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My experience at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) !

If you are into visual ethnography, IDFA, the largest international documentary film festival in the world, that is hosted in Amsterdam cinemas every year, is definitely a place to visit in November. I was lucky to join the festival as a theatre crew volunteer at Pathé De Munt.

IDFA not only brings a unique opportunity to see the latest documentaries from all over the world, but you can also talk to directors and the crew members, as they are mostly present at the premiere and willing to answer viewers questions after the screening.

The film I went to see first was much anticipated Canuto’s transformation, directed by Ariel Kuaray Ortega and Ernesto de Carvalho from Brazil. Ariel himself is one of the directors, a narrator, and an actor in this artfully created documentary, set in a small indigenous Mbyá-Guaraní community. Ariel returns to his grandfather’s village to make a movie about local man named Canuto, who, according to the local folklore, turned into the jaguar. He wants to recreate past events, conveying Canuto’s feelings and his transformation process.

Villagers agree to play different parts in Ariel’s movie. A local boy and adult from the community were to embody Canuto. However, narrative appears to be so fluid, that the line between folklore and reality is slowly vanishing, and people on the screen are in a constant process of change. Tender and profound, documentary slowly unveiling the life of Ariel’s grandfather and colonial history of the village.

Last week Canuto’s transformation took two IDFA awards – Best Film and Outstanding Artistic Contribution in the Envision Competition, and I would recommend watching it to everyone who is interested in visual representation and documentary storytelling.


Katia A.

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