12 November 2023
With much respect and with openness and readiness to learn and be self-critical, we have received, read, and discussed various statements and messages from various respected groups and individuals, filmmakers, artists, and culture workers, as well as members of our staff, audience and partners, all addressing our recent statement with regards to the events of the opening night of IDFA 2023. We are grateful to everybody who reached out, and who expressed concern for IDFA, its values, and its soul. We want to iterate that IDFA is, and remains to be, an open and inclusive space for freedom of expression, for difficult discussions to take place seriously and respectfully, through and around documentary film and art.
The last month has seen a huge scale of violence, and a grave humanitarian crisis. Many filmmakers, Palestinians, Israelis, and others, whose work featured at IDFA over the years, showed the world how occupation is the core of this tragedy, and that ending the occupation and respecting all human lives as equal and sacred, are the essential steps. We repeat our call for an immediate ceasefire, and for an opening of borders to allow for desperately needed humanitarian aid to civilian populations. As repeated by IDFA over the past four weeks, we stand behind all the documentary filmmakers of the world, and behind all the films shown, discussed, and awarded at IDFA over the years. These are films that stand against injustice, that defend a better world, a world without occupation, without colonialism, without segregation, without war. These films told us repeatedly that violence breeds violence. That these cycles of destruction cannot be broken without acknowledging that we are all equal, that all lives are sacred, and that the ability to engage in serious dialogue is the only path we know towards sustainable peace, no matter how difficult it gets.
Lastly, we understand that the slogan that is at the heart of the on-going discussion is used by various parties in different ways and is perceived by various people in various manners. We are not ignoring, undermining nor criminalizing any of these positions and we fully respect and acknowledge the pain that is going around and the extreme urgency of these discussions while war is still on, and innocent civilians are still dying. IDFA is about giving the stage to outstanding artists to be critical and free. IDFA is an open platform and not a censor. Our aim is to make sure everybody feels welcome and safe to express themselves and to listen openly to others, even when in disagreement. Our hope is that everybody feels entitled to use this platform, seriously and responsibly, lovingly and sincerely.