IDFA 2018 Overview, Part One

The 31st IDFA

November 14-25

The world’s largest nonfiction event welcomes new artistic director Orwa Nyrabia with this edition, showcasing nearly 160 new and recent documentary features. Because of the size of the event, this overview is split in two, with today’s post covering the competition sections and tomorrow’s the non-competitive strands.


IDFA’s dozen-strong Feature Competition includes world premieres like: Yang Zhang’s UP THE MOUNTAIN, about life in a remote Chinese mountain village, centered around a master artist; Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff’s LOS REYES, about two stray dogs living in a Chilean skatepark; Hyung-sook Hong’s JUNHA’S PLANET, a portrait of a young boy with behavioral issues; Eszter Hajdú’s HUNGARY 2018, which follows the comeback campaign of the country’s former prime minister; mint film office’s “NOW SOMETHING IS SLOWLY CHANGING”, a formalist look at sel-improvement; and Van Brummelen & De Haan’s STONES HAVE LAWS, a hybrid exploring the Surinamese Maroon community.


The First Appearance Competition offers 13 directorial debuts, including the world premieres of: Aboozar Amini’s KABUL, CITY IN THE WIND, a look at Afghanistan through the eyes of three ordinary people; Mingying Zhou’s THE LAND OF PEACH BLOSSOMS, a look at an authoritarian’s control of a Chinese restaurant; Fatma Riahi’s A HAUNTED PAST, in which the filmmaker investigates the fate of Bosnian family offered shelter by her mother a decade prior; Eyad Aljarod’s THE GREATEST SACRIFICE, which follows two Syrian freedom fighters as the revolution darkens; Juna Suleiman’s MUSSOLINI’S SISTER, a hybrid about the filmmaker’s elderly Palestinian grandmother; María Silvia Esteve’s SILVIA, a home movie driven look at the reality of the filmmaker’s dysfunctional family; and Fernando Martín Restelli’s CONTRUCTIONS, an intimate look at the life of an Argentine security guard.


Among the dozen contenders in the Mid-Length Competition are the world premieres of: Carin Goeijers’ BUT NOW IS PERFECT, about a declining Italian village’s intersection with the refugee crisis; Benjamin Mullinkosson’s DON’T BE A DICK ABOUT IT, a portrait of a pair of ginger brothers; Dina Barinova’s THE POTATO EATERS, a portrait of a Russian family living in poverty; Yaser Talebi’s BELOVED, a portrait of an octogenarian female cow herder in Iran; Dalia Kury’s THE PRIVACY OF WOUNDS, in which Syrian immigrants relate their experiences of prison and torture; and Pawel Ziemilski’s IN TOUCH, about attempts to use technology to connect families split between Poland and Iceland.


Among the features in the Dutch Competition are the world premieres of: Marina Meijer’s O AMOR É ÚNICO, about an octogenarian Brazilian woman who falls in love with a man in his forties; Heddy Honigmann’s BUDDY, a look at guide dogs and their owners; Stella van Voorst van Beest’s GOOD NEIGHBOURS, following volunteers who visit Rotterdam’s elderly population to combat loneliness; and Ton van Zantvoort’s SHEEP HERO, a portrait of a traditional Dutch shepherd.


Finally, the Student Competition includes three features: Aleksandr Elkan’s HEY, BRO!, a portrait of two young Russian men and their intense friendship; Beryl Magoko’s IN SEARCH…, a personal reckoning with the practice of female genital mutilation; and Yue Ting’s DANCING IN THE WIND, about a colorful Chinese livestream personality.

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

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