Other winners include hit US podcast Serial.

Of Men and War

Laurent Bécue-Renard’s Of Men and War has won the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary.

The trophy, which comes with a cash prize of €12,500, was handed out in Amsterdam’s Compagnietheater at the awards ceremony of the 27th IDFA.

The French-Swiss co-production is about a group of American Iraq veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Director Bécue-Renard followed the group for many years during therapy sessions in a clinic for veterans.

A statement from the jury said the film “confronts us with our fragility as human beings, revealing that we must treat each other with gentleness and love. In a way that is never intrusive, the camera participates in therapy sessions for traumatized veterans. (…) A more powerful anti-war film is hard to imagine.”

In addition, the special jury award was a given to Something Better to Come (Denmark / Poland) by Hanna Polak, who for 14 years followed young girl Yula and those who share her fate - living in the biggest waste tip in Europe, just outside Moscow.

Both winning films were pitched as projects at previous editions of the IDFA Forum.

Julia Mironova won the NTR IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary (€ 10,000) for Kamchatka - The Cure for Hatred (Russia), a portrait of the former television reporter Vijatsjeslav Nemishev who in 2001 covered the war in Chechnya and now lives a withdrawn life on an island.

The IDFA Award for First Appearance (€ 5,000) was presented to Gábor Hörcher for Drifter (Hungary / Germany), a portrait of a rebellious Hungarian racing talent who dramatically veers off the socially accepted course.

In addition, the jury presented the Peter Wintonick Special Jury Award for First Appearance worth € 4,000, an incentive award in memory of Canadian filmmaker Peter Wintonick who passed away last year. The award went to Nadine Salib for Mother of the Unborn (Egypt / United Arab Emirates), about an Egyptian woman’s desire to become pregnant and thereby gain acceptance as a woman.

Mother of the Unborn received financial support from the IDFA Bertha Fund and was also one of the projects at the IDFAcademy Summerschool 2014.

The Beeld en Geluid IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary, worth € 5,000, went to The New Rijksmuseum - The Film by Oeke Hoogendijk. The film is a behind-the-scenes report on the large-scale renovation of the Netherlands’ most well-known museum, which took ten years.

The BankGiro Loterij IDFA Audience Award (€ 5,000) went to Naziha’s Spring (the Netherlands) by Gülsah Dogan, a portrait of single mother Naziha, a number of whose children were the focus of negative media attention in 2007.

The IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling (€ 2,500) went to Serial (US) by Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder. Serial is an audio-visual whodunit who keeps the followers of the podcast on permanent tenterhooks: who killed American schoolgirl Hae Min Lee?

The IDFA Award for Student Competition (€ 2,500) went to No Lullaby (Germany) by Helen Simon. The film is a reconstruction of a horrific family history across three generations.

Alan Hicks received the IDFA Melkweg Music Documentary Audience Award (€ 2,500) for Keep on Keepin’ On (USA), about jazz legend Clark Terry and his young protégé Justin Kauflin, a blind jazz pianist.

The IDFA DOC U Award (€ 2,500), presented by a youth jury, went to Sophie Robinson and Lotje Sodderland for My Beautiful Broken Brain (UK). Following a serious stroke, the film follows Lotje Sodderland’s attempts to recapture her previous life.

Finally, the Mediafondsprijs Kids & Docs 2014 was presented to Giovanni and the Water Ballet by Astrid Bussink. A special children’s jury chose Giovanni and the Water Ballet as the best Dutch youth documentary of the past year. Bussink received € 15,000 with which to make a new youth documentary.

The festival has once again attracted more visitors than last year. The number of visits has risen from 234.503 in 2013 to 250,000 this year. Net box-office takings increased from €1.277.283 in 2013 to €1.335.000 this year.

The number of festival guests from the Netherlands and abroad increased in relation to 2013 (2.691): 2.986 documentary professionals from the Netherlands and the rest of the world visited the festival during the past week.

The next IDFA will run from Nov 18-29, 2015.