MENA films screen at IDFA documentary film festival

The works of filmmakers from more than 80 countries will be presented at the 34th edition of IDFA
MENA films screen at IDFA documentary film festival

MENA films punctuate the 34th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), which Artistic Director Orwa Nyrabia has confirmed will open with Four Journeys by Louis Hothothot. The festival will run November 17-28.

Ushering in its revamped programme structure, IDFA also announced the films selected for the newly minted International Competition, Envision Competition, and cross-section awards. The festival also presented the immersive and interactive artworks selected for the IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction and the IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling.

Artistic Director Orwa Nyrabia said:” The works of filmmakers from over 80 countries will be presented at the 34th edition of IDFA, and they are showing us how artistic freedom, courage, and engagement with the world come in many different languages, styles, and viewpoints.

“The documentary field is being confirmed as a future-proof art form that is unapologetically open, diverse, and continuously developing. IDFA’s new program structure, as much as IDFA’s Filmmaker Support and Industry activities, is changing to reflect this. Today, we present a program that is worthy of our return to cinemas,” he added.

Fourteen films are selected for IDFA’s new International Competition, while 15 films screen in the Envision Competition. Ten selected projects in the IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling illustrate all the different ways to create stories and what these stories tell us about current reality.

MENA films screening include A Thousand Fires (Palestine-France-Switzerland-Netherlands) directed by Saeed Tajl Farouky, which has its international premiere at the festival’s international competition. The world premiere of Octopus (Lebanon-Qatar-US), directed by Karim Kassem will screen in the Envision section, along with Eat Your Catfish (Turkey-Spain-US), directed by Adam Isenberg, Noah Amir Arjomand and Senem Tuzen and Homemade Stories (Syria-Egypt) directed by Nidal Al Dibs.

Eat Your Catfish

From the International Competition, Envision Competition, Luminous, and Frontlight, three international juries will choose the winners of the IDFA Award for Best First Feature, the IDFA Award for Best Dutch Film, and the FIPRESCI Award. From across the programme, an international jury will choose the winner of the Beeld en Geluid IDFA ReFrame Award for Best Creative Use of Archive.

IDFA has also added six films to The Future Tense, five films to unConscious Bias, two projects to IDFA on Stage, four films to Masters, and nine films to Best of Fests. Screening will be the world premiere of Mai Masri’s new film Beirut: Eye of the Storm (Lebanon-France); Avi Mograbi’s The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation (Israel-France-Finland-Germany); Rami Farah’s Our memory Belongs to Us (Palestine-Denmark-France); Abdallah Al Khatib’s Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege and Abdessamad El Montassir’s 19-minute film Galb’Echaouf.

Beirut: Eye of the Storm

In Best of Fests there is a screening of Samaher Alqadi’s As I Want (Egypt-Norway-France-Palestine-Germany) and Ahmet Cupur’s Les Enfants terribles (Turkey-Franc-Germany), while Omer Daida's Herd (Israel) shows in the competition for short documentary along with Pegah Ahanharani’s I Am Trying to Remember (Iran-Czech Republic).

As I Want

In addition, Tai Elkayam’s Figure-Ground (Israel) shows in the Luminous section along with Jarar Najafi’s Makeup Artist (Iran) and Tonight’s Homework (Iran), by Ashkan Nejati and Mehran Nemotollahl, while also showing is Sero Hinde’s Stories of Destroyed Cities (Syria)  and Mika Orr’s webseries #AMiNORMAL.


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