International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2022 will open with the world premiere of All You See by Niki Padidar. Padidar’s multi-layered feature powerfully foregrounds the sensation of being looked at. Honest, painful, and even humorous encounters with three other immigrants to the Netherlands are stylistically interwoven between Padidar’s own personal history, opening up a vulnerable space of articulation with global resonance. A confessional collage with no simple outs, All You See turns the spotlight on all of us, while simultaneously asking: who is “us”?
IDFA unveiled the main competition lineups, including the Envision and International Competitions, the entire IDFA DocLab program, and the nominations for all cross-section awards. The 35th edition of IDFA takes place in person in Amsterdam from November 9-20.
Artistic Director Orwa Nyrabia said, “Here’s an eclectic lineup that is united only by originality. Through the subjectivities of these filmmakers, an image of a world in pain emerges—a humanity that is trying hard, that is vulnerable and sincere, that is complex and persistent. The diversity of artistic forms is astonishing, and there are no boundaries when it comes to tackling the biggest powers or inventing new grammar. The Envision Competition introduces artistically and politically courageous films, memorable journeys, and new questions. The International Competition brings together profound films that will tour the world and inspire audiences for years to come. IDFA DocLab celebrates its sweet 16th with the maturity of a prodigy, connecting our many lives, exposing how our nervous systems are a continuum connected to our planet and all the technology we share it with. Documentary is well! IDFA is back!”
The International Competition presents 13 films including Mila Turajlić’s Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels, to be presented as a diptych and performance, explores the never-before-seen footage of Tito’s cameraman documenting his trips to Africa and Asia to promote a third way amidst the Cold War. Paradise by Alexander Abaturov enters the heart of a raging forest fire in northeastern Siberia, brought on by climate change, as villagers come together to subdue the inferno.
Other films peer into intimate spaces as a window onto the wider world. Silent House by Farnaz Jurabchian and Mohammadreza Jurabchian tells the story of three generations of an Iranian family, from the 1979 Islamic Revolution to today, who grapple with history in a hundred-year-old house. Petra and Peter Lataster’s Journey Through Our World affectionately looks at their shrunken world in lockdown, capturing a slice of life at our strange moment in history. Apolonia, Apolonia by Lea Glob tenderly evokes a 13-year friendship between the filmmaker and a magnetic young painter as they navigate growing up in a world of life, death, and art.
The Envision Competition offers 12 films including In My Lost Country, filmmaker Ishtar Yasin Gutiérrez uses family keepsakes to construct a loving portrait of her exiled theater director father Mohsen Sadoon Yasin, and an elegy to their lost homeland of Iraq. Invoked by Luka Papić and Srđa Vučo looks back at the landmark free elections in Serbia in 1990, reimagining through montage how history might have otherwise unfolded.
Elsewhere in Envision, filmmakers experiment with staging reality, as in Scenes with My Father, the directorial debut from Biserka Šuran, which enters an abandoned factory-turned-theater to journey through family history while interrogating the construct of Europe. Ignacio Agüero’s Notes on a Film uses re-enactment and archival footage to shed light on Chile colonization as explored through the 1889 memoirs of a Belgian settler.
The 12-title Immersive Competition showcases the growth of the immersive art form on all fronts; and with 10 selected titles, the Digital Storytelling Competition builds on the rich history of interactive storytelling with both established names and newcomers. With 10 selected titles, the non-competitive DocLab section brings award-winning VR projects, immersive theater, and an expanded offering of fulldome projectsa
- Lea Glob
Colette and Justin
- Alain Kassanda
Debut filmmaker Alain Kassanda and his grandparents explore their family history in this richly layered portrait, drawing together politics and personal memories. The upheavals of post-colonial Congo feel palpably close.
- Jon Bang Carlsen
Jon Bang Carlsen has five teenagers from a small Arizona town stage their own lives—past, present and future—blurring the lines between reality and fiction. The photogenic landscape also plays a major role.
Journey Through Our World
- Petra Lataster-Czisch, Peter Lataster
The first year of Covid lockdowns is seen through the eyes of documentary veterans Petra and Peter Lataster, in this affectionate look at their shrunken world. Their calm account captures the uniqueness of this strange period in history.
Girl Who Dreams About Time
- Hyuck-jee Park
A coming-of-age film about the young shaman Sujin, who oversees a temple together with her grandmother in the mountains of South Korea. Will she be able to combine her calling as a seer with her studies at the University of Seoul?
Much Ado About Dying
- Simon Chambers
This tragicomic portrait of filmmaker Simon Chambers’ eccentric uncle demonstrates that death comes as a necessary end to life, caregiving is a heavy responsibility, and it’s wonderful to recite Shakespeare stark naked.
Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels
- Mila Turajlić
Based on unseen 35mm material, Non-Aligned retraces the birth of the Non-Aligned Movement during the era of decolonization. Forming a documentary diptych with Ciné-guerrillas, it examines how cinema gave expression to their political dream.
- Alexander Abaturov
- Mei-Ling HSIAO
An account, filmed over 12 years, of the close bond between a mother—the filmmaker—and her daughter, who has Asperger syndrome. They face a challenge when, as a young adult, the daughter moves from Taiwan to live with her father in France.
