The conflict in Afghanistan as seen through the eyes of the civilians, an illiterate Jordanian woman learns how to make solar panels, a musical journey to the desolate archipelago of Svalbard – a few of the stories heading for the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam 2012, which celebrates its 25th anniversary as the world's leading documentary film festival dedicated to creative documentaries.
Watch out for nine Danish titles
My Afghanistan by Nagieb Khaja is selected for the Feature-length Competition. Disenchanted by western media's depiction of the war in Afghanistan, director and journalist Khaja decided to give mobile cameras to a group of Afghan civilians and let them film their own lives, giving us glimpses of their dreams, hopes and fears in the midst of a war zone.
Also in the feature-length competition is Solar Mamas, one of the films in the international Why Poverty? project, a ground-breaking documentary and cross-media event which will receive special focus during IDFA. "Solar Mamas", produced by Mette Heide of Plus Pictures and directed by Egyptian-American Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief, is one of the eight titles in the series which speaks of global poverty through human stories – like Rafea in "Solar Mamas", who lives in a poor Bedouin village in Jordan and gets an offer to go to India and learn how to install solar panels. The Danish Film Institute has supported all eight films in the series, which also includes another Danish production, Christoffer Guldbrandsen's Stealing Africa.
Katrine Kjær's Mercy, Mercy, a strong contribution to the debate about adoptions from third world countries, is competing in First Appearance, where it will be joined by Katrine Philp's Dance for Me, a story about young Egor from Russia who leaves his mother to pursue a promising career as professional dancer in Denmark.
Mikala Krogh, a member of the prolific Danish Documentary production company, is selected for the Mid-length Competion with A Normal Life documenting a mother's struggle to maintain a normal life for her family of three daughters, including Cecilie who has had cancer since she was 2. Ghost of Piramida by Andreas Koefoed is running in the Music Documentary Competition. Koefoed is in Amsterdam for the fifth year running with a film featuring Danish band Efterklang investigating the melancholy aura of Piramida, an abandoned Russian mining town on the archipelago of Svalbard and also the title of the band's latest album.
Finally, in the non-competitive Reflecting Images sections, The Record Breaker by Brian McGinn will be showcased in Panorama, and Free the Mind by IDFA veteran Phie Ambo in Masters.
Leth in Amsterdam
Festival audiences will also get the chance to experience one of Denmark's distinguished documentary filmmakers, Jørgen Leth, who is also a renowned poet and sports commentator. Leth is showing a series of installations during the festival.
Visit our festival website where you will find material on the Danish documentaries at IDFA. More information will be added as it becomes available.