The stories we tell are linked to society and history, and they arise from the perspective of the people who tell them. For the upcoming session, we have invited filmmakers that, through their work, analyze and reflect on different societies, both past and present. What is the journey they go through in the visual exploration of these narratives? How do they use and work with images while developing a narrative? Filmmakers J.P. Sniadecki and Alice Diop visually explore different spaces and identities through the local inhabitants. All the films you’ll be seeing are a cinematographic and often poetic feast for the eyes. At the same time, they add an important political perspective to the narrative, even if it’s implicit. For these talks, there is some required viewing that we encourage you to watch beforehand. Additionally, we have refreshed the list of films available to you and added several talks from our archives. We offer these films and talks to you confidentially, with the permission of the filmmakers and speakers. We trust they will remain within the safe setting of IDFA Project Space, and the program will not be shared outside this group. Wishing you lots of inspiration!

Program Structure

The IDFA Project Space program kicked off on April 29. Every end of the month, a small program with a variation of inspirational sessions and masterclasses will take place. There was a break in July and August.

The To Watch List is a collection of films and talks intended to inspire and prepare for the IDFA Project Space program. Every month, it is updated with new films and talks.

How to get access to all sessions: First order the ticket(s) for the Filmmaker Talks. You can see the instructions in the accompanying email. You should receive a confirmation email with the ticket(s) after completing the booking.

You can also find your tickets on your MyIDFA account: Go to


September 23 - 15:00 - 17:30 CEST

Screening El mar la mar and Filmmaker Talk with J.P. Sniadecki

September 24 - 15:00 - 18:00 CEST Screening We and Filmmaker Talk with Alice Diop

Screening El mar la mar and Filmmaker Talk with J.P. Sniadecki

In this Filmmaker Talk, J.P. Sniadecki will talk with filmmaker Tala Hadid about his work being the director and cinematographer and how these roles determine his presence in the ‘space’ of the film. In his work Sniadecki explores collective experience, sensory ethnography, and the possibilities of cinema. His films have captured places or institutions in China, but also on the border of the US and Mexico such as El mar la mar: An immersive and enthralling journey through the Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexico border, weaving together harrowing oral histories from the area with hand-processed 16mm images of flora, fauna and items left behind by travelers. El mar la mar will be screened prior to this talk.

El mar la mar

J.P. Sniadecki, Joshua Bonnetta - United States – 2017 – 95 min. IDFA Dutch Premiere 2017

The Sonoran Desert, on the border between Mexico and the United States, is the harshest of environments. In the summer, daytime temperatures soar above 40 degrees Celsius, and water is scarce. As a local puts it, "Everything wants to hurt you here: the plants, the insects, the wild animals." Only the very poorest illegal immigrants opt to take this route to the U.S. Those who are lucky can cross the desert in three to five days, but most lose their way and die of thirst or hunger, or are picked up by the border patrol. El mar la mar relates this human drama through the stories of survivors, trackers and inhabitants of the desert, whose voices we hear on the soundtrack. Here we see few people, and only within the formidable landscape and its ecology. This meditative, sometimes abstract documentary employs 16mm film to address a burning political and social issue with a poetic exploration of the desert.

J.P. Sniadecki

J.P. Sniadecki is an anthropologist-filmmaker whose work includes El mar la mar (2017), The Iron Ministry (2014), Yumen (2013), People’s Park (2012), Foreign Parts (2010), Demolition (2008) and A Shape of Things to Come (2020). In collaboration with Zhu Rikun, he runs a 16mm film workshop in Songzhuang, Beijing, China. He is a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and the Director of the MFA program in Documentary Media at Northwestern University.

Moderated by

Tala Hadid

Tala Hadid is a photographer and filmmaker, and her work has been screened at film festivals around the world, including Berlin and Venice. Her films have received numerous awards, including an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her work includes the films Itarr el Layl (2014) and House in the Fields (2017) and the installation Floodplain (2019).

Screening We and Filmmaker Talk with Alice Diop

In her latest film, We, filmmaker Alice Diop stops at stations along the RER B train route and meets a car mechanic, a district nurse, a writer, and a band of hunters. All these slices of life ultimately form a compelling whole — creating a possible 'we.' Reflecting on this: "(…) I had an intimate, personal and almost political need to spend time in these different 'zones' to see what this voyage, this hike, this digression, could tell something about the society in which I live (…)." In this Filmmaker Talk, after the screening of We, Alice Diop discusses her journey as a filmmaker and how in her work (including Danton's Death and On Call) she explores different aspects of society. With a background in history and visual sociology, the relationship between society and cinema can be seen as a thread in her oeuvre.


Alice Diop - France – 2021 – 116 min.

The regional RER B train route transects Paris and its suburbs from north to south. Alice Diop gets off at various stations and meets a Malian car mechanic in Le Bourget, a district nurse (Diop’s sister) in Drancy, the writer Pierre Bergounioux in Gif-sur-Yvette, and a band of deer hunters in the Chevreuse valley. Diop interweaves her calm observations with memories of her father, who came to France from Senegal as an immigrant in the 1960s, and of her mother, who barely appears in the old family photos and films she finds. To her dismay, her mother is never more than a silhouette at the edge of the frame, about to disappear. Diop movingly redresses this image of her mother. All the while, the RER rolls on and the disparate stories she collects come together organically. Diop chooses not to accentuate the differences between people, but to look and listen closely, and to pay attention to small gestures. All these individual slices of life ultimately form a compelling and moving whole—a possible ‘we’.

Alice Diop

Alice Diop has a Master's degree in History, obtained at L’Université Panthéon-Sorbonne and a DESS in visual sociology, and has been directing creative documentaries since 2005, in internationally renowned festivals (Cinéma du Réel, BFI London, Karlovy vary, Viennale, Lussas, etc...), . In 2017, she won the César for best short film for Towards Tenderness. And obtained the same year, the grand prize of the French competition at the festival Cinéma du réel for her feature film On Call. Three years earlier, she won the Library Award for her documentary Danton's Death. She has just completed a feature-length documentary We, winner of the Berlinale’s Encounters competition 2021, and is about to shoot her first fiction film Saint-Omer.

Moderated by

Rasha Salti

Rasha Salti is a researcher, writer and curator of art and film. She has collaborated with several film festivals (Abu Dhabi, Toronto and Marrakech) as a programmer and is presently a commissioning editor for ArteFrance. In 2011 she was a co-curator for the 10th edition of the Sharjah Biennial. Between 2015 and 2018, she co-curated with Kristine Khouri the exhibition Past Disquiet, that was presented at the MACBA (2015), HKW (2016), MSSA (2018) and Sursock Museum (2018). She has co-edited a book tribute to Myrtle Chaumeny-Winter, founder of the UNRWA’s photographic archive.