IDFA returns to cinemas in Nov 2020, Forum and DfS to go online

IDFA returns to cinemas in Nov 2020, Forum and DfS to go online

In a statement issued June 11, IDFA laid out its plans for the 2020 edition, to run November 18-29. The full statement issued by the festival reads:


“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 theatres 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

“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 theatres 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 theatres 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 theatres 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.”


In a separate statement, IDFA underlined its commitment to combating racism and support of the global Black Lives Matter movement. The statement reads:


“In response to the Black Lives Matter Movement, which is leading the way and bringing to focus many other ongoing and connected movements against racism around the world, we hereby commit to taking direct and serious steps in combatting anti-Black racism, as well as all other forms of racism, locally and globally. We commit to contributing to a better future for the film industry and to intensifying our efforts to become a festival for all audiences.

No matter how much we have worked on these issues before, we acknowledge that we have not done enough. We can and must do better. 


“We believe that art, and documentary art in particular, is the language that can make us realize the unity of the human condition, the strength that we can all find through embracing our pluralism, and the necessity of our open and uncompromised solidarity.


“We acknowledge that the film industry does not yet reflect this belief. Despite the fact that we have always worked on these important issues, we acknowledge today that we are part of the problem and we commit to being part of overcoming it.”