The awards winners for the 26th IDFA were announced in Amsterdam on Friday night.

Song from the Forest by Germany’s Michael Obert won the main prize at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) tonight (Nov 29).

The film won the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, worth €12,500.

The film tells the story of American Louis Sarno, who has lived for 25 years with a tribe of Pygmies in the jungle of Central Africa and decides to take his son to the US for the first time.

The Special Jury Award went to A Letter to Nelson Mandela by Khalo Matabane (South Africa / Germany), in which the filmmaker takes a critical look at Nelson Mandela, his status and role in the reforms that took place in South Africa in the 1990s.

Twin Sisters by Mona Friis Bertheussen won the BankGiro Loterij IDFA Audience Award.

The Russian collective Gogol’s Wives Productions won the NTR IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary (€10,000) for Pussy Versus Putin – a grim record of the struggle by the wild, anarchistic female band Pussy Riot against President Putin, from their first disruptive performances to images shot in police cells.

Audiences were up at what organisers have been describing as “a record year”.

Autlook sales

Business was brisk too at the festival’s market, Docs For Sale. One sales agent reporting a host of deals on its IDFA slate was Austrian-based Autlook.

Autlook’s The Trials Of Muhammad Ali by Bill Siegel, currently in US theatres with Kino Lorber, did fierce sales at IDFA, both theatrically and for TV.

DR Denmark, UR Sweden, YLE Finland, VPRO Netherlands, China, Channel 8 Israel all came on board. Theatrical deals include Madman for Australia with several more pending.

Locarno winner and also “best of the fest” selected Master Of The Universe had theatrical deals secured ahead of the market to Frenetic Films Switzerland, Arsenal Films Germany and Polyfilm Austria - and has now sold to Kinosmith Canada and Ambulante Mexico, who will organise a theatrical tour with over 30 screenings in Mexico.

Another of Autlook’s IDFA titles, Mercedes Sosa, The Voice Of Latin America went to Pay TV New Zealand, YES Israel, HRT Croatia, Polish TV and theatrical deal to First Run Features USA.

Buyers have also been grabbing Docs For Sale title New Boobs which has gone to Belgium (VRT) and Sweden (UR).

Also in Docs For Sale Penny Lane’s Our Nixon has sold to ARTE France, SVT Sweden, NRK Norway, EBS Korea, DR Denmark and Yes Israel.