Selection includes competition titles, a focus on Southeast Asia and a ‘Top 10’ compiled by director Rithy Panh.

The selection for the 26th IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) has been unveiled and includes 288 titles – selected from more than 3,000 submissions – of which 100 will receive their world premiere during the festival (Nov 20 – Dec 1).

There will be a strand dedicated to documentaries from Southeast Asia titled Emerging Voices from Southeast Asia.

This year’s IDFA Top 10 is compiled by Cambodian director Rithy Panh, and a retrospective of his work will be screening at the festival.

Panh, whose doc The Missing Picture won the Un Certain Regard strand at Cannes in May, has selected:

  • Alone
    Wang Bing (Hong Kong/France, 2012)
  • Don’t Look Back
    D.A. Pennebaker (USA, 1967)
  • Farrebique - The Four Seasons
    Georges Rouquier (France, 1946)
  • The Football Incident
    Joris Ivens/Marceline Loridan-Ivens (France, 1976)
  • I Am Cuba
    Mikheil Kalatozishvili (Cuba/Russia, 1964)
  • In Vanda’s Room
    Pedro Costa (Portugal, 2000)
  • A Man Vanishes
    Shohei Imamura (Japan, 1967)
  • Milestones
    Robert Kramer/John Douglas (USA, 1975)
  • A Tale of the Wind
    Marceline Loridan-Ivens/Joris Ivens (France/The Netherlands, 1988)
  • Touki Bouki - Journey of the Hyena
    Djibril Diop Mambety (Senegal, 1973)

In addition, IDFA and EYE present a special joint themed strand titled Based on the Same Story that compares documentaries and fiction films made on the same subject.

The winners of the various competition programs will be announced on Nov 29.

IDFA Competition

A total of 15 films compete this year in IDFA’s competition for feature-length documentaries.

The jury, made up of Jose Carlos Avellar (Brazil), Katerina Cizek (Canada), Nicole Guillemet (USA), Chris McDonald (Canada) and Jiska Rickels (the Netherlands), will award the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, a cash prize of €12,500.

The jury may also make a Special Jury Award.

  • Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case, Andreas Johnsen (Denmark)
  • Alphabet, Erwin Wagenhofer (Austria/Germany)
  • Birth of a Tiger, Sam Benstead (England)
  • Displaced Persons, Åsa Blanck & Johan Palmgren (Sweden)
  • Farewell to Hollywood, Henry Corra & Regina Nicholson (USA)
  • An Inconsolable Memory, Aryan Kaganof (South Africa)
  • Life Almost Wonderful, Svetoslav Draganov (Bulgaria/Belgium)
  • Ne me quitte pas, Niels van Koevorden & Sabine Lubbe Bakker (the Netherlands)
  • Putin’s Games, Alexander Gentelev (Russia/Austria)
  • Return to Homs, Talal Derki (Syria/Germany)
  • Sepideh, Berit Madsen (Denmark)
  • Shado’man, Boris Gerrets (the Netherlands)
  • Song from the Forest, Michael Obert (Germany)
  • Stream of Love, Agnes Sós (Hungary)
  • The Wild Years, Ventura Durall (Spain)

Other Competitions and Awards

IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary

15 documentaries between 30 and 60 minutes long compete for the NTR IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary in the IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary.

The jury is Keiko Bang (Singapore), Lejla Dedic (Bosnia), Veton Nurkollari (Kosovo), Marco Spagnoli (Italy) and Meral Uslu (the Netherlands). The winner receives €10,000.

IDFA Competition for First Appearance

In the IDFA Competition for First Appearance, 15 debut films compete for the IDFA Award for Best First Appearance.

The jury consists of Mark Adams (UK), Joslyn Barnes (US), Michiel van Erp (the Netherlands), Hanka Kastelicova (Czech Republic) and Stephan Vanfleteren (Belgium).

The best debut film receives €5,000.

IDFA Competition for Student Documentary

In the IDFA Competition for Student Documentary, 15 student films from film academies around the world compete for the IDFA Award for Best Student Documentary, worth €2,500.

The jury consists of Hussain Currimbhoy (UK), Peter Lataster (the Netherlands) and Mon Mon Myat (Myanmar).

IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary

The Dioraphte IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary, worth €5,000, is presented for the best Dutch documentary at the festival. 15 films are eligible for this award.

