Gianfranco Rosi is the Guest of Honor at IDFA 2020

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is honoring Italian director Gianfranco Rosi

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.