The International Documentary Festival Amsterdam - IDFA opens this November, with nine films supported by AFAC - of which four will hold their world premiere at the festival - featuring in its lineup. All nine films attest to the power of the camera in documenting conflicts, whether personal, social or political, yet at the same time, its power in bringing people closer together.
Premiering in the festival’s Frontlight section are two films: “2G” and “Donga”. “2G”, a documentary film by Algerian director Karim Sayad, tells the story of four former smugglers who are looking for new work after the government cracks down on the migrant routes between Libya and Niger. The protagonists decide to embark on a journey through the Sahara to join dozens of gold diggers lost in the middle of the desert. “Donga”, by Libyan director Muhannad Lamine, is the story of a fighter in the center of the Libyan conflict who carries a camera as his weapon of choice. Growing up under a dictatorship where history is monopolized by Gaddafi's glory, Donga decides to film everything, covering the war and everyday life up until the last moments of the regime.
The Best of Fests section of the festival showcases four other films: “Bye Bye Tiberias” by Lina Soualem from Palestine, an intimate documentary about four generations of women and their shared legacy of separation; “Machtat” by Sonia Ben Slama from Tunisia, which depicts the complex and painful reality of Fatma and her daughters, Najah and Wafa, who work as "machtat" (traditional musicians who play at wedding ceremonies); “The Mother of All Lies” by Asmae El Moudir, which presents a Moroccan woman's search for truth tangles within a web of lies in her family history; and “Three Promises” by Yousef Srouji from Palestine, one family’s journey through crisis, seen through the intimate filmmaking of a mother and her son.
In the Corresponding Cinemas section, we have “Capital” by Basma al-Sharif from Palestine, an offbeat satirical short focused on the rise of fascism in Egypt.
Two other films will hold their world premieres at the festival: premiering in the Luminous section is Mohamad Sabah and Danielle Davies’ film “Embodied Chorus” (Lebanon), a brave open cinematic conversation about the experience of sexually transmitted infections. Finally, Yaser Kassab’s “Chasing the Dazzling Light” (Syria) will premiere in the Envision section. After Yaser learns that his father has an unfulfilled dream of becoming a filmmaker, he decides to make a joint film with his father that challenges the distance that separates their countries of residence—Sweden and Syria. “Chasing the Dazzling Light” thus becomes a place where family members meet.
Another AFAC-supported film will participate in the festival’s industry section, IDFA Forum: “Son of the Streets” by Mohammed Almughanni from Palestine. The film tells the story of Khodor, a 13 year-old boy whose family tries to issue him an ID document that proves his existence and gives him the right to education, healthcare and movement outside of the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila in Beirut, Lebanon. Throughout the process, many of the family’s old secrets are revealed.
For more information and the schedule of screenings, visit the festival’s website.