IBF films around the world

Festivals and Distribution

Various means are used to promote IBF documentary films among festivals and distributors around the world. Most of the documentary films realized are presented at IDFA and often go on to have many more screenings and win awards at international festivals, to be broadcast on television worldwide or to be distributed in theatres and through grassroot screenings.

Festival Circulation 2019 was a highly successful year, with many IBF titles being programmed at major international festivals and picking up important awards. Highlights include Talking About Trees, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale and won the festival’s Best Documentary Award. After being the Opening Film at IDFA 2018 (and winning IDFA’s Special Jury Award for First Appearance), Kabul, City in the Wind screened at more than 40 festivals worldwide and director Aboozar Amini was awarded the prestigious Amsterdam Prize for the Arts. Other highlights include Khartoum Offside which also premiered at the Berlinale 2019, 143 Sahara Street which premiered at Locarno Film Festival, where Hassen Ferhani won the award for Best Emerging Director, and Buddha in Africa which had its world premiere at Hot Docs 2019. 

Top 10 worldwide festival screenings in 2019 • 60 festivals - Talking About Trees • 60 festivals - Freedom Fields • 43 festivals - Kabul, City in the Wind • 37 festivals - Of Fathers and Sons • 36 festivals - Amal • 35 festivals - Home Games • 24 festivals - How Big is the Galaxy? • 22 festivals - 143 Sahara Street • 20 festivals - Theatre of War • 18 festivals - Silence is a Falling Body

International Distribution Successes

Some films booked impressive distribution, outreach or impact successes internationally and in their home country or region, such as Freedom Fields and Kinshasa Makambo. Read more about their outreach and impact stories below.

Freedom Fields by Naziha Arebi

Women’s football faces huge opposition in Libya but a group of ambitious players fight for autonomy, on and off the field.

Freedom Fields was one of the most successful IBF films distributed in 2019, racking up 60 festival screenings around the world, a UK release in 50 cinemas in the run-up to the Women's World Cup, a nomination in the Best Feature category at the BAFTAS Scotland and a spot on the Guardian’s list of Best Films of 2019. Equally incredible, however, is the film’s impressive impact in Libya. During the production of Freedom Fields, the protagonists united to form HERA: an NGO aiming to empower young girls in Libya and overcome cultural barriers through sport by organizing workshops in schools and refugee camps. Freedom Fields became a tool enabling HERA to promote its work internationally and attract international financial support to continue its work.

Trailer Freedom Fields, by Naziha Arebi

Kinshasa Makambo by Dieudo Hamadi

Christian, Ben and Jean-Marie are fighting for political change of power and free elections in their country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Having world premiered at the Berlinale in 2018, Hamadi’s political documentary Kinshasa Makambo travelled to more than 60 festivals around the world. After receiving the IBF Europe distribution grant, the film was able to continue to reach new audiences at Human Rights and African Film Festivals, universities and cultural centres, with partners in the USA, Belgium and Italy. In the USA, Friends of the Congo – a Washington-based organisation founded to bring about peaceful and lasting change in the DRC – played an important role in organising screenings of Kinshasa Makambo, helping to increase awareness and understanding of the issues highlighted in the film. One such remarkable screening took place during the African Diaspora International Film Festival in New York, followed by a highly revealing debate with the participation of Maurice Carney, Executive Director of Friends of the Congo.

Trailer Kinshasa Makambo, by Dieudo Hamadi