- Juan Manuel Bugarín
You can take a soldier out of the war, but you can’t take the war out of the soldier. That certainly applies to Marcelo Wytrykusz, an Argentinian veteran of the Malvinas War. Forty years later, he’s still seeking revenge.
Portrait of My Father
- Juan Ignacio Fernández Hoppe
When the filmmaker was eight, his father’s body was found on a beach near Montevideo. In this stylized cinematic quest, he seizes on every possible lead to find out what happened, and who his father was.
- Farnaz Jurabchian, Mohammadreza Jurabchian
We follow the fortunes of three generations of an upper-middle-class family against the backdrop of four decades of Iranian history. With the century-old family house in Tehran as a silent witness, the family’s story becomes a mirror of society.
Wisdom Gone Wild
- Rea Tajiri
A poetic and affectionate portrait of a born storyteller with dementia. Now that Rose, the Japanese-American mother of filmmaker Rea Tajiri, is sinking deeper into her dream world, her daughter and caregiver tells Rose’s complex life story.
- Mario Valero
A stimulating and vivid portrait of a generation, about a group of young people in their thirties and their relationships in Paris between 2019 and 2021. With a macabre news item as a common thread, we gradually get to know who they are.
The Fabulous Ones
- Roberta Torre
A group of fabulous trans women gather to honor their deceased friend Antonia in a way denied to her by her family, who buried Antonia in men’s clothes. Politics, pain and joie de vivre combine in this rousing and heartwarming tribute.
How Dare You Have Such a Rubbish Wish
- Mania Akbari
Excerpts spanning Iranian film history show that women have always been oppressed, also in the years before the Islamic Revolution. Undaunted, Mania Akbari takes on the male gaze in this confrontational essay.
- Luka Papić, Srđa Vučo
A hyperdynamically edited film about the first free elections in Serbia in 1990, which were won by Slobodan Milošević. Five presidential candidates of the time look back, and TV clips show the almost-surreal, circus-like election atmosphere.
Just an Alien
- Weicheng Hua
The spiritually minded vagabond Zhighou Sun guides the viewer through the extraordinary world of the “Foreigners Street” Chinese amusement park in Chongqing, a surreal sanctuary full of strange structures, from UFOs to an Egyptian pyramid.
Light Falls Vertical
- Efthymia Zymvragaki
- Angie Vinchito
A dark mosaic of often-shocking videos that Russian teenagers have posted on social media. Clip after clip shows how aggression and oppression in schools is unwittingly passed on to the next generation.
My Lost Country
- Ishtar Yasin Gutiérrez
Filmmaker Ishtar Yasin Gutiérrez uses family photographs, extracts from letters and audio recordings to construct a loving portrait of her exiled theater director father Mohsen Sadoon Yasin, and an elegy to their lost homeland of Iraq.
Notes for a Film
- Ignacio Agüero
A playfully styled portrait loosely based on memoirs published in 1889, evoking recollections of an unspoiled Chile that reflect on the here and now. But the portrayal also sheds light on what has been lost through colonization and modernization.
Notes on Displacement
- Khaled Jarrar
Refugees are often in the news, but what do we really know about their experiences? Notes on Displacement takes a deep dive into the fear and disorientation felt by a Syrian family on the grueling journey to a better life.
- As Talavistas, ela.ltda
Scenes with My Father
- Biserka Šuran
In an abandoned factory, a father and daughter time travel through their past of migration. In search of answers, they discuss the choices that were made when they fled from the former Yugoslavia to the Netherlands, and a family trauma unfolds.
IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction
The Anticipation of Rain
- Naima Karim
Using animated brush strokes in a 3D environment, a soundscape and scents, Naima Karim brings the tropical thunderstorm to life. Climate change has made the once-romantic monsoon into a life-threatening phenomenon.
The Butterfly Effect
- Mathilde Renault
In this multi-sensory installation, we make intimate acquaintance with a 4.5-billion-year-old rock fragment that traveled the universe before landing on Earth as a meteorite. Scientific data is translated into a sensorial experience.
Dancing with Dead Animals
- Maarten Isaäk de Heer
Maarten Isaäk de Heer has “re-animated” all the animals that died in his direct environment over the course of six months. He situates them in a pseudo-paradisical celebration of life that walks the line between tableau vivant and danse macabre.
Ihyangjeong: Carving with Memories
- Sunghwan Lee
For animator Sunghwan Lee, the South Korean housing market offers little opportunity to find a real home—one like his father’s childhood house, packed with memories. A virtuoso animated journey through time and space.
Ikhet (Sound Pyramid)
- Ali Santana
Referring to the glorious light of the Great Pyramid of Giza, this interactive installation with light, vibration and a very personal sound collage immerses the visitor in a microcosm that stimulates the senses.
In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats
- Darren Emerson
This interactive VR documentary takes you deep inside the UK rave culture of 1989. Grab a flyer and hunt for the illegal rave, somewhere in a secret location in Coventry. Experience the anticipation, the search—and finally the euphoria.
