The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam IDFA is the largest and one of the most important documentary film festivals in the world. Every year, it attracts almost 250 000 viewers, is visited by over three thousand people from the most important organisations in the documentary film industry, and the films shown at IDFA are often festival favourites later on. This year, IDFA is held from November 15 to 26, but the festival awards were presented on November 22.
A strong representation of Polish documentary films was invited to the festival, five of them was in the competition, and during the closing ceremony, two Polish productions won the awards.
The film directed by Klaudiusz Chrostowski "Call Me Tony" won the ARRI IDFA Award for the Best Film in the Student Film Competition. The documentary tells about Konrad, an 18-year-old bodybuilder who wants to be an actor desperately fights for his absent father's attention. Konrad lives in a small mining town in southern Poland. In his attempts to get noticed he looks up to his favorite action movie heroes, spends hours on the gym and signs up for a body building competition.An inner conflict between who he is and who he thinks he should be to get people's acceptance soon leads to a depression.His life changes after he revisits his childhood passion for acting.Will he find his own way? It had its international première at DOK Leipzig Festival.
The documentary film "Zhalanash – Empty Shore" directed by Marcin Sauter, received the IDFA Award for Best Short Documentary. It is only the third competition screening of the film and already the third award. The film had its world première at Krakow Film Festival, where it won the Award of the Polish Filmmakers Association for best editing. Marcin Sauter's fim also received the Golden Frog Award for best cinematography in short documentary film at Camerimage Festival on Saturday. Eponymous Zhalanash is a port city over the Aral Sea. This place between a great water and a vast desert which used to be a prosperous link of the Soviet economy is just a shadow of its former glory today. In Marcin Sauter’s film, Zhalanash is not only about evocative landscape, but, above all, about the fates of people who invested their hopes and expectations into the place between the sea and the desert and now ponder over their solitude among the wrecks of ships and port cranes.
The full list of award-winning films is on the website of the festival IDFA.