Of course it is something special to win an audience award. At IDFA, that is indeed (also) an audience festival apart from being the place, where documentary professionals meet every year. Here is how the award is decided, from the press release of the festival:
The winner of the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is determined by festival visitors who, after an IDFA film screening, rank their appreciation for the film by way of a voting card. Now in its fourth year, the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is made possible by VPRO…
This year 166 films were in the race for the Audience Award. In total 27.812 people voted. And the winner was:
“For Sama” (Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts, United Kingdom, 2019. 95 min., Best of Fests) has won the VPRO IDFA Audience Award (€ 5.000), the grand public prize of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The news was announced on Friday evening before screening the winning film in Pathé Tuschinski.
“For Sama” is the first documentary by 26-year-old citizen journalist Waad al-Kateab. In the film, she dedicates the film to her newborn daughter: “I need you to understand why your father and I made the choices we did, what we were fighting for.”
With a simple digital camera, al-Kateab documents the Syrian uprising against Assad in the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, from the first moments of the uprising through to the forced evacuation at the end of 2016.
This year 166 films were in the race for the Audience Award. In total 27.812 people voted…
The film was reviewed on this site: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4626/
Among the five first on the audience favourite list were also another masterpiece shot in Syria, “The Cave” by Feras Fayyad – the film will be reviewed when it has its Danish premiere. And Alexander Nanau’s “Collective” – http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4662/ – and again again “Honeyland” by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov – http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/