14-24 nov 2024
IDFA 2023
Competitions and other sections

Competitions and other sections

IDFA's competitions and non-competitive programs offer something for all filmmakers and film enthusiasts.

IDFA's program elements reflect the documentary world, which is constantly changing. From new art forms to established film traditions: our competitions and non-competitive programs offer something for all filmmakers and film enthusiasts.

International Competition

The International Competition presents a selection of unique, balanced films that appeal to wide audiences and have their international or world premieres at IDFA.

Envision Competition

The focus of the Envision Competition is on films (world and international premieres) with a more daring form, where makers approach reality from a different angle and seek out the furthest boundaries of documentary art.

The Envision Competition is supported by Ammodo.

IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

The IDFA Competition for Short Documentary has grown in both strength and diversity in recent years. It is not only young filmmakers who are turning in short films; experienced makers are also showing that the short documentary is far more than a stepping-stone towards a feature-length film.

IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary

The IDFA Competition for Youth Competition presents world-class films that redefine the youth documentary genre. For the first time, these titles are now being divided across two age groups: 9 to 12 years and 13 years and older.

IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction

The IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction showcases works in which the artistic potential of new technologies is utilised to the full to tell stories.

IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling

IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling proves that making and telling stories that have something to say about our times can be done in an infinite number of ways.


The Luminous section shines a light on timeless films that illuminate the beauty of human relationships, expression and empathy from different perspectives.


The Frontlight section offers a greater understanding of our world and probes the zeitgeist from an artistic point of view.

IDFA on Stage

The IDFA on Stage program explores the space between documentary film and the performing arts. Read more about it here.

IDFA DocLab Spotlight

The IDFA DocLab Spotlight program demonstrates that documentary art encompasses the most wide-ranging disciplines. This program consists of (research) projects by both established names and surprising new talent.


The Paradocs section is a platform for the best in experimental documentary art of the moment.

Best of Fests

Best of Fests brings together the most striking documentaries from the international festival circuit, featuring award winners, audience favorites, and buzz-generating titles from the past year.


Signed features the latest films by the most interesting contemporary filmmakers whose filmographies we highly appreciate, and for whose work we wait with excitement.


A tribute to the festival's annual Guest of Honor through a celebration of their oeuvre. This year, IDFA presents Retrospective programs by the festival's Guest of Honor Wang Bing and the recipient of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award Peter Greenaway.

Top 10

Every year, a filmmaker or an artist compiles a personal Top 10 of films and works for IDFA. This year, Guest of Honor Wang Bing selected ten titles that take us on a journey through contemporary Chinese cinema.

Focus Program: 16 Worlds on 16

This year's Focus Program 16 Worlds on 16 explores how 16mm has influenced the history of documentary film, looking back 100 years since Kodak introduced the film format.

Focus Program: Fabrications

This year's Focus Program Fabrications investigates the promise of truth often associated with documentaries and to what extent our realities inform our fictions, and vice versa. 

Corresponding Cinemas

Corresponding Cinemas is a series of films and conversations that focuses on interconnections and creative influences between filmmakers.