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The 6th West Lake International Documentary Festival (IDF) Held in Hangzhou
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Edited BY:Fang Shuaiyin

The 6th West Lake International Documentary Festival (IDF2023) was held from 24th to 26th November, 2023 in Hangzhou, China, with three sections including IDF Competition, IDF Forum and Glory of Documentary Screening Section. IDF2023 invited documentary filmmakers, production companies, distributors, scholars, press at home and abroad to visit Hangzhou to share the glory of documentary. Five academic seminars and lectures took place during the IDF Forum, which saw an attendance of nearly 4,000, while 38 documentaries were screened 43 times to over 7,000 audiences at the Glory of Documentary Screening Section.

Key figures and guests who attended the opening and closing ceremonies include: Xu Jiang, Vice Chairman of China Federation of Literary and Art Circles (CFLAC), Chairman of Zhejiang Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles (ZFLA), and Director of the Academic Board of China Academy of Art (CAA); Jin Yibin, Chairman of the Committee of Academy Affairs of CAA; Gao Shiming, President of CAA; Liu Zheng, Vice Chairman of the Committee of Academy Affairs of CAA; Xu Guoqiang, Member of the Committee of Academy Affairs of CAA and Head of the United Front Work Department; Yu Xuhong, CPC Committee Member of ZFLA, Secretary of the Secretariat, Member of the Committee of Academy Affairs and Director of the Publicity Office of CAA; Hu Zhonghua, former Vice Chairman of the Committee of Academy Affairs of CAA; Xu Xiaoming, Dean of the School of Film Art, CAA; Sheng Chenxia, Party Secretary of the School of Film Art, CAA; Laila Pakalnina, Chair of the Jury Committee and Latvian director and scriptwriter; JP Sniadecki, American filmmaker, anthropologist, and professor at the Radio/TV/Film Department of Northwestern University; Julia Sergina, Russian director and the winner of the IDF2021 Best Documentary; Mou Sen, independent theatrical producer, a director and professor at CAA; Li Ruijun, a director, scriptwriter, and producer; members of the IDF Academic Forum Committee; forum guest speakers; directors and creative representatives of shortlisted documentaries; representatives from the Zhejiang Documentary Association; university representatives; heads of academic and administrative departments of CAA; students' and teachers' representatives from the School of Film Art, CAA; and guests from film and television, literary and the arts, as well as media.

Mr. Gao Shiming delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. Members of the IDF2023 Jury Committee appeared onstage. The chair of the committee, Ms. Laila Pakalnina, addressed the audience. Mr. Jin Yibin announced the commencement of the festival. The official commencement was followed by the Glory of Documentary Screening Section, where Wim Wenders' Anselm was screened. After the screening, Mr. Xu Jiang shared his thoughts about the film with the audience. During the closing ceremony, Mr. Liu Zheng shared his afterthoughts and concluding remarks before announcing the end of the festival.

IDF2023 received 641 entries from 96 countries and regions spanning six continents. Fifteen documentaries were eventually selected after the preliminary and subsequent rounds of assessment, and shortlisted for the IDF Competition. It took the jury three days to decide on the winner of "IDF Best Short Documentary", "IDF Best Chinese Documentary", "IDF Special Mention", and "IDF Best Documentary".

Dutch director Douwe Dijkstra's production, Neighbour Abdi, won "IDF Best Short Documentary"; Chinese director Zheng Yifei's Trashy Boy won "IDF Best Chinese Documentary"; Polish director's The Balcony Movie garnered "IDF Special Mention"; and Canadian director Jacquelyn Mills' Geographies of Solitude received "IDF Best Documentary".

The films screened at the festival included 3 world premieres, 7 Asian premieres, 12 Chinese premieres, and 6 Chinese mainland premieres. Director Ann Hui's production Elegies also had its premiere at IDF2023. Notably, Kind Hearts,  winner of the Grand Prix of the International Jury Generation 14plus for the Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, Haulout, winning entry of Berlinale Shorts 2022, Geographies of Solitude, Mariner of the Mountains, Innocence, and other major documentaries that have been shortlisted for influential international film festivals like the Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Berlin International Film Festival were also screened at the festival.

A special VR section was available all day throughout the festival. "IDF Special Outdoor Screening" was held for the first time for the audience to enjoy the unique charms of film viewing outdoors amidst nature.