Cheap Cuts at IDFA

After being dropped from the program a decade ago, the IDFA Shorts line up returned to Amsterdam for the festivals 30th anniversary.

When we created Cheap Cuts back in 2015, we did so because we felt there were so many short documentaries that had limited screening opportunities and we often tagged onto narrative programs or were put online. The interest in short documentary seems to have grown quickly over the past two years and more and more events dedicated to the genre are appearing.

IDFA reintroduced its short section with a Shorts Day programme screening 15 docs. Further shorts were included with feature screenings and we went along to the Paradocs screening, which saw 4 more unconventional shorts screened at the wonderful Eye Film Museum and cinema. One that we particularly enjoyed was Transitions by Auréle Ferrier. Beautifully shot with stunning sound design, this short pushed the boundaries of documentary and toyed with reality in its cinematic tour of a deserted Nevada backdrop.

Two highlights from our brief weekend in Amsterdam were The Distant Barking of Dogs and Señorita María: Skirting Around the Mountain. The latter being a tale of the wonderful María, a farmhand working in a rural mountainous Colombian village. A touching portrait documentary of identity and acceptance.

The Distant Barking of Dogs is a truly stunning piece of filmmaking from Danish director Simon Lereng Wilmont. Deservedly picking up the award for First Appearance, this observational doc at times felt like a narrative piece and Wilmont successfully draws you deep into the lives of those in the village. Each shot appears carefully selected and formed together to tell the story of a small family unit in Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine. The film perfectly captures the touching relationship between ten year old Oleg and his grandmother, whilst also showing the equally endearing cousin Yarik. Amongst the missile strikes two young boys, both excited and terrified by the war around them, continue with the everyday boredoms and temptations of rural childhood.

Watch Trailer - Distant Barking of Dogs

And the winners are: TELL ME!

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