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Life In Europe

‘Life in Europe’ is the title of a program initiated in 2019 by the ECF and the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), which presents each year a selection of documentary films that encourages the public debate on Europe.

By supporting and partnering with platforms such as IDFA we invite you and ourselves to envisage Europe in all its facets and in all its complexity.

The history of Europe is made up of many stories told by many people with varying perspectives. These stories are essential for developing sentiments, a sense of belonging, but also for challenging the status quo where it seems insufficient.


The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is the world’s largest documentary film festival held annually since 1988 in Amsterdam, and an acclaimed platform for independent films. IDFA stimulates and strengthens a European culture of solidarity, activating the public debate on Europe through documentary films, by offering an independent and inspiring online and offline meeting places for audiences and professionals.

Doc Talks

Since 2019 the European Cultural Foundation hosts a DocTalