From IDFA Industry & Press on FB two days ago: ”The complete line-up for IDFA 2016 has been announced! The program contains 297 titles (from 3,495 submissions), of which 102 documentaries will have their world premieres during the festival… with the text addition that “full details on all films and programme information will be announced November 3””.
And then you click your way into “the full line-up” and are happy, when you see films and names that you know about, filmmakers who have worked for years to finish their documentary, like – I know it is an extreme case – Norwegian Torstein Grude’s “Mogadishu Soldier” (photo), that has been in the making for many years, 10 has been mentioned, now completed with the help of Danish editor Niels Pagh Andersen. It is in the main competition as is the masterpiece of Pawel Lozinski “You have No Idea How Much I Love You”, that I saw in connection with the Krakow festival.
And the two promising documentaries that I saw clips from in Malmö, where DokInkubator presented their workshop results: Jérôme le Maire’s observational work from a hospital where the staff is “Burning Out” and Tonislav Hristov’s timely refugee doc “The Good Postman”. And, in the mid length competition, Lithuanian master Audrius Stonys premieres with “Woman and the Glacier”.
IDFA, the biggest documentary film festival in Europe – still also in the world in terms of audience? – has 7 competition programs, 5 non-competitive like “Masters”, “Best of Fests”, “Panorama”, “Paradocs” and “Music Documentary”. In the latter section I am very curious to see how “Liberation Day” by Morten Traavik and Ugis Olte will be received, a film that has been produced by Latvian Uldis Cekulis, shot in North Korea with the Slovenian avant-garde music band Laibach on a visit… A great and clever film say I, who have seen it.
And then the special programs, one called “Assembling Reality” on editing with Kirsten Johnson and her editor Nels Bangerten, Frederick Wiseman, Niels Pagh Andersen and other editors, another “The Quiet Eye”, a section that is IDFA’s first themed program dedicated to ‘slow documentary’, also known as ‘Contemporary Contemplative Cinema’. The Quiet Eye program consists of nine documentary films that exude a remarkable calm and reflective quality, as programmer Martijn te Pas puts it. The films in the program show the beauty – or the bitterness – of the small or the everyday… happy to see a film that I supported as film consultant way back, Swedish Mikael Kristersson’s “Light Year”, shot in his garden for years.
It is often through the editing of special programmes that you can see the creativity of the programmers of a festival… Welcomed here is also “Shifting Perspectives” that as theme has the “the centuries-old historical relationships between Africa, Europe and the United States and how these still influence relations in our world today – both between countries and continents and between people within societies. Central to the program is the role of opinion-shaping in the way we look at and think about race and identity and the perspectives from which we do so. The program consists of new and classic documentaries which show how the history of colonialism, the slave trade and slavery, as well as racial segregation, continue to influence our social, cultural, economic and political relations today.” Yes, among them of course “O.J.: Made in America”.