IDFA Award Ceremony

I enjoyed the show. Professional it was. Festive Onlining. Warm and respectful to the filmmakers. It opened at 17h and closed at 19h. Many awards were to be given. The programmers of the different sections came to the stage, where Ghanese/Dutch Ama van Dantzig was a shining host linking it all, making the introductions and finding “the beat” that is necessary, so we don’t get bored. “We”, in this case of course being us who have been watching films, have our favourites and hope for the best for those makers we know. On the guest list of IDFA we are called professionals.

The show – starting with Orwa Nyrabia, the artistic director, who was asked by Ama van Dantzig how it had been, the festival, answering “as imperfect as Life is…” He saluted his IDFA team for their work, ”everyone has done a massive job” and told that 16.000 had been to the cinemas and 70.000 online – and the festival continues till December 6. The future…, he was asked, “I don’t know. Everyone tells me about what they think should happen with IDFA… I don’t know”. Clever man, this old friend Orwa, who has the word in his power, passionate and inspiring for the documentary community.

The winners were presented – good time for clips and for thank you’s from the awarded directors from everywhere in the world; best when they did not know that they won – to see the spontaneous joy of Alina Gorlova and Firouzeh Khosrovani, when they were told that they had won, was wonderful. Magic documentary moments. I was happy that I had watched “Radiograph of a Family” in beforehand and written a positive review before the world premiere (sorry IDFA!) and to see Ukrainian Alina Gorlova receiving first prize for “This Rain Will Never Stop” warms my heart. In Kiev and in Riga I have followed the development that she and Maksym Nakonechnyi have performed. Teaser after teaser and a story that changed, a film that changed it all, filmmakers looking for their form, the aesthetic choices to be made. They succeeded and this film will travel, for sure. I have told Alina Gorlova a couple of days ago that the film is amazing, and I have promised myself to make a review to explain why I think so. 

And tomorrow I will watch – from the short film section – Marlén Viñayo’s ”Unforgivable”, that was the winner in that category. I know Marlén Viñayo (El Salvador) from DocsBarcelona, where her “Cachada” was awarded in 2019 – a film that travelled for many other awards. Big talent!

And I will watch – from the Kids and Docs section – the awarded “Shadegan”, “Dormant” from the Archive section, special mention, also here “Radiograph of a Family” was a winner. In her “thank you speech” for this award Firouzeh Khosrovani had placed herself in a room with a table full of photos and mirrors on the wall, a true image composer. 

Was happy to see another old friend, the excellent film critic Neil Young (with a tie!) from Sunderland, motivating the winners in the mid-length section and reflecting on this section’s constant dilemma, not being for theatres and not being for television. The host, again Ama van Dantzig, characterised his speech as creative and innovative, I liked that. And I miss talking film and football with Neil Young. Sorry Neil, I did not really get which of the winners I should watch. By the way, happy to see that Audrius Stonys was on the same jury, maybe he can advise me.

And at 19h it was over, the show, and I went to prepare supper on this thanksgiving day. And at 19.02 the press release entered my email from Petra Blašković, the always helpful IDFA press officer, who has advised and directed me around the IDFA internet – and from whom I probably will still need help until the closing of the festival. Thanks Petra!

By the way, you can still watch the award ceremony, click below and find it.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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