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DocGeeks » Festivals » IDFA celebrates 25th anniversary in November

IDFA celebrates 25th anniversary in November

In November of this year, the International  Documentary Festival Amsterdam, better known as IDFA, will celebrate its 25th birthday. The festival will not only use this festive event  to reflect on years that have been but also to look forward and and to anticipate the future trajectory of documentary. Here are some of the extras you can expect.
A quarter of a century
One element of the extra programme, looking back on 25 years IDFA, will be a themed programme entitled ‘RE: Constructing History’.  In this selectio, a quarter of a century of global history will be presented through the lenses of great documentary filmmakers. The program consists of 15 films – all of which have previously screened at IDFA – that explore major events and developments on the world stage, such as the end of Apartheid, the digital revolution, 9/11 and its aftermath. You can view a list of the films at the bottom of this article.
Highlights of the Lowlands
Alongside this, IDFA will be presenting a programme entitled ’25 Years of Highlights of the Lowlands’ which will focus on Dutch documentaries. IDFA has selected 15 Dutch documentaries that have previously screened at IDFA, giving you an overview of the works created by big-name directors in the Netherlands. The selection includes IDFA award-winners, Dutch documentaries that have opened the festival and other renowned home-grown titles that have caused an international stir. Again, see further down for the list of documentaries included in this programme.
On Thursday 22 November a special conference will take place in the Compagnie theater for the international documentary community on the position of the Dutch documentary in an international context. This conference will include keynote speeches and a number of panels at which aspects of documentary making will be examined in depth.
IDFA Junior programme
A special treat, showing a glimpse into the future of documentary development, is the very first IDFA Junior programme. This programme will consist of a special day of youth documentaries for children and their parents on Sunday 25 November. The strand will look back at history, featuring young people’s documentaries from past IDFAs alongside more recent youth documentaries. IDFA will release more on this programme in the coming month.

Documentaries featuring in the RE: Constructing History programme:
A Cry from the Grave (1999) by Leslie Woodhead (on the fall of Srebrenica)
Inside Job (2010) by Charles Ferguson (the financial crisis)
Kisangani Diary (1998) by Hupert Sauper (civil wars in Africa)
The Last Train Home (2009) by Lixin Fan (the rise of China)
The Leader, his Driver and the Driver’s Wife (1991) by Nick Broomfield (the abolition of Apartheid)
Lessons of Darkness (1992) by Werner Herzog (the Gulf Wars)
Losses to Be Expected (1992) by Ulrich Seidl (the fall of the Berlin wall)
Our Daily Bread (2005) by Nikolaus Geyrhalter (emerging consciousness of sustainability)
Dreams and Silence (1991) by Omar al-Qattan (the rise of Islamic fundamentalism)
Silverlake Life (1993) by Peter Friedman and Tom Joslin (the AIDS epidemic)
Sins of My Father (2009) by Nicolas Entell (the War on Drugs)
Standard Operating Procedure (2008) by Errol Morris (9/11 and its aftermath)
Videocracy (2009) by Erik Gandini (relations between media and politics)
We Live in Public (2009) by Ondi Timoner (the digital revolution)
Z32 (2008) by Avi Mograbi (the Israel/Palestine conflict)


Documentaries featuring in the 25 Years of Highlights of the Lowlands programme:
André Hazes – Zij gelooft in mij (1999) by John Appel
Boris Ryzhy (2008) by Aliona van der Horst
The Damned and the Sacred (2002) by Jos de Putter
Desi (2000) by Maria Ramos
Episode 3 – ‘ Enjoy Poverty’ (2009) by Renzo Martens
Flying Anne (2010) by Catherine van Campen
Ford Transit (2002) by Hany Abu-Assad
De grote vakantie (2000) by Johan van der Keuken
The Hunt (1997) by Niek Koppen
In My Father’s House (1997) by Fatima Jebli Ouazzani
Metal and Melancholy (1993) by Heddy Honigmann
Position among the Stars (2010) by Leonard Retel Helmrich
Procedure 769 – The Witnesses to an Execution (1995) by Jaap van Hoewijk
The Sea that Thinks (2000) by Gert de Graaff

IDFA will take place in Amsterdam from 14 November until 25 November. The full programme will be announced at the beginning of October, keep an eye out for more information via DocGeeks.


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Alexandra Zeevalkink is a Dutch-born journalist living in London who founded DocGeeks in August 2011 in order to have a legitimate excuse to watch every documentary under the sun. She freelances for various publications and writes mainly about documentaries and the film production industry. When she is not blogging or watching films, she enjoys theater, photography and reading loads of books. She is always on the look out for potential partnerships with other creative minds.

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