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IDFA Announces Nominees for Competition Programs: Enemies of the People and Last Train Home Up For Festival Award

Published by Stacy Piersiak

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The 22nd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) announced the nominees for its competition programs on November 25. Winners will be announced on November 27 during the closing ceremony, held at the festival’s beautiful art-deco base, the Pathé Tuschinski movie theater.

IDFA presents awards in seven categories. These are:

  • Feature-Length Documentary – films longer than 60 minutes;
  • Mid-Length Documentary – films up to 60 minutes;
  • Short Documentary – films up to 30 minutes;
  • First Appearance;
  • Dutch Documentary;
  • Student Documentary;
  • Doc U! – an award presented by a young jury of 15 to 18 year olds;
  • Festivalgoers can also vote for the winner of the Audience Award.

Feature-Length Documentary

The nominees in this category are Enemies of the People, an impressive long-term project by British director and producer Rob Lemkin and Cambodian journalist Thet Sambeth to find people involved in the Khmer Rouge’s killing machine in the 1970s, including Pol Pot’s right-hand man, Nuon Chea, and to admit to talk about the multiple murders they committed on camera.

Also nominated is Last Train Home (Lixin Fan) and The Player by Dutch director John Appel about his father’s gambling addiction.

Mid-Length and Short Documentaries

Films nominated in the mid-length category are Girls On the Air (Valentina Monti)and The Accidental Terrorist (Miki Mistrati and Nagieb Khaja). Also nominated is Iron Crows, Bong-Nam Park’s visually stunning portrait of ship breakers in Bangladesh who, despite their often fatal working conditions and grinding poverty, display a camaraderie and humor that is truly admirable.

The short docs up for an award are Albert’s Winter (Andreas Koefoed), Six Weeks (Marcin Janos Krawczyk) and Mum (Adelheid Roosen), the filmmaker’s touching attempt to portray, and in so doing understand, her mother’s Alzheimer’s.

First Appearance

Somewhat confusingly, this award is presented to the best first or second film. Nominees in the running for this award are Garbo: The Spy (Edmon Roch), an espionage film that, in the same vein as War Games and the Man Who Stopped Them, IDFA’s opening film, recounts the tale of Spaniard Joan Pujol Garcia who spied for both Germany and Britain during the Second World War; Talhotblond (Barbara Schroeder), a disturbing look at online identities and internet romance, and Colony (Ross McDonnell and Carter Gunn). This movie about bees and their importance for agriculture was also included in Green Screen, IDFA’s environmental and globalization program.

Dutch Documentary

For the first time, all Dutch premieres from the fest’s various competition programs have the chance to compete for the Dutch Documentary Award. On the shortlist are The Player, also up for the feature-length award, The Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island (Suzanne Raes) and Farewell (Ditteke Mensink), a movie based on archive footage about the Graf Zeppelin’s first around-the-world flight and Lady Grace Hay, the only woman onboard.

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