IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

Regarded as one of the year’s most eagerly

anticipated cultural events, Amsterdam’s International Documentary Film

Festival brings together thousands of devoted fans for an annual spectacle of

enriching and uplifting entertainment. Celebrating its 25th

anniversary in 2012, the world’s largest documentary film festival never fails

to mesmerise audiences with its exceptional presentation, diverse repertoire

and outstanding quality.

Founded in

the late ’80s by the influential Ally Derks, an award winning documentary mogul

who continues to head the festival to this day, the IDFA began life as a humble

event promoting 16mm and 35mm pictures at a single location within the city’s

Leidseplein. Over the ensuing decades the IDFA expanded immeasurably, with

cinemas and theatres scattered throughout Amsterdam battling for a chance to

screen the films, with such celebrated venues as the Pathe de Munt, the

Tuschinski, the Eye Filmmusuem and the capital’s public library (OBA) already

scheduled to participate for the 2013 occasion.

The current

IDFA embraces the digital age and promotes an exemplary range of narratives

from all four corners of the globe over an eleven day period, usually occurring

in the middle of November. The documentaries naturally differ in style and

subject, from harrowing tales to hilarious anecdotes, yet all share a thought

provoking edge that sparks debate, which is actively encouraged by the

organisers. Indeed, documentary filmmakers and members of the production team

and cast are often present during the screening, offering an enlightening

introduction and an obliging response to audience questions following the performance,

conveniently presented in English.

A series of

awards are obtainable in a variety of categories, such as first appearance,

Dutch submission, and short, although arguably the most prestigious accolade is

the winner of Best Film voted by the audience. After each screening, spectators

rate the documentary through an anonymous ballot and the results are compiled

and presented at the closing awards ceremony.

The 2012

edition witnessed an unprecedented showcase of over 300 films, which attracted

an impressive 200,000 visitors and 2,750 international professionals. Featuring

several world premieres, provocative documentaries banned in their country of

origin, and a motivating sequence of workshops, the 2012 IDFA was an instant

success and received a record number of sales, due in part to the festival’s

decision to allow tickets to be purchased online for the first year in its

history. This adjustment obviously expands the event’s accessibility, but also

diminishes the chances of confirming seats for the most coveted films, with hopeful

fans encouraged to check the IDFA’s website on a regular basis for the

announcement of the upcoming schedule, which can be found at


With its primary focus on delivering

documentaries that reach large audiences through rousing creativity and an

explicit social relevance, the IDFA is set to continue its undisputed reign as

the world’s leading documentary film festival, and comes highly recommended for

fanatics of this rewarding celluloid field and indeed anyone with a passion for

the inspirational world of cinema.