IDFA returns to cinemas in November

(with the) Program extended by limited online screenings

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is planning its 33rd edition. With Dutch cinemas now re-opening, IDFA is looking forward to holding the festival in theaters from November 18th to 29th, albeit with potentially reduced capacity. The festival’s competitions will remain intact, to be presented in cinemas and extended with limited virtual cinema screenings and events. 

IDFA competition and audience screenings

to be continued…

IDFA will once again offer a launchpad for new films. Every film selected for IDFA 2020 will premiere in cinemas, with a number of online screenings to follow. Limited tickets and scheduled screening times will be central components of IDFA’s virtual cinema model, ensuring the films are available to Dutch audiences who cannot attend in person. 

As always, prestigious international juries will be invited to judge the festival’s various competitions. Whereas 300 films and projects were selected for previous editions of IDFA, this year’s festival will screen around 200 titles. All program sections will stay intact except for the thematic focus programs and IDFA on Stage.

Despite limited seating in theaters this year, IDFA will give priority to the real-life cinema experience, ensuring filmmakers get their deserved stage. IDFA 2020 will expand its theatrical offering with a sub-selection of 20 films, to be screened in over 60 theaters throughout the Netherlands. Beyond the cinema halls, supplementary online screenings at fixed times will allow local audiences to choose their preferred route through the festival. In response to the economic challenges of this year, IDFA 2020 will give priority to supporting filmmakers as their films go online, and to theaters as films go theatrical, through a revenue-sharing model. 

Introductions and live Q&As will remain central to the festival screening experience, whether in cinemas or online. All filmmakers in the selection will be warmly welcomed in Amsterdam. All screenings and events will follow the required health measures in place in November.

IDFA DocLab, the festival’s new media program and exhibition space, will return to Tolhuistuin this year, where several live events will also take place. Additionally, DocLab will present events for 30 or 100 visitors at other locations such as ARTIS Planetarium.

August 1st is the submission deadline for all films completed after April 30th, 2020. For all performances and interactive/immersive new media projects, the submission deadline is July 1st.
IDFA Industry
This year, IDFA Industry will continue to connect a global network of documentary film professionals. Accredited guests who can travel are welcome to join the program in Amsterdam. During the festival, professional activities such as industry talks, sessions, and meetups will take place both in Amsterdam venues and online, ensuring they are available to accredited guests around the world. All will be organized with the highest hygiene measures and within the distancing and crowd limitations of the moment.
The markets IDFA Forum—running November 23rd to 27th—and Docs for Sale will take place online. Wherever possible, other industry activities will combine virtual and in-person formats. In addition to selecting a new line-up of high-profile projects, the Forum will present a range of extra projects this year to support filmmaker teams looking for co-production and co-financing partners. Docs for Sale will offer new documentary films from this summer onwards in addition to previously released titles that have regained new relevance in 2020. Both the Forum and Docs for Sale will open for entries on June 12th. Accreditation will open in August.

IDFA’s new talent development program IDFA Project Space is set to launch at the end of June. The program will offer creative and professional development to selected filmmakers from the IDFA Competition for First Appearance, the IDFA Bertha Fund, and IDFAcademy.

Finally, IDFAcademy during IDFA—taking place November 19th to 20th  and 23rd to 25th—will move to an online program in order to best accommodate filmmakers from all over the world. At the same time, IDFA Project Space will offer a continuation for selected filmmakers who are present in Amsterdam in November.

IDFA 2020 will take place in theaters from November 18th to November 29th and will be extended online.

Photo from the opening film last year: Sunless Shadows by Mehrdad Oskouie

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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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