IDFA 2020: First competitions announced alongside selections for Luminous, Frontlight, IDFA on Stage


Today, IDFA is delighted to announce the films selected for the Dutch, short, student, and young audience competitions, as well as for the non-competitive sections Luminous, Frontlight, and IDFA on Stage. A total of 90 films and performances have now been added to the festival program, in an expansive selection that introduces the filmmakers and artists of the future and celebrates those who define our present moment.

IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary

Eight world premieres make up the IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary, with titles from both emerging filmmakers and masters of documentary cinema. Together, the selection reveals sincere, curious, and humanist views between the filmmakers and their subjects, whether close to home or across the world. Reimagining the environment, questioning death, finding resistance in music, and trying to decolonize art in Africa: Today’s leading Dutch filmmakers approach our social, political reality through individual stories and ambitious visual language. The result is a diverse set of perspectives on existence and existentialism.

IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

12 titles are selected for the IDFA Competition for Short Documentary, exhibiting ambitious approaches to filmmaking and the utmost respect for the short documentary format. Several films are very personal and outspoken in nature, while others quietly abstain from commentary in order to invite new interpretations of the themes. Collectively, the selection is a reminder of how much artistry can be expressed in just a few minutes—it is an ode to duration, even in the shortest form.

IDFA Competition for Student Documentary

The 11 titles selected for the student competition raise the bar of student filmmaking, illustrating focused, conscious intentions behind every shot. Traveling hundreds of meters underground and to the darkest corners of the human mind, these young filmmakers are asserting who they want to be, offering glimpses of brilliance in the process. Ten world premieres, a strong majority of female filmmakers, and lengths ranging from 12 to 95 minutes reveal an entire spectrum of young perspectives that explore new conceptions of visual language, identity, and home.

IDFA Competition for Kids & Docs

With 13 titles from a wide range of countries, the Kids & Docs competition invites young audiences to discover the art of documentary film. Difficult subject matter and vast artistic expression are the cornerstones of this selection, which caters to both preteens and young adults for the first time. Shorts, feature-length films, and virtual reality all find a home in the selection, broadening the horizons of what a documentary can be. Collectively the titles speak loud and clear: Imaginative young audiences are to be taken seriously.

IDFA’s competition program is supported by Ammodo.


What does it feel like to be alive today? The 20 films selected for the non-competitive section Luminous answer this question from a kaleidoscope of perspectives and shifting certainties. All of them give cause to pause and reflect, prompting audiences to consider lives that aren’t their own.


The 17 films selected for the non-competitive section Frontlight encourage a deeper understanding of the world today, examining the zeitgeist from lesser-heard perspectives. Highlights include Wuhan by Yung Chang and Gong Cheng witnesses the titular city during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IDFA on Stage

The creative challenges of 2020 have blurred the boundaries between film, new media, and the performing arts, bringing the IDFA on Stage and IDFA DocLab sections together for the special program do {not} touch. This collaborative program, unique to this year, revolves around the pillars Exhibition, Immersive, and On Stage.

As part of the do {not} touch program, the non-competitive program section IDFA on Stage offers, for the first time, a combination of live events in Amsterdam and online. Much of the selection features work by artists who have taken the pandemic as a creative challenge, surprising us with new cinematic formats.

IDFA on Stage is supported by Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Zabawas Foundation.

IDFA 2020 runs in Amsterdam venues and online from Nov 18 until Dec 6, in addition to online markets (November 16 to 20).



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