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The Forum (IDFA)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

24 November 2019
27 November 2019


Founded in 1993, the IDFA Forum has become the first market for the international co-financing of documentaries in the world and is Europe's largest gathering of filmmakers, television commissioning editors and independent documentary producers. Over the years, the Forum has expanded and remains a unique opportunity to find financing for documentary films: more than 90 per cent of all submitted projects end up being made.

The aim of the Forum is to stimulate co-financing and co-production of new documentaries by enabling producers to pitch their project concepts to the assembled commissioning editors and other professionals, and to follow up through individual meetings.

Pitching Sessions

There are different options to pitch, depending on the current stage of the project.

Central Pitch 

Leading independent producers as well as newcomers will take turns at pitching their latest projects to an audience of broadcasters from around the world. The project is pitched preferably with the help of a clip (maximum three minutes).

Each pitch is supported by a commissioning editor or other financier who has agreed to back the project. The pitch itself takes seven minutes and is followed by an eight-minute question-and-answer session, during which the commissioning editors discuss the project with the producer and the broadcaster and/or financier committed to the film.

Round Table Pitch

A selection of Seedling and Rough Cut projects are pitched in a more intimate setting to a smaller group of commissioning editors and other financiers who have indicated their specific interest in the project. Round Table pitches enable more in-depth comment. After the pitch, producers can launch a project that won't necessarily benefit from a Central Pitch session because it is in an early development stage or needs closer attention.

Apart from the traditional linear documentaries, the Forum offers the opportunity to pitch cross-media projects, and all documentary projects developed for more than one media platform are eligible in either the Central Pitch or Round Table category depending on the stage of development and/or the financial situation.

Project Submissions

Central Pitch

  • At least 25 per cent (but not more than 75 per cent) of the financing has to be in place. (Financing is defined as real, market money and excludes personal investment and investments by other production companies or producers.)
  • A project needs to have the commitment of at least one broadcaster, film board or film institute.
  • The project is pitched preferably with the help of a trailer (suggested length: maximum three minutes).

Seedling Projects

  • Producers and directors pitch their projects in pre-arranged one-on-one meetings with commissioning editors and/or to a small group of commissioning editors and other financiers.
  • It is not required to have at least 25 per cent of the financing in place.
  • The commitment of a broadcaster, film board or film institute is desirable but not mandatory.
  • The presentation and discussion may last a total of 15 minutes.
  • The project can be supported by audiovisual material.

Rough Cut Projects

  • Producers and directors show their rough cut (maximum 10 minutes) to TV buyers, commissioning editors and other financiers.
  • These projects may exceed the 75 per cent of the financing in place.
  • The commitment of a broadcaster, film board or film institute is desirable but not mandatory.
  • The introduction, the presentation of the rough cut (maximum 10 minutes) may last a maximum of 15 minutes

Attendee tips

  • "If your project is selected into the Forum, focus your meetings around this project and exhaust all possibilities. Do your homework – gather as much intelligence as you can before requesting meetings. Find out what strand and slot they commission for, what they are interested in and what they are not interested in. You can then ask for more information in the meeting, ie find out straight from the horse’s mouth exactly what they are commissioning and what excites them!"
  • "Overall value in attending the Forum –
    1. Raise project visibility
    2. Raise company profile
    3. Build relationships with international producers."
This information is to be used as a guide only and is of a general nature. Screen Australia has undertaken all reasonable measures to ensure its accuracy and specifically disclaims any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly of the use and application of any of the contents. Exact submission requirements are stipulated in the festival's Rules and Regulations which are available on the festival website.