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IDFA 2013 – International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
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Since its launch in 1988 IDFA has been one of the world’s leading documentary film festivals, dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of ground-breaking creative documentaries


We look back on a great festival. The number of visits have increased from 208,000 in 2012 to 222,000 this year. Net receipts increased from € 1,060,000 in 2012 to € 1,257,000. The number of guests from the Netherlands and the rest of the world increased slightly compared with 2012 (2,583): 2,617 documentary professionals from the Netherlands and further afield attended the festival.

Award Winners 2013
At the awards ceremony for the 26th IDFA in Amsterdam’s Compagnietheater the winners of the festival’s various competitions have been announced.

Michael Obert won the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary (€ 12,500) for Song from the Forest. The film focuses on 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 America for the first time.

In addition, the jury presented a Special Jury Award 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.

The Russian collective Gogol’s Wives Productions won the NTR IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary (€ 10,000) for Pussy Versus Putin (Russia) – 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.

The IDFA Award for First Appearance (€ 5,000) was presented to Farida Pacha for My Name Is Salt (Switzerland / India), a painstaking observation of the labour-intensive process of salt extraction in an Indian desert, where the repetitive actions and events take on a ritual character. The film was made with financial support from the IDFA Bertha Fund, and was selected for the IDFA WorldView Summer School in 2009.

The jury also presented an extra award in memory of Peter Wintonick: the Peter Wintonick Special Jury Award for First Appearance, worth € 2,500. The award went to Linda Västrik for Forest of the Dancing Spirits, a portrait of a tribe of pygmies in Central Africa.

The Dioraphte IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary, worth € 5,000, went to Awake in a Bad Dream by Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster. The film revolves around three women dealing with the physical and emotional suffering caused by breast cancer.

The BankGiro Loterij IDFA Audience Award (€ 5,000) went to Twin Sisters by Mona Friis Bertheussen (Norway). Twin Sisters is the remarkable story of Chinese twins adopted in two completely different parts of world, but who are united by fate.

The IDFA Award for Student Competition (€ 2,500) went to Ricardas Marcinkus for Final Destination (Lithuania). The film deals with a Lithuanian prisoner released after 28 years. Unfortunately, the man rapidly sinks back into a life of drug abuse on the streets.

Morgan Neville received the IDFA Melkweg Music Documentary Audience Award (€ 2,500) for Twenty Feet from Stardom (USA, 2013), in which the backing singers of superstars reveal what it is like to live in the shadow of fame, and talk about their love of music.

The firestarters IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling (€ 2,500) went to I Love Your Work (USA) by Jonathan Harris. In this web documentary, nine women in the lesbian porn industry reveal not only their bodies, but their thoughts to the camera.

The IDFA DOC U Award (€ 1,500), presented by a jury of young people, went to Joe Piscatella for #chicagoGirl – The Social Network Takes on a Dictator (USA / Syria). From a suburb of Chicago, a nineteen-year-old American female student has been coordinating the Syrian revolution since 2011, armed with every imaginable social network.

Finally, the Mediafonds Kids & Docs Award 2013 was presented to A Home for Lydia by Eline Helena Schellekens. The film tells the story of Lydia, who was born in the Netherlands but has no residence permit. A special children’s jury voted A Home for Lydia the best Dutch youth documentary of the past year. Eline Helena Schellekens received €15,000 towards making a new youth documentary. – See more at: http://www.idfa.nl/industry/latest-news/award-winners-2013.aspx