IDFA ’15: “Thru You,” “Bolshoi” make feature doc line-up

Ido Haar's Thru You Princess (pictured) and Nick Read's Bolshoi Babylon are among the 15 films selected for the feature-length doc competition at the 28th annual International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).
October 9, 2015

Ido Haar’s Thru You Princess (pictured) and Nick Read’s Bolshoi Babylon are among the 15 films selected for the feature-length doc competition at the 28th annual International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

The Amsterdam event – a major player in the fall doc festival circuit – will this year be held from November 18 to 29. The program features 319 documentaries, selected from 3,425 submissions. Of these films, 78 are world premieres.

Alongside Thru You Princess - a documentary that was last year pitched as a Central Pitch Project during the IDFA Forum – and Bolshoi Babylon, other feature doc competition titles are Mariana Viñoles’ Carolina’s World, Frédéric Guillaume’s Clear Years,
Jerzy Sladkowski’s Don JuanTom Fassaert’s IDFA opener A Family Affair and Christian Sønderby Jepsen’s Natural Disorder.

Also screening in the feature-length competition are Apostolos Karakasis’ Next Stop: Utopia, Jorge Caballero’s Patient, Zanbo Zhang’s The Road, George Gittoes’ Snow Monkey, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s Sonita, Ester Gould’s A Strange Love Affair with Ego, Antonio Tibaldi and Alex Lora’s Thy Father’s Chair and Roman Bondarchuk’s Ukrainian Sheriffs.

Serving on the  feature-length doc competition jury are Laurent Bécue-Renard (France), Mahamat Saleh Haroun (Chad), Hanna Polak (Poland), Jonathan Rosenbaum (U.S.) and Barbara Visser (Netherlands).

The VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary comes with a cash prize of €12,500 (US$14,170) while the IDFA Special Jury Award for Feature-Length Documentary has a € 2,500 prize attached. The festival last month re-jigged its awards structure to include two winners in each competition.

Elsewhere, the festival will again host the IDFA Competition for First Appearance, featuring work from new filmmakers. A five-member international jury is to select two films for awards including the IDFA Award for Best First Appearance (€7,500) and the Special Jury Award for First Appearance in memory of Peter Wintonick (€2,500).

Titles in competition include Liubov Durakova and Alisa Kovalenko’s Alisa in Warland, Beata Bubenets’s The Chechen, Feiyue Wu/Xiaoyu Qin’s Chinese Verses, Vladi Antonevicz’s Credit for Murder, Imamaddin Hasanov’s Holy Cow, Charles Redon’s In California and Paula Gomes’ Jonas and the Backyard Circus.

Remaining films include Yun Ye’s Look Love, Bram Van Cauwenberghe and Marie de Brumagne’s Remember Your Name, Babylon, Toomas Järvet and Toomas Järvet’s Rough Stage, Hassen Ferhani’s Roundabout in My Head, Nirit Aharoni’s Strung Out, Ammar Aziz’s A Walnut Tree, David Dawkins’ The Wedding Contract, and Salome Machaidze, Tamuna Karumidze and David Meskhi’s When The World Seems to Be Light.

The festival’s other competitions focus on mid-length documentary, Dutch documentaries, digital storytelling, student documentaries, kids and docs, DOC U and the audience award.

IDFA’s programs include Best of Fests, Masters, Panorama, Paradocs, Weekend at IDFA, Music Documentaries, Top 10 (this year’s program is compiled by master documentarian Errol Morris) and an Errol Morris retrospective.

The festival’s special programs are ‘Benjamin Barber: Jihad vs. McWorld 2015,’ featuring political theorist Benjamin Barber reflecting on his book Jihad vs. McWorld and corresponding IDFA titles that touch on the 1995 book’s subject matter; ‘Sound Real,’ examining the role of sound in docs; ‘Seamless Reality,’ about digital docs in the post-Internet age; ‘Dutch Docs 65-90 and their Shadows,’ on films originating from the Netherlands between 1965 and 1990; and ‘Don’t Blink – Robert Frank,’ on the work of the American filmmaker and photographer.

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