IDFA Institute harvest 2023
IDFA Institute harvest 2023

IDFA Institute harvest 2023

Thursday, October 26
By staff

After announcing our IDFA 2023 official selection, we are proud to highlight 27 titles that were previously supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund, attended IDFA’s talent development workshops, or presented at IDFA Forum.

No less than 27 films supported by the IDFA institute have been selected for the official festival selection. This year’s substantial institute harvest is made up of films that previously received support from the IDFA Bertha Fund (IBF), IDFA Forum, or IDFA’s talent development programs. Among them, celebrated filmmaker Tatiana Huezo Sánchez returns to IDFA with her latest film The Echo. Debut films also find a prominent place in the lineup, with first-time features by Mohamad Sabbah and Danielle Davie (Embodied Chorus) and Olga Chernykh (A Picture to Remember). Making their debut after many years in the making, Meena Nanji and Zippy Kimundu present the world premiere of Our Land, Our Freedom.

“With films from 137 countries selected for this year's festival, this year's harvest demonstrates that the dedicated efforts of our workshops and support from the IDFA Bertha Fund helps amplify voices and the production of incredible films from across the globe. Our training programs and financial support aims to respond to the needs of filmmakers—to facilitate their creative process and navigating the industry and future opportunities,” said Isabel Arrate Fernandez, Deputy Director of IDFA and Managing Director of the IDFA Bertha Fund.

“The connection between our artist supporting programs (the IDFA Bertha Fund and the training programs) and IDFA’s markets (Forum and Docs for Sale) creates the unique opportunity to guide a very diverse group of filmmakers and producers in the many aspects they face in the filmmaking process. The markets focus on finding international and cross-cultural partnerships to realize and distribute films from Europe and the rest of the world. The rich variety of the 18 former Forum films and new media projects shows the value of the Forum to boost finance and distribution,” said Adriek van Nieuwenhuijzen, Head of Industry.

Premiering in competition

Among the selection of this year’s International Competition—which includes films that explore contemporary conflict and turmoil through deeply personal experiences—is the IDFA-supported Life is Beautiful by Mohamed Jabaly, having successfully presented his film at IDFA Forum in 2020.

The Envision Competition presents visionary filmmakers forging new cinematic languages, and this edition’s selection includes Mud by Ilya Povolotsky, which received support from the IDFA Bertha Fund in 2023. Also in the selection is the remarkable IDFA 2023 opening film: A Picture to Remember by Olga Chernykh, which received both the IDFA Bertha Fund support and workshopped at IDFA Project Space in 2023.

Turning to the IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary, Sebastian Mulder premieres his short film And a Happy New Year, after participating in the ZappDoc Lab in 2021.

Several stages of IDFA support

This year’s harvest features a noteworthy number of films that received several stages of IDFA support. Selected for this year’s Luminous section, Joe Houlberg Silva’s Ozogoche was successfully pitched at IDFA Forum, participated in the IDFA Project Space: Rough Cut section, and received the two rounds of IDFA Bertha Fund support—all in 2022.

Having both pitched at IDFA Forum and gone on to receive grants from the IDFA Bertha Fund, Meena Nanji and Zippy Kimundu present the world premiere of Our Land, Our Freedom in the Luminous section, and Tatiana Huezo Sánchez presents The Echo is the festival’s newest section celebrating a filmmaker’s distinct signature, Signed.

Hits from the festival circuit

The non-competitive Best of Fests section remains a centerpiece for IDFA-supported films that met with success at major festivals such as Berlinale, Sundance, San Sebastian, Venice Critics Week, and Visions du Réel. Among them, particularly noteworthy titles are The Mother of All Lies by Asmae El Moudir and Milisuthando by Milisuthando Bongela; both are non-European titles that went on to garner attention and received nominations and awards at A-list festivals before making the rounds worldwide. Both films were supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund and pitched at the IDFA Forum; The Mother of All Lies received two rounds of IBF support and participated in IDFA Project Space in 2019 and 2021.

Additional celebrated titles include The Castle by Martín Benchimol, which pitched at IDFA Forum and workshopped at IDFA Project Space. Both Paul B. Preciado’s Orlando, My Political Biography and Anna Hints’s Smoke Sauna Sisterhood are European productions that pitched at IDFA Forum that won critical acclaim at major festivals this yea