FrederickWiseman, Albert Maysles, D.A. Pennebaker, Richard Leacock and Robert Drew, thelegendary 'godfathers' of the Direct Cinema movement, are all toattend the seventeenth IDFA, the world's biggest documentary festival, inAmsterdam next month.

They will be taking part in a special debate about thelegacy of Direct Cinema, which revolutionised documentary in the 60s andintroduced the idea of 'fly on the wall' filmmaking. Some of theyounger filmmakers they have influenced - Nick Broomfield among them - are alsoexpected to participate.

The debate promises to be one of the highlights of thisyear's festival, which runs from November 18-28. More than 250 documentarieswill be screened in the festival's various sidebars and competition strands.

This year, there will be a 'First AppearanceAward,' which offers a cash prize to 20 competing debut films. There willalso be a retrospective of the work made over the last half century at the LodzFilm Academy, where such well-known Polish directors as Krzysztof Kieslwoskiand Dariusz Jablonski learned their craft.

Meanwhile, 70 directors including Heddy Honigmann and PeterDelpeut have grouped together on a special project called 26,000 Faces, whichcomprises of short film portraits of the thousands of asylum seekers who arebeing deported from the Netherlands as a result of the Netherlands' draconiannew immigration laws.

As well as showcasing the best in world documentary, IDFA isalso an important market. Speaking to yesterday,festival director Ally Derks expressed her dismay that long-term funding forthe IDFA 'Forum,' at which independent producers pitch their projectsto commissioning editors, is now under threat. Defined under new guidelines asa 'supporting organisation", it may not be eligible for continuing supportfrom the Dutch Ministry of Culture.