The IDFA countdown is on: Europe's largest documentary festival will be opening its doors in Amsterdam in just a few days' time and offering a major international platform for no less than 28 productions with German involvement. Eight of them are prominently featured in the competition sections of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (15 – 26 November 2017), four of these being with a solely German production or one with majority German producer.

Talal Derki is no stranger to the important film festivals of the world. In 2013, his film RETURN TO HOMS was shown in IDFA's Competition of Feature-Length Documentary and won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize of the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2014. Later that year, he was a member of the International Jury at IDFA. This year, the director who was born in Syria and lives in Berlin, is returning with the world premiere of his new documentary OF FATHERS AND SONS (DE/SY, Basis Berlin, Ventana Film- und Fernsehproduktion) to the Competition for Feature-Length Documentary: OF FATHERS AND SONS saw Talal Derki spend two years following the lives of an extended family in the Syrian civil war. The head of the family is a high-ranking general of the Islamist al-Nusra brigades, who dreams of a caliphate and wants his sons to follow in his footsteps.

The IDFA Competition for First Appearance, which presents young documentary talents, will be featuring the world premiere of YVES' PROMISE (Stoked Film, m-eilenweit film). Melanie Gärtner's first feature-length film is about leaving and staying, staggering and standing up again, about the sweetness of being loved and the bitterness of unfulfilled expectations. Frustrated by a corrupt system, Yves leaves his home in Cameroon to try his luck in Europe. But the journey there is more difficult than expected. He has been on the road for eight years - and is in danger of failing. Meanwhile, back home are all the people who mean something to him and hope that he will at last change the family's destiny for the better.

Another two films by young talents from Germany were invited to screen in the IDFA Competition for Student Documentaries. Alexandra Wesolowski uses a family gathering as the occasion in IMPREZA - THE CELEBRATION (Dreifilm, HFF Munich), her graduation film from film school HFF Munich, to portray her own family, offering particularly interesting insights into Polish society as well as contemporary European right-wing populism.

The HFF Munich is also home for the short documentary FIND FIX FINISH by Mila Zhluktenko and Sylvain Cruiziat, which has already clocked up several international festival invitations and prizes at Visions du Reel, San Sebastian and Guanajuato, among others. Filmed from a bird's eye view, it delves into the accounts of three US military drone pilots who describe the military routine without any emotion, but also speak about the intimate relationship they have built up with those victims under observation for days and sometimes months.

The up-and-coming generation of filmmakers will be joined in Amsterdam by established German names such as Philip Gröning, Werner Herzog or Wim Wenders as well as films with very successful festival careers like BEUYS, WATANI – MY HOMELAND or THE POETESS screening in other sections.

All of the German films and co-productions at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2017…

Bernhard Simek (Documentary Film)
Birgit Koch (Press & PR)