Encouraging European Co-productions

Film still: Anhell69, dir. Theo Montoya (Colombia).

IBF Europe Selection 2020

In 2020 the Fund supported six documentary projects with €40,000 each through the IBF Europe – International Co-production funding scheme and one documentary film with €30,000 through the IBF Europe – Distribution of International Co-productions scheme, both aimed at boosting collaboration between independent European producers and producers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. The supported projects represent a rich and varied selection of documentary films from Colombia, Argentina, Mali, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Venezuela, with a co-production in European countries such as Romania, Denmark, Germany and France.

The selection includes documentary projects told from a controversial point of view, which deal with topics of social relevance, fight for equality and justice, explore the power of media and art, reinterpret cultural phenomena, and give voice to the disadvantaged. Many of the projects are works by young and bold filmmakers who are not afraid to push formal boundaries and experiment with film language.

Even though most of the awarded projects are the first or second feature-length documentary films by their directors, some of the filmmakers are well-acquainted with IDFA and the IDFA Bertha Fund. Argentina’s Manuel Abramovich, director of Pornomelancholia, took part in IDFA programs with Soldier in 2017 and The Queen in 2013. Rami Farah, the Syrian filmmaker, actor, performer and director of Our Memory Belongs to Us (previous: On Screen Off Record), world-premiered his first feature-length film A Comedian in a Syrian Tragedy at IDFA in 2019.

Two of the selected projects took part in IDFAcademy Summer School 2019, and were also supported through the IBF Classic – Project Development scheme: Embodied Chorus by Danielle Davie and Mohamad Sabbah, and The Last Shelter (previous: Witnesses from the Shadows) by Ousmane Samassekou.

Scroll down to see complete selection.

IBF Europe Selection Committee

IBF Europe Co-production round Steven Markowitz - Producer, Big World Cinema Adriek Van Nieuwenhuijzen - Head of Industry, IDFA Mikael Opstrup - Doc Developer Liselot Verbrugge - Sales and Acquisitions, Deckert Distribution Isabel Arrate Fernandez - Deputy Director, IDFA & Managing Director, IDFA Bertha Fund

IBF Europe Distribution round Tijana Djukic - Sales agent Alexandra Galvis - BF Distribution, Head of Market Chile Isabel Arrate Fernandez - Deputy Director, IDFA & Managing Director, IDFA Bertha Fund

NFF+IBF Co-production Scheme 2020

An additional opportunity for IBF Co-productions is the NFF + IBF Co-production Scheme. The funding scheme was launched in 2019 to offer contributions for international co-productions previously supported by the IBF and which have a minority Dutch co-producer on board. The Netherlands Film Fund oversees the application and selection processes and the IDFA Bertha Fund is involved in the selection of projects.

Three projects were selected for this funding scheme in 2020, each project was awarded €50,000.

Indian director Nishtha Jain's The Golden Thread is a co-production between India, the Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina and United Kingdom and previously received support from the IBF through its Development, Production, and Co-production categories. Me, a Knife and a Lighter (previous: Roma), the first feature-length documentary film by the Ukrainian filmmaker Olga Zhurba is a co-production between Ukraine, the Netherlands and Denmark and previously received the IBF Classic – Production & Post-production support. Pandora's Box by the prolific Chinese director Zhao Liang, is a co-production between China, the Netherlands and France and previously received the IBF Classic - Production & Post-production support.



6 projects € 240,000

Distribution for


1 project € 30,000


Co-production Scheme

3 projects € 150,000

IBF Europe - International Co-production selection

Dir. Theo Montoya Colombia, Romania, France

After members of the queer scene in Medellín, Colombia are cast for a vampire movie, the film’s protagonist -Camilo Najar - dies of a heroin overdose at age 21. As the youth in Colombia grapple with  suicide and drug overdoses, Anhell69 try to explore this generation’s “nonfuture” mindset.

Dir. Sara Khaki & dir. Mohammad Reza Eyni Iran, Germany

Cutting through Rocks is a documentary feature in production and is expected to be finished in 2022. For more information, you can contact the IDFA Bertha Fund.

Dir. Danielle Davie & dir. Mohamad Sabbah Lebanon, Germany, Luxembourg

To surpass the shame of living with Sexually Transmitted Infections in Lebanon, an HIV-positive woman and a gay man with HPV-experience open a cinematic conversation.

The Last Shelter (previous: Witnesses From the Shadows)

Dir. Ousmane Samassekou France, Mali, South Africa

Bordering the Sahel desert stands a house, as a safe haven for African migrants on their way to Europe, or returning home. How do you prepare to face your family, when you are going home with nothing?

Our Memory Belongs to Us (previous: On Screen Off Record)

Dir. Rami Farah Denmark, Syria, France, Palestine

In September 2012, Syrian activist Yadan Draji crossed the border into Jordan carrying a hard drive containing footage. This film investigates these images and the narratives they became part of on our TV-screens. It aims to make us rethink their stories and the media machine they became part of.

Dir. Manuel Abramovich Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, France

Lalo (32) lives in Oaxaca, in a mountain town in southern México, where he works in a factory. His parents don’t know that he is a sex-influencer. PORNOMELANCHOLIA reflects on the limits of intimacy in a time when everyday life and subjectivity have become a show for the gaze of others.

IBF Europe - Distribution

Dir. Anabel Rodríguez Ríos Venezuela, United Kingdom, Brazil, Austria

Once upon a time, the Venezuelan village of Congo Mirador was prosperous, alive with fishermen and poets. Now it is decaying and disintegrating – a small but prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself.

NFF+IBF Co-Production Scheme

Dir. Nishtha Jain India, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Netherlands

Outside Kolkata, jute mills crank on, virtually unchanged since the industrial revolution. How do we look at this work powered by steam and sweat, its sensory experience thereof, or the precarious lives of jute workers from our post-industrial perspective driven by obsolescence?

Me, a Knife and a Lighter (previous: Roma)

Dir. Olha Zhurba Ukraine, the Netherlands, Denmark

The turbulent youth of a street boy Roma on his way from a 13-year old hero of the Maidan Revolution to an 18-year-old adult trying to survive in a small criminal provincial town.

Dir. Zhao Liang France, China, the Netherlands

Devastated landscapes in Kazakhstan, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, nuclear plant dismantling in Germany and construction of the largest waste landfill in Finland. What does life mean for people working and living in these places?