The 19th International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), proveda triumph for Danish documentary makers.
IDFA's most prestigious prize, The VPRO Joris Ivens Award, went to Danish feature doc The Monastery - Mr Vig And The Nun, directed byPernille Rose Gronkjaer. (The Monastery was also selected last weekfor The World Cinema Documentary Competition in Sundance 2007.)
The Silver Wolf, the prize for best short documentary, also went to another Sundance-bound Danish title - Enemies Of Happiness by Eva Mulvad.
And the Silver Cub award for the best documentary shorterthan 30 minutes, was awarded to yet another Danish title, My Eyesby Erlend E. Mo.
The Joris Ivens jury awarded the Special Jury prize to Tender'sHeat. Wild Wild Beach by Alexander Rastorguev, VitalyMansky and Susanna Baranzhieva (Russia, 2006).
The First Appearance Award went to We Are Together (ThinaSuminye) by Paul Taylor (UK, 2006). It was a double triumph for Taylor, who also picked up theAudience Award.
Festival organisers were generally happy with an event that ran smoothly and posted increased audience figures on last year. Admissions were around the 130,000 mark.
There was a whiff of controversy late on in the festival when IDFAdirector Ally Derks held a brief silence in protest against the DutchGovernment's decision to award "medals of honour" to the Dutch UNsoldiers based at Srebrenica in 1995, when more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys wereslaughtered under their eyes by the Bosnian-Serb army.
The events at Srebrenica still leave a huge scar on Dutch society.The presence at IDFA of Carla Del Ponte, the Prosecutor for the InternationalCriminal Tribunal for the Yugoslavia, and of Leslie Woodhead (director of ACry From The Grave, the acclaimed BBC documentary about the massacre) ensured that Srebrenicawas one of the most hotly-debated topics.
Next year, IDFA will celebrate its 20th anniversary. A shake-up ofsome of its activities is likely.
The Forum, IDFA's highly successful pitching market, may changeits format in order to lessen the influence of commissioning editors. "Ireally think that the pitches right now are pitching to slots instead of beinga pitch from the filmmaker," Derks commented. "I don't think that is the idea of free filmmaking."
The festival (currently run on a budget of approximately $4m (Euros 3m) is now looking for an extra $660,00 (Euros 500,000) per annum to fundits future plans, which include "digitalising" the festival andfinding new screening venues.
Amsterdam's City - IDFA's flagship cinema - is due to berefurbished and the event will have to move elsewhere, at least for next year.