Kristine Is Not Well
- Seeyam Quine
In this interactive VR simulation you try to stay a step ahead of censorship on a fictitious online platform, with critical posts about the sudden disappearance of influencer Kristine. Based on real anti-censorship techniques used by online activists.
Missing 10 Hours VR
- Fanni Fazakas
Watch passively, go along with what’s happening, or intervene? In this interactive VR production, the viewer’s choices determine whether a night out ends in date rape or the safe return home of the girl whose drink is spiked with GHB.
My Toe (Uncensored)
- Lisa Schamlé
When Lisa Schamlé posted photos of her toe online, she immediately got reactions from foot fetishists. That led to this installation of photos, embroidery and a live performance. Is it possible to fetishize absolutely every part of the female body?
- Miri Chekhanovich, Edith Jorisch
With These Hands
- Tessa Ratuszynska
This VR installation shares challenging, complex and under-discussed stories of sexual assault and recovery. It explores the role of listening in the recovery of both survivors and those responsible for sexual harm.
IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling
- Dustin Harvey
Step into the world of the Alone Together Agency, where lonely people can hire replacement relatives. Use the app at DocLab to become a freelance family member and have real conversations with a virtual loner.
- Bieke Depoorter, Dries Depoorter
While humans erect more and more physical boundaries around the world, birds just carry on cheerfully ignoring them. This digital project picked out 100 images of border-crossing birds from footage on publicly accessible cameras.
- Hakeem Adam
With news clips, snatches of music, historical recordings and advertising jingles, Hakeem Adam constructs an audio image of postcolonial Ghana. Through “things in which I can hear myself,” he examines what it means to be Ghanaian.
- Ben Wahl
An interactive graphic novel about Vietnamese migrant workers in Communist East Germany. After the borders opened up with the West in 1989, they saw their children struggling with cultural differences and discrimination in a rapidly changing society.
He Fucked the Girl Out of Me
- Taylor McCue
In this story, told through the medium of a retro interactive computer game, a trans person named Ann talks frankly and in detail about a traumatic sexual experience and its harrowing, ongoing aftermath.
Her Body and Other Mukbang
- Echo Tang
Most stars of mukbang videos, which feature individuals eating huge quantities of food, are East Asian women. In this video installation—a feminist riposte to this form of fetishization—a voluptuous woman becomes the meal.
His Name Is My Name
- Eline Jongsma, Kel O’Neill
A documentary about WWII in surprising form, unearthing the story of filmmaker Eline Jongsma’s great-grandfather, the infamous Dutch Nazi Gerrit Jongsma. Part family epic and part detective story, the series unfolds in ten binge-worthy episodes.
- Annie Marr
- Constant Dullaart
A social media platform without the battle for likes? Why not just build it yourself, thought artist Constant Dullaart during the Covid pandemic. In this idyllic online meadow of flowers, every visitor has a chance to bloom.
A South Asian Queer Pamphlet
- Soumya Mukhopadhyay
Performance artist Kaur Chimuk was filmed during 26 queer performances that undermine South Asian gender norms. Spell a word with the alphabet in this web installation and create your own queer pamphlet.
IDFA DocLab Spotlight
Echoes of Silence
- Tamara Shogaolu
Dome projections of starlit skies and animations complement this intense audio experience. A trip into space to explore the ways the emptiness of the universe manifests as sound at various places around the world.
- David Gardener
A 360° guided tour of grandma’s house gets further and further off track, with the image tilting and the voice-over stuck on repeat. This is what it must be like to tumble down into the bottomless pit of dementia.
The Man Who Couldn’t Leave
- Singing Chen
This VR piece puts the viewer inside the penal colony where Taiwan imprisoned political prisoners in 1949. The now elderly A-Keun talks about hunger, boredom, the sense of time and his comrade who died in prison.
New Update Available – Version 2.1
- Jeroen van Loon
Take a seat at the weekly computer hour for the elderly, where course leader Robert will help you find your way in the digital world. This funny and moving VR experience enables you to understand digital illiteracy among the elderly from the inside.
- Landia Egal, Amaury Laburthe
Welcome to Okawari restaurant! Sit down at a real table for a virtual meal. Place your order for more sushi, another bowl of ramen and yet another bottle of sake. But is this seemingly inexhaustible supply of culinary delights as infinite as it seems?
ONX + IDFA DocLab MoCap Stage
ONX and IDFA DocLab are collaborating for the first time to present a motion capture stage at the festival. Live performances and workshops invite audiences and professionals to explore the artistic potential of mocap technology for documentary art.
Partita for 8 Voices
- Michel Lam
Eight incomparable singers explore the far reaches of the human vocal range. In a 360-degree projection, the score evolves into abstract patterns that draw the viewer in and depict sounds for which we have no words.
A Radical Compromise
- Daniel Červenka
The effect of our hunger for fossil fuels on the environment becomes palpable in this 360-degree immersion into a Czech brown coal mine. The traces of destructive human activity are revealed from microscopic scale to all-encompassing.
- Maarten Isaäk de Heer
We fly with the migratory birds of the future, which due to climate change will be forced to travel longer distances until they fall exhausted from the sky. On the ground, humans leave their final traces in a post-apocalyptic landscape.