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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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Strong Sales Noted At IDFA

 

Despite the lingering economic doldrums that have hit the film industry (and the world at large) in the past few years, the sales environment at IDFA: the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, has been remarkably strong. That is the assessment of the market sidebar here, Docs For Sale, which ran until yesterday.  The sidebar hosts the screenings of market-invitation films, including those screening in the Festival and others presented by their sales agents, producers or governmental agency. In all, nearly 450 films were presented to the assembled buyers, financiers and festival programmers. The number of buyers and programmers is also up, with 270 professionals registered (last year the number was 240), made up of 90 buyers, 81 sales agents and nearly 100 festival programmers and market reps. “What with this whole crisis, you never know what is going to happen”, Head of Industry Office Adriek Van Niewenhuyzen was quoted as saying in the IDFA printed dailies. “But it has been surprisingly lively and there seems to renewed interest from buyers who have been a little more modest in the past few years.”  The increase in sales activity is perhaps a reflection of the easing of the economic crisis, the growing interest in documentaries in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America and the reliance, the development of online platforms and, particularly in television, the success and economic incentives of reality-based series. 

A key innovation at Docs For Sale this year was the initiative to put the films available online prior to the start of the Festival, giving buyers and programmers a “first look” before even coming to Amsterdam. The online service generated high levels of pre-screening volume since it was available on November 8. Not only does this give buyers a head start in determining which product is right for them but also allows buyers and programmers are not physically attending an opportunity to sample what is available.

 

While the main focus was on networking meetings and setting up an environment for professionals to interact, Docs For Sale also presented several information booths and industry-only screenings.  The Industry Office organized a series of relevant seminars and industry panel that took a hard look at the challenges of the moment and the opportunities that offer promise for the future. New media is obviously on everyone’s lips, soo a good number of the subjects focused on video-on-demand platforms and the complicated arena of rights management. New media companies, along with traditional television and theatrical buyers, made a strong showing this year, including Indiemoviesonline.com, Snagfilms, Epix and The Film Collaborative. These efforts will allow the excellent films on display here to eventually find their ways to audiences outside of Amsterdam or strictly on the festival circuit.

Sandy Mandelberger, IDFA Dailies Editor

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