IDFA 2017 Overview, Part Two

The 30th anniversary IDFA

November 15-26

Yesterday’s post on the largest documentary festival in the world covered its competitive sections, while today’s looks at non-competitive programming.


IDFA’s Masters section presents nearly 30 new films from acclaimed, established filmmakers, including the world premieres of Julien Temple’s HABANEROS, on the history of Havana, Cuba; Mikala Krogh’s A YEAR OF HOPE, about the life of Manila’s street children; and Malek Bensmaïl’s THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, A FILM WITHIN HISTORY, an exploration of the famed 1967 film on Algeria’s independence from French colonialism. Among the other films screening in this strand are Thierry Michel’s CHILDREN OF CHANCE, about a small-town Belgian schoolteacher and her first generation Turkish-Belgian students; and Erik Gandini’s THE REBEL SURGEON, which follows a Swedish physician to practice in Ethiopia.


More then 40 films that have been making the rounds of other notable festivals appear in Best of Fests, including DOC NYC titles like Eric Caravaca’s PLOT 35, Mohammed Ali Naqvi’s INSHA’ALLAH DEMOCRACY, and Gustavo Salmerón’s LOTS OF KIDS, A MONKEY AND A CASTLE, as well as such other films like Jude Ratnam’s DEMONS IN PARADISE, a personal look back at Sri Lanka’s long-running civil war; Rok Biček’s THE FAMILY, a longitudinal portrait of a teenager who grows up with a mentally challenged family; and Gabriel Tejedor’s MAYSKAYA STREET, a portrait of a young man’s life in Belarus.


The Panorama strand offers more than two dozen films from all over the world, including several world premieres like: Saskia Boddeke’s THE GREENAWAY ALPHABET, the filmmaker’s intimate portrait of her famed filmmaker husband; Adriana Loeff and Claudia Abend’s LA FLOR DE LA VIDA, which explores love through the eyes of octogenarians; Gloria Carrión Fonseca’s HEIRESS OF THE WIND, a personal reflection on personal sacrifices made by her Sandinista revolutionary parents in Nicaragua; Agustina Comedi’s SILENCE IS A FALLING BODY, in which the filmmaker explores her father’s secretive homosexual past; and Marcel Mettelsiefen’s WATANI MY HOMELAND, following the family of a commander in the Free Syrian Army as they seek asylum.


Other non-competitive strands include Music Docs, including the world premieres of Claire Belhassine’s THE MAN BEHIND THE MICROPHONE, in which the filmmaker learns that her grandfather was a famed singer known as Tunisia’s Frank Sinatra, and Phil Cox’s BETTY: THEY SAY I’M DIFFERENT, about funk singer Betty Davis and why she left the music industry in the 1970s; as well as screenings of Brecht Vanhoenacker’s IMPOSED PIECE, about a world-class violin competition; and Stephen Nomura Schible’s RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: CODA, on the acclaimed Japanese composer. Finally, the experimental Paradocs includes Paulien Oltheten’s live photo video essay/performance observing everyday behavior, LA DÉFENSE; and Johan Grimonprez’s BLUE ORCHIDS, a dual portrait of the global arms trade from the perspectives of a dealer and of a war correspondent.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.