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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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2005 IDFA Award Winner To Become A Feature Film

Helen Mirren at New York Film Festival

Monday, November 20----The London Observer has reported that the documentary film THE ANGELMAKERS, which won the Silver Wolf Award at the 2005 IDFA for Dutch director Astrid Bussink, will be made into a feature film starring Helen Mirren and John Hurt. The film will be a fictionalized version of the gripping short documentary, which investigated the story of the mysterious killing by hundreds of women of their husbands in a small Hungarian village in the chaotic months following the first World War.

The little known story of wifely revenge came to prominence last year when THE ANGELMAKERS became an audience sensation at last year's IDFA. The director Astrid Bussink spent four months in the village investigating claims that, after the First World War, an epidemic of poisoning claimed the lives of men who had recently returned to their wives from the trenches. The spouses were the suspected culprits.

"Angelmaker" was the name given to the village midwife, Zsuzsanna Fazekas, who supplied the women with arsenic. The moniker was originally a euphemism for her part-time trade of administering abortions. According to a BBC report in 2004, when village women complained about their drunken or violent husbands, Fazekas frankly told them: "If there's a problem with him, I have a simple solution." The film's debut director, disclosed that she "had a hard time getting people to talk, but what struck us was that the older women were very easy about the crimes; they did not talk about them as if they were serious. The men were in the way."

The updated, fictionalised version of the story will see the women of a Yorkshire farming community take the place of the Hungarian villagers. They turn murderous when their British husbands return from the trenches to discover their places have been taken by German prisoners of war. The film, which is slated to be released in late 2007, is directed by Jon Amiel, best known for his films QUEEN OF HEARTS (1989), SOMMERSBY (1993) and COPYCAT (1995).

Jon Amiel

Amiel's last film THE CORE (2003) was a science fiction epic starring Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci and Delroy Lindo. THE ANGELMAKERS has suddently become a high profile project, since its star Helen Mirren is currently the frontrunner for this year's Academy Award as Best Actress for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Frear's well-received hit THE QUEEN.


Sandy Mandelberger
Festival Online Dailies Editor

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