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IDFA winners include First Cousin Once Removed, Searching For Sugar Man

Plus hot sellers from the market side of IDFA.

Alan Berliner’s First Cousin Once Removed [pictured] has won the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the 25th International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), which finished this weekend.

The decision was made by festival jury members Susan Froemke, Michael Glawogger, Maria Goos, Jørgen Leth and Kenneth Turan.

Berliner’s well received film (made through HBO) is a closely focused portrait of the poet Edwin Honig (the filmmaker’s cousin) as Honig falls prey to Alzheimer’s.

The BankGiro Loterij IDFA Audience Award went to Searching for Sugar Man (Sweden/UK) by Malik Bendjelloul.

Esther Hertog (NL) received the award for best debut and the Dioraphte IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary for Soldier on the Roof.

Lida Chan and Guillaume Suon received the NTR IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary (€10,000) for Red Wedding (Cambodia/France): the story of Cambodian Sochan Pen, who as a sixteen-year-old was forced to marry a soldier of the Khmer Rouge.

Steady ticket sales

Ticket sales at IDFA this year remained steady. The festival is expected to post over 200,000 admissions and to garner in excess of €1m in box-office revenue.

Festival director Ally Derks said it was a solid performance at a time when other Dutch film festivals have been losing audiences.

Attendances and viewing figures were also “slightly” up at IDFA’s industry event Docs For Sale.

Brisk business

Business was relatively brisk among the specialized doc sales agents.

Late last week, Vienna-based Autlook Film Sales announced a host of deals on its current slate.

One seller was Morgan Spurlock’s Comic-Con IV: A Fan’s Hope, which went to Poland (Gutek), Portugal (Zero Em Compartamento), and France (BAC). These followed on from the deal already clinched with Australia (Madman).

Architecture-themed doc The Human Scale (which premiered at CPH:DOX last month) sold to Poland (Against Gravity) and to Belgium (Lichtpunt.) Autlook said it was fielding “several offers” from US and Canadian distributors on the title.

Autlook is also poised to handle international sales on Fredrik Gertten’s new project Bikes vs Cars - War Time, which was pitched at the Forum (IDFA’s co-financing event).

French doc sales outfit Wide House reported a UK offer on This Ain’t California, a doc about skateboarders and young rebels in the GDR.

The company also reported strong business on the The War Of The Volcanoes, about the relationship between Roberto Rossellini and the two legendary actresses Ingrid Bergman and Anna Magnani. The film has been sold to the Czech Republic (Film Europe), Russia and CIS (Cinema Prestige).

Looking ahead, Wide House confirmed that it would be handling sales on Johan Grimonprez’s forthcoming The Shadow World, a feature doc exploring the dark side of international arms trade.

Catherine Le Clef’s Cat & Docs confirmed multiple sales on its IDFA competition entry The Staircase 2 - The Last Chance by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. Buyers include the BBC, The Sundance Channel, VRT, Yes, SVT and CBC.

The film (taking up the story told in the 2007 doc The Staircase of Michael Peterson, convicted of his wife’s murder) has been submitted to Sundance Festival as have a number of other IDFA entrants.

Festival organisers have confirmed the dates for next year’s IDFA (the 26th edition): Nov 20 to Dec 1 2013.

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