Sixteen documentary features vie for top prize

BRUSSELS — Sixteen feature-length documentaries compete for the VPRO Joris Ivens award, top prize of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, which opens Nov 20.

The winner takes home E12,500 ($17,700).

Competition claims eight world premieres, including Dutch submission for the docu Oscar “Carmen Meets Borat.”

Helmed by Mercedes Stalenhoef, pic describes the effect on a Romanian village when Sacha Baron Cohen and crew arrive to shoot the Kazakhstan sequences of “Borat.”

“Rough Aunties” from rising Brit helmer Kim Longinotto also takes its world bow in competition. Pic recounts work of women caring for abused and neglected children in Durban, South Africa.

Other world preems include “Forgetting Dad” by Richard Minnich, “Hair India” by Raffaele Brunetti and Marco Leopardi, “King of India” by Arvind Sinha, “On the Way to School” by Ozgur Dogan and Orhan Eskikoy, “Our Street Cinema Version” by Marcin Latallo, and “The Queen and I” by Nahid Persson Sarvestani.

Austrians Nikolaus Geyrhalter and Erwin Wagenhofer, both with notable theatrical releases behind them, also present new work. Geyrhalter’s “7915 km” follows the Paris-Dakar auto rally, while Wagenhofer’s “Let’s Make Money” takes a timely look at international financial markets.

Geyrhalter will be a guest of the festival, presenting 10 films that have influenced his development. He will give a documentary master class, as will local veteran Frans Bromet, subject of a retrospective.

Festival opens its 21st edition with the world bow of “Episode 3 — Enjoy Poverty” by Dutch artist Renzo Martens. Pic argues that images of poverty have become Africa’s most significant export.

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