IDFA 2019: The Best Documentaries

Dec. 31, 2019

Another edition of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam has come to an end, which has been an important outcome for stories told by and for women. Guidedoc lists the big winners of this year´s edition of the most important documentary film festival in the world. 

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Best Documentary: In A Whisper by Heidi Hassan and Patricia Pérez Fernández


The video correspondences of Heidi and Patricia, two Cuban women who emigrated to Switzerland and Spain respectively in the 1980s, spin the narrative of this intimate documentary about friendship and uprooting. After not seeing each other for several years since leaving the island, both filmmakers recover the medium that united them in the past, cinema, to reflect on their lives and what remains of them on the other side of the Atlantic.


Best First Appearance: Solidarity by Lucy Parker


Loyal to its political nature that has characterized IDFA throughout its history, a title like Solidarity could not be missing in this list. The documentary shows the work of the Blacklist Support Group, which helps blacklisted victims that are banned from the construction industry in Britain. Many of these workers have committed suicide because they appear on these lists, which has been a recent scandal in this country.


Audience Winner: For Sama by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts


Returning to the line of cinematic correspondences, this time director Waad al-Kateab sends filmed letters from the center of the hurricane: Aleppo, the most dangerous city in the war in Syria. The filmmaker's mission is to collect the rough life she carries in her day to day among the ruins of the city so that her little daughter knows the her mother’s reality.


Best Directing: Sunless Shadows by Mehrdad Oskouei


The lives of young women in a female detention center in Iran get some light through this documentary. The film focuses on young women who were convicted of killing their father, their husband or another male member of their family. A close, respectful and intimate approach with these young women allows them to tell us the reasons for their decisions and the consequences they now face.


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