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Gianfranco Rosi is the Guest of Honor at IDFA 2020 

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is honoring Italian director Gianfranco Rosi : its Guest of Honor for the 2020 edition: 

Rosi is the only filmmaker to win top awards at two A-list festivals with documentary films, the Golden Lion at Venice with Sacro GRA in 2013 and the Golden Bear at the Berlinale with Fire at Sea in 2016.

Rosi's work will be in the spotlight at IDFA, including his new film Notturno, which premieres in competition at Venice this week. It is the result of the three-year journey that he took to the borders of Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Lebanon.


Rosi is one of the few filmmakers who has found the way to balance accessibility and commercial success with a highly demanding artistic language, and as such is a key figure in the “Golden Age of Documentary” that we are living in. Although he made only six films, his approach resulted in masterpieces that provide a unique view of society. His camera shows us how people experience their world and allows us to forget ours. Standing on the side lines of events, he observes them and does not go into polemics or explanations, but his deeply humane point of view remains clear through his unique documentary method.

IDFA's Artistic Director Orwa Nyrabia says: "Rosi handles every shot like a jeweler would treat a unique pearl, with great care, patience, and with utmost respect, like a sacred object. Then he puts his pearls into a hidden thread, he keeps on examining the way they are ordered, the dialogue between each one of them and the others. What we see in the end is a film, a creature that seems so coherent you cannot see the thread anymore, you cannot imagine that a complex matrix of artistic choices was behind what you see, you even have to think: did he just find the film somewhere? Has it always been there, this way, on its own?"

Rosi's retrospective at IDFA consists of the following films: Boatman (1993), Below Sea Level (2008), El SicarioRoom 164  (2010), Sacro GRA (2013), Fire at Sea (2016), and Notturno (2020). In addition to the retrospective, IDFA will present a Top 10 of Rosi's favorite films.

IDFA this year 

From November 18 to December 6, IDFA celebrates documentary cinema in Amsterdam, online, and in over 40 theaters throughout the Netherlands. As theaters are currently closed for two weeks, IDFA will resume in-person screenings from November 19, when theaters reopen.

General ticket sales for audiences begin Thursday, November 12 at 09:00. Check out our program here.

Every year, our festival program showcases the latest work by beloved documentary filmmakers, reviews the past year's festival hits, presents focus programs with social or artistic urgency, and much more. There's lots to see and do! For IDFA's competitions, click here.



The 18 films selected for the non-competitive section Frontlight encourage a deeper understanding of the world today, examining the zeitgeist from lesser-heard perspectives.

See the selection


What does it feel like to be alive today? The 20 films selected for the non-competitive section Luminous answer this question from a kaleidoscope of perspectives and shifting certainties.

See the selection

IDFA on Stage

As part of the do {not} touch program, the non-competitive program section IDFA on Stage offers, for the first time, a combination of live events in Amsterdam and online.

See the selection


In the Paradocs section, IDFA showcases 11 of the year’s best experimental documentary artworks. Pushing time to its cinematic limits. Peeling back layers of representation. These films will make you question what you’re really seeing.


See the selection

IDFA DocLab Spotlight

Part of IDFA's new media program, IDFA DocLab Spotlight offers a selection of documentary art across disciplines by masters and new talents, as well as special research projects. Presented in 2020 as part of the do {not} touch program.

See the selection


In the Masters section, IDFA selects titles from today’s auteurs of documentary cinema, whose renowned names and careers never disappoint.

See the selection

Best of Fests

Striking documentary films from the international festival circuit are central to Best of Fests. The program showcases prize-winners, public favorites, and high-profile titles from the past year.

See the selection



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