The jury consists of Francine Brücher (Switzerland), Edward Cabagnot (the Philippines), Sonja Henrici (UK), Esther Hertog (the Netherlands) and Brian Hill (UK).


A special selection from the IDFA film program for young people aged 15 and older is assessed by a youth jury which then gives the IDFA DOC U Award, worth €1,500.

BankGiro Lottery IDFA Audience Award

All films included in IDFA’s competition programs and films from other program sections made this year compete for the BankGiro Lottery IDFA Audience Award, worth €5,000.

IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling

DocLab projects that make use of digital technology in creative, effective ways to tell a documentary story are eligible for the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling (€2,500).

The jury is made up of Jason Brush (US), John MacFarlane (Canada) and Kira Pollack (US).

Regular programs

Reflecting Images: Best of Fests

Documentaries that have kicked up a storm at international festivals during the past year.

Reflecting Images: Masters

The latest films from the big-hitters of the documentary world, including Nick Broomfield, Nina Hedenius, Werner Herzog, Victor Kossakovsky, Claude Lanzmann, Errol Morris, Marcel Ophüls and Lucy Walker.

Reflecting Images: Panorama

Documentaries about urgent topics of contemporary social interest.


Experimental documentaries occupy a central position in this program.

Filmmaker and visual artist Barbara Visser is the principal guest at Paradocs this year. Specially for the occasion, she is creating a video installation around a number of famous ‘making ofs’, which will also be screening.

A new feature this year is Paradocs’ cooperation with Amsterdam Art Weekend, whereby Amsterdam galleries open their doors – during the last weekend of the festival, IDFA will be one of the exhibition spaces. IDFA will also be working with the Stedelijk Museum for the second year in succession.

Interactive Reality

IDFA DocLab and Flemish Arts Centre De Brakke Grond present a new program on interactive documentary and the digital revolution. Central to this will be an international conference on 24 November, with guests including media artists Jonathan Harris and Vincent Morrisset, MIT, Time Magazine and NFB Interactive. There will also be interactive installations, live cinema events and a lab for talent from the Netherlands and Flanders.

Retrospective Rithy Panh

As well as his Top 10 (see above), an overview of the work of the Cambodian documentary maker will be screend.

Emerging Voices from Southeast Asia

The themed programme Emerging Voices from Southeast Asia consists of 14 recent documentaries from Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

During the festival, three long, in-depth Q&As will be held following screenings, at which themes prominent in this programme – such as gender, youth culture and censorship – can be discussed in greater detail. Every screening will also be followed by a discussion of the film with the filmmakers present.

Based on the Same Story

This programme consists of seven documentaries on a topic about which a fiction film has also been made. Both the documentaries and the fiction films will screen in EYE during IDFA, and the screenings of the documentaries will be followed by an in-depth discussion with the filmmaker in the cinema. The similarities and differences between the two films will be investigated using clips from the fiction film.

Kids & Docs

The best documentaries for children aged 9-13.

On Dec 1, IDFA Junior will take place in EYE: stories for and about children during a festive day-long program of documentaries for young people, guests and activities.

Music Documentary

The regular Music Documentary strand includes 16 documentaries, selected together with Amsterdam concert venue de Melkweg. These music documentaries compete for the IDFA Music Audience Award, worth €2,500.

Stand-Up Documentary

In cooperation with Toomler, the Comedy Train theatre café in Amsterdam, IDFA presents a selection of documentaries in which humor and stand-up comedy are central. These films will be screened both in Toomler and in the IDFA venues, and will be introduced by the likes of Dutch comedian Jan-Jaap van der Wal.

Niek Koppen in Focus

2013’s Filmmaker in Focus is Niek Koppen. Koppen has made a film, Dutch Darlings, commissioned by and based on footage from the archives of The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. This film will première at IDFA, and afterwards a DVD boxed set containing a number of Niek Koppen’s documentaries  will be presented.

The First World War: The First War on Screen

To mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, eight documentaries about WWI will be screened at this year’s IDFA.

All of these films were made between 1917 and 1928 and come from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK. The selection was made in cooperation with researcher David Barnouw of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, media historian Bert Hogenkamp from The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and Elif Rongen-Kaynakci, silent film curator at EYE.

Treasures – restored Oscar-nominated and winning films

During the past six months, The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision has digitized and restored a number of Dutch films that have been nominated for or won Academy Awards®. During IDFA, The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision will present a selection of these films for the first time.

Click here for full list of titles