Documentary film as education
Documentaries can help children broaden their horizons—to learn to empathize with the experiences and perspectives of others, and to develop critical thinking skills. That is why IDFA is an ambassador of film education across The Netherlands. In 2019 IDFA reached 47,000 elementary, secondary school, and college students from all across the country.
A large share of this number can be ascribed to online streaming service Docschool Online, which allows teachers to screen the best documentaries in their classrooms. The growth of this platform—from 20,000 users in 2018 to 28,000 users in 2019—can largely be accredited to the dedicated producer responsible for the curation, communication, and the education help desk.
During the festival, IDFA’s school screening program saw a significant increase in visitors: approximately 17,000 students attended the school screenings, compared to 13,000 in 2018.
Thanks to a contribution from main partner Fonds 21, IDFA’s educational activities in 2019 included a program for students of intermediate vocational (MBO) programs, ages 16+. Aiming to link the film program to professional practice, this program focused on students training to become healthcare professionals or social workers.
In 2019, a distinct emphasis was placed on recruiting and training skilled moderators, which resulted in further depth and context within the school education program. A noteworthy distinct example was the screening of Johan van der Keuken’s film Beppie, a portrait of a working class child in 1965 Amsterdam. Following the film screening, pupils engaged in a conversation about the divergent experiences of children growing up in Amsterdam throughout the decades. Accentuating the engaging experience, the pupils were surprised by a visit from Beppie herself—now in her sixties—following the screenings.
IDFA’s education program is supported by Fonds 21, ABN AMRO Cultuurfonds, P.W. Janssen’s Friesche Stichting and IDFA's Special Friends+.
Introducing IDFA Meets
IDFA Meets is a new event series for an emerging generation of documentary viewers. Each event takes place at a different location, is made possible with a different Amsterdam-based collaborator, and features a special side program. While similar IDFA programs took place in 2018, 2019 introduced the official IDFA Meets moniker. In addition to the official new events program, IDFA Meets forged new collaborations, established a separate brand and visual identity, and developed a new format for future programs.
IDFA Meets 2019 was characterized by diversity in content, locations and target audiences. Continuing the collaboration with music venue Melkweg, Talent Talks linked young documentary talent with up-and-coming artists. In collaboration with De School, the progressive flagship of the Amsterdam club scene, IDFA Meets hosted three screenings featuring stories revolving around nightlife. To kick off the Women’s World Cup, the indoor community soccer venue Cluppi was transformed into a cinema for a night. During the festival, special IDFA Meets screenings were held throughout the city, including the international premiere of Louise Unmack Kjeldsen and Louise Detlefsen’s Fat Front.
IDFA Meets is supported by VSBfonds, Democracy and Media Foundation and City of Amsterdam.
IDFA in the open air
In order to engage Amsterdam’s dedicated documentary audiences during the summer months, IDFA additionally organized free open air screenings. As in previous years, local cultural venue Pakhuis de Zwijger’s front yard was transformed into an outdoor cinema for the better part of July, screening some lesser-known gems from the IDFA 2018 program. During Pride Amsterdam, in collaboration with local cinema FC Hyena, the archival film Queerama was shown at sunset.
Removing access barriers
Together with Stichting Audiovisuele Toegankelijkheid, a foundation that strives towards audiovisual accessibility in Dutch media and film, IDFA 2019 saw the launch of the Subcatch app. The app enables people with a hearing impairment to visit regular film screenings, translating the audio into closed captions on smartphone screens in real-time.