries and to encourage them to co-produce with the global south. The IBF Europe funding scheme maintains two different categories:


IBF Europe International Co-production
In this category the Fund supports the production of documentaries co-produced between European producers and producers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe. This category is for documentary projects in any stage of production that have a director from an IBF country. The maximum amount awarded per project is €40,000.


IBF Europe Distribution for International Co-productions
This category is designed to support innovative distribution plans for documentaries realized through international co-productions in which at least one European producer and one producer from an IBF country are involved. Distribution plans should seek to reach a broad global audience. Financing is made available for plans that make use of both innovative means of distribution and more traditional distribution forms. The maximum amount awarded per project is €30,000.

Still from the film Dreamaway, directed by Marouan Omara and Johanna Domke, supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund in 2017 with an IBF Europe - Co-production grant, and again in 2018 with an IBF Europe - Distribution grant.

Talent Development

After selection, the Fund offers a range of activities aimed at supporting filmmakers in their creative process.


IDFAcademy Summer School

Selected filmmakers supported by IBF can take part in the annual IDFAcademy Summer School, where they receive intensive coaching from leading documentary professionals from all over the world.


IDFAcademy at IDFA

Each year filmmakers and producers of supported projects are invited to IDFA to follow the IDFAcademy program, a training program for emerging filmmakers held during IDFA.


Tailor-made consultancies and feedback

Supported filmmakers can receive individual consultancy in areas concerning script or editing. The Fund can also provide advice to filmmakers on distribution, festival strategies or entering into agreements with co-producers, distributors or TV stations.

IBF Harvest & Distribution

Getting a film made is one thing; getting it screened is quite another.

IBF harvest at IDFA
Each year, the completed documentaries are screened at IDFA and/or presented at IDFA’s market Docs for Sale, where international distributors, festival programmers and television buyers view the new documentary harvest.

Festival circulation
Every year IBF-supported documentaries are screened and win awards at prestigious festivals as well as numerous smaller film festivals around the world. In this way, local stories are disseminated worldwide.

In the Benelux
IBF-supported documentaries contribute to the cultural diversity of IDFA and play a significant part in attracting interested audiences to the festival. Each year, a number of IBF titles are included in The Best of IDFA on Tour, screened online through IDFA’s online channel and/or selected for special IDFA screening programs throughout the year.


Still from the film How Big is the Galaxy?, directed by Ksenia Elyan, supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund in 2018 with an IBF Classic - Production grant.

IBF Network

Over the past 21 years, aided by IDFA’s status within the documentary industry, the Fund has built up an extensive international network of contacts as well as knowledge of the documentary industry. Making these contacts, this experience and knowledge available to filmmakers and organizations in IBF countries is one of the Fund’s core tasks.


Meeting at IDFA

Every year the Fund invites filmmakers and producers of supported projects to IDFA, a major meeting place for the documentary industry. At IDFA the invited filmmakers can

follow a special route through IDFA Forum (the festival’s international co-financing and co-production market), IDFAcademy (a training program for emerging filmmakers), and the Industry Talks which deal with current developments in the documentary industry.

Collaboration with international organizations

The Fund maintains a number of structural relationships with organizations in IBF countries. Every year, the IBF sends consultants to workshops and festivals all over the world in order to promote the Fund and IDFA, to extend its network and to provide concrete professional support to filmmakers from IBF countries.