IDFA 2018: IDFA Competition for Kids & Docs
17 November 2018
IDFA Kids & Docs Head of Education Meike Statema gives an overview of the four Dutch docs in this year's competition.
In the summer of 1975 Dutch conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader cast off in a micro sailboat in a bid to become the first person to cross the North Atlantic single-handedly in such a small craft. He never arrived.
Martijn Blekendaal's multi-layered work The Man Who Looked Beyond The Horizon explores the man behind this seemingly failed quest, looking at his conceptual artwork, which included several short films built around impossible Jackass style stunts, and his insatiable desire to push boundaries and achieve the impossible.
Blekendaal conceived the work with a youth audience in mind from the start, even though, unusually for a documentary targeted at this demographic, the protagonist is an adult. "I'm particularly pleased to be showing this work at Kids & Docs. It's a project we've been following from early on. I love the way it looks at the act of trying to break down boundaries and pushing beyond the realms of possibility, to achieve the impossible... I think it has a lot to say to younger audiences, even though the protagonist is an adult," says IDFA Kids & Docs chief Meike Statema.
Produced by Willemijn Cerutti at Dutch production house Cerutti Film, the film won best pitch at the 2017 International Financing Forum for Kids Content in Malmö, Sweden, run in cooperation with the European Documentary Network (EDN) and IDFA, and also participated in the annual Kids & Docs Workshop, organised in cooperation with the CInekid festival and the NPO Fund.
It is one of four Dutch productions competing in IDFA's Kids & Docs competition alongside 180cc, Skip and the Rhythm Rangers and Gracious . "We really tried to diversify and broaden the selection this year so the fact that there are still four Dutch works in there speaks volumes about the strength of the youth doc production scene in the Netherlands," says Statema.
René van Zundert's 180cc revolves around Jose, a member of one of Rotterdam's tearaway bicycle gangs who rip through the city en masse, blocking traffic as they perform extended wheelies and other stunts. It is produced by Kids & Docs regulars Nienke Korthof and Willem Baptist at Rotterdam-based Tangerine Tree, whose previous credits include Little Fire and Skatekeet . "The boy at the heart of the documentary is an ambiguous character. You sympathise with him, if not the tough environment around him. I think it will throw up some interesting discussions for the audience."
Anneke de Lind van Wijngaarden and Annelies Kruk's joint work Gracious is a portrait of a deaf teenage girl coming to terms with being raped by a cousin while staying at their grandmother's house. It was produced by Kiyomi Molin and Sharona Buijert with the support of Dutch broadcaster EO. Meanwhile, Olivier S Garcia's Skip and the Rhythm Rangers concerns a 14-year-old boy called Skip, caught between his dancing aspirations, and fear of being made fun of at school for his involvement in the allboys group the Rhythm Rangers. It is produced by Iris Lammertsma and Boudewijn Koole at Witfilm.
Some 12,000 children and teenagers will attend the festival this year, either with their families or via school trips, and some of the titles feed into IDFA's Schools Programme, working with teachers across the Netherlands year-round. Statema acknowledges that many of the films in Kids & Docs tackle tough subjects but asserts that child and youth audiences are receptive to such stories on the big screen.
"You have to educate them and build the audiences," says Statema. "Children and teenagers won't necessarily come across works like these while surfing the net on their smartphones or tablets. You need to get them into cinemas but once you do, they're hooked." Melanie Goodfellow
SEE NL Magazine #33 November 2018 / IDFA Issue
SEE NL is published four times per year by EYE International and The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international film professionals.