IDFA PARADOCS Special Program

FRIDAY / December 13th / ELVIRA POPESCU CINEMA / 8:00pm / With the support of:          



INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL AMSTERDAM (IDFA) is one of the largest documentary festivals in the world. An exciting meeting place for documentary directors, producers, buyers, financiers and audiences alike.  Every year since 1988, over 300 international documentaries are screened alongside an extensive off-screen programme.




Besides the festival, IDFA hosts the prominent co-financing market for documentaries, the FORUM, the (online) market for new documentaries Docs for Sale and various other industry events such as the IDFAcademy. Throughout the year, IDFA supports filmmakers from developing countries with its IDFA Fund (formerly known as Jan Vrijman Fund) and organises activities aimed at both documentary professionals and audiences. These include the theatrical tour Best of IDFA, a DVD label, online documentary channel IDFAtv and several workshops. This year IDFA celebrates its 26th edition from November 20th to December 1st.


PARADOCS is IDFA’s platform for showing experimental documentaries and video art. It’s open to everything that can be shown in a cinema and is related to the representation of reality. Besides being a film program, it is also part of the exhibition Expanding Documentary - in collaboration with the Brakke Grond and IDFA DocLab. This exhibition contains a.o. (video) installations, photography, theater and performances related to documentary or representation of reality.


curated by:

JOOST DAAMEN / Film Programmer, IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam


Joost Daamen has studied Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam. In 2005 he joined IDFA’s Program Department. Since 2007 he is the programmer for the experimental film section at IDFA, PARADOCS. He’s also a member of the advisory committee for the competition programmes and works as a researcher for archive programmes.

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A STORY FOR THE MODLINS (26', Spain, 2012)


At the border between fiction and documentary, A STORY FOR THE MODLINS, the audience sweetheart and winner of the Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand 2012, tells the eccentric and touching story of Elmer Modlin. You probably never heard of him and it’s no wonder – the climax of his acting career was a few seconds as an extra in Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. His creative life full of frustrations, amounting to a heap of photos, letters and videotapes left in the dumpster, accidentally lands in the hands of OKSMAN, who pieces them together to reconstruct his story. An impressive sample of creative repurposing of found footage, the film reveals human life as a concoction of chance, passion and hard work in unknown proportions, with questions of destiny and free-will inevitably arising.

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EMPIRE: MIGRANTS (22', The Netherlands, 2012)


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Part of a larger cross-media research project in progress, EMPIRE: MIGRANTS is an experimental documentary that explores, through a multi-split screen, the controversial historical time frame of colonialism and slave trade, which have influenced the present lives of some communities from Ghana, Suriname and Brazil. A nuanced visual essay on the relation between ethnicity, uprooting and relocating, that brings together contradictory perspectives on the effects of Dutch colonialism. Positively reviewed by magazines such as Variety or VICE, the film is a provocative mix of documentary, visual art and journalism. (Andreea Mihalcea, BIEFF 2013)

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N'ÊTRE (12', The Netherlands, 2012)

Director: OLFA BEN ALI

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World premiered at IDFA Paradocs 2012, N’ÊTRE is a stylistic experiment on the border between documentary and personal diary. OLFA BEN ALI revisits with warmth and poetic sensibility her childhood neighborhood from Toulouse. By blending contrasting images of a grey overcrowded apartment block, with affectionate recorded conversations with her mother, she takes up the challenge of speaking about ethnic and individual identity. “Our idea of home might be nothing more than a cherished memory, and even though we always feel it flowing inside us, trying to define it is like catching a flame. Olfa Ben Ali probably described it best in her film: Childhood is like the air in a bubble of strawberry flavored bubble gum.” (Max Urai, Impakt Film Festival 2012)

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ORDER OF SERVICE (9', The Netherlands, 2012)

Director: HENK OTTE

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Growing up in the bosom of the Reformed Church, a rigid environment with a clearly-defined, inflexible idea about life and how it should to be lived, with the unsettling ORDER OF SERVICE, HENK OTTE seems to try to exorcise the traces left by this past. World premiered at IDFA PARADOCS, this film is a split screen compilation of nine different religious ceremonies projected simultaneously. This collage of hypnotic synchronicity becomes a strange automated “choreography”, the gestures and intonation of the priests being repeated with mechanical precision. Even if it loses its immediate meaning, the ritual has a powerful subconscious effect, creating a visceral sensation of rigidity and mortification. (Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF 2013)

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THE WAVE (20', Belgium, 2012)


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Screened at Locarno and IDFA Paradocs, THE WAVE sets in motion the archaeological gaze of the viewer: a mass grave from the Spanish Civil War opens and closes itself, unraveling a macabre secret. Consisting in 9000 photos and time-lapse recordings, this experimental documentary calls for the collective remembrance of fascist 20th century mass executions. A camera placed above the grave captures the progressive discoveries of an unseen archaeological crew. In the middle of a wasteland, human remains appear, then mysteriously disappear, as if blown by a strong wind, that removed the sand and uncovered death.