Documentary is not just an art form, it also means business. That is probably what the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) has taught me during the crash course that is visiting this festival as an industry professional for the first time. But, luckily, you don’t have to think about business if you don’t want to. As the audience friendly festival that it is, you can always try and ignore the 3000+ international industry guests that are running from one hub to the other and instead focus on what the world’s largest festival for documentaries is really about: celebrating documentary cinema.
Set in the beautiful capital of The Netherlands where, during Europe’s first weeks of winter, Christmas lights are temporarily part of the decorum again, this (huge!) festival has something on offer for practically everyone, as long as you’re into non-fiction storytelling of course. Moreover, IDFA's short film competition — for a few years now helmed by Jasper Hokken — traditionally offers a vast and exciting range of short docs stemming from literally almost anywhere in the world.
Since 1988, IDFA has kept on growing every year — in 2022 alone, it reportedly screened 290 films from over 80 countries. Recently, the festival announced it will fulfill a long-standing dream and open its very own, entirely unique documentary film cinema in Vondelpark. Can’t wait to pay it a visit!
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