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IDFA International Documentary Festival Amsterdam


The 23rd edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the world's largest and most prestigious film event devoted exclusively to non-fiction film and media, will run from 17 - 28 November in the city of Amsterdam.


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Dutch Documentary Opens 23rd IDFA

 

All eyes are turning to Amsterdam starting today when the the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the largest and most prestigious non-fiction media event in the world, kicks off its 23rd edition. The Festival, which will show nearly 250 films over 11 days, opens with the Dutch documentary POSITION AMONG THE STARS by veteran director Leonard Retel Helmrich. The film, which also competes in the IDFA Competition for Feature Length Documentary, will have its premiere screening at the historic Pathé Tuschinski Cinema, a beautiful art nouveau movie palace off Rembrandstplein.

POSITION AMONG THE STARS is the third film in a trilogy exploring contemporary Indonesia, as seen through the microcosm of the Christian/Islamic Sjamsuddin family . Through this intimate look at the ups and downs of family life, director Helmrich gives us a piercing look at the go-go economic progress of modern Indonesia, where the gap between rich and poor has become so vast that social tensions threaten to undo the progress made over the past few decades.

 

Religious tension in the world's biggest Islamic slate also is analyzed. As Indonesian clerics are calling for the introduction of Sharia law, the aspirations of the family's daughter to transcend stereotypes and become the first in their family to go to university reveals the tension between the traditional role of women as wives and mothers and the newly rebellious younger generation that desires a fuller life and more independence. The tension this creates is a pointed reminder that change comes both slowly and rapidly in modern Asia and that economic prosperity does not necessary translate into great freedom.

 

Retel Helmrich, who was born in Tilburg, decided 20 years ago to visit the country of his parents’ birth, Indonesia, in search of inspiration. He was so fascinated by that country that Indonesia quickly formed the backdrop to his next documentaries. THE EYE OF THE DAY (2002) and SHAPE OF THE MOON (2004) both of which were screened at IDFA, introduced audiences to the Sjamsuddin family and with this trilogy, charts the story  of modern-day Indonesia and Asia through the intimate profiles of one representative clan.

The Festival will present a stimulating program of the best new non-fiction films from around the globe, as well as professional sidebars where film producers can network with buyers, programmers and television exectives. I will be on the scene starting next week and will report on the excitement of the Festival and the current challenges facing the world documentary industry. For more information, visit: www.idfa.nlStay tuned......

 

Sandy Mandelberger, IDFA Dailies Editor

 

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