Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sex Workers storm Amsterdam's International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA)

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged


Amsterdam is a busy place all year round. November is no different. As the clocks change time, the weather drops in temperature and the trees lose their leaves, Amsterdammers scramble to get building projects finished before winter and the film buffs take over down town Amsterdam.

It is the month of IDFA: Amsterdam's International Documentary Film Festival. When in Amsterdam has been attending a two week festival in its 24th year and the largest of its kind in the world. Over 300 documentaries are screened attracting 200 000 visits and around 2600 international visitors.

The city and especially the Rembrandtplein (square) area is crawling with industry people and film fanatics. Talking, selling, networking or just enjoying, you can't get away from the enthusiasm for documentaries in November. As the festival comes to an end it is time to tell you the stars and the prize winners this year.

This year the talk and especially the Dutch chatter has been about Amsterdammers, the Fokkens. Two sweet old Amsterdam ladies in grey knit sweaters identical twin sisters Martine and Louise.

At the age of 69 they have been working in Amsterdam's famed Red Light District for 50 years. One of the sisters still works while the other does not because of problems with her hips. A Documentary Meet the Fokkens about their lives and adventures premiered this year. In time for Christmas the imaginative sisters have also released a book about their lives.

There has been no better example of Dutch honesty then to watch and hear the Fokkens on the television and radio talk show circuit over the past two weeks. Click on the link of an interview with the sisters by the National Broadcaster with English subtitles to watch the women talk about their profession.


With over 300 titles and many events and exhibitions running paralel to IDFA it is hard to list favorites. Below is a list of this years prize winners.


Prize Winners:


Best Feature Length Documentary:
Planet of the Snail (South Korea) is a story of a deaf and blind man and his beloved.

Special Jury Mention and the Audience Award:
5 Broken Cameras (Palastine/France/Netherlands) tells the story of a Palastinian village dealing with Jewish settlement and encroachment over a period of 5 years.

IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary:
Montenegro (Argentina) is about the hermit life of a man and a dog on a quiet island.

Dutch Cultural Media Fun Documentary Prize:
Floating Bodies (Netherlands) about an unidentified corps

IDFA Award for 1st Appearance: The Vanishing Spring Light (China/Canada) life of West Street citizens in Dujiangyan City.

Best Music Documentary Prize (inaugural):
Last Days Here about the crack cocaine addicted front man Bobby Liebling

Best Green Screen Documentary
Bitter Seeds about why an Indian farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes.

Student Award for Documentary
The Betrayal (England/Norway) making mistakes in the world of Norwegian squatters and seeking forgiveness.

Blackberry sponsored Youth Award
Last Days of Winter (Iran) is a portrait about the lives of 7 Iranian boys in a youth detention center.

For more information visit the Film Festival's page:
IDFA