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IDFA presents new music documentaries programme

After last year’s Play programme, IDFA and one of Amsterdam’s most popular music venues have once again compiled a programme of international music documentaries and live performances. In this new programme, fifteen recent documentaries will compete for the IDFA Melkweg Award for Music Documentary.

Music venue, the Melkweg is not only an IDFA location during the festival but will also stage various musical performances linked to film screenings. The main focus of this programme will be on the weekend of 17 and 18 November, when the Melkwelk will be transformed into a special festival location for these two days, featuring a range of film screenings and performances.

Last year, IDFA and the Melkweg introduced the festival’s first ever competition programme for music documentaries, which was won by Last Days Here. This year, the cooperation with the Melkweg will continue – though the name of the de competition has been changed to the IDFA Melkweg Competition for Music Documentary. The programme includes fifteen new documentaries, all dealing with music in a variety of ways.

Andreas Koefoed’s cinematographic Ghost of Piramida, for example, follows Danish band Efterklang as they seek inspiration for their new album in the deserted Russian mining town of Pyramida. Another documentary, Charles Bradley: Soul of America by Poull Brien, brings us an impressive portrait of soul singer Charles Bradley, who recently broke through at the age of 62, leaving a life of poverty behind him.

The moving documentary A Band Called Death by Jeff Howlet and Mark Covino tells the story of the rediscovery of punk band Death, formed in the early 1970s by three black brothers from Detroit. Their album was never released, until it attracted the attention of collectors, and went on to become a classic. Balkan Melodieby Stefan Schwietert is the story of Marcel and Catherine Cellier, who first visited the Eastern Bloc 50 years ago and for years have collected music from there. Now, they return to see what has happened to the musicians from back then.Special programmes

When during 17 and 18 November, the Melkweg will be dedicated completely to music films and artists audiences will be able to see three films from the programme during the daytime, with discussions and short musical performances in between. Every evening there will be a screening followed by a performance one of the artists. This programme includes The Russian Winter by Petter Ringbom, about the former Fugees singer John Forté, who spent many years in prison and is now undertaking a road trip through Russia to work with young musicians. After the screening of the film Forté will perform together with a number of Russian musicians from the film.

Other documentaries which have already been announced are Ghost of Piramida, A Band Called Death and the film Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me by Drew Denicola, about the influential group Big Star.

The complete selection and programmes will be announced on IDFA’s website shortly.


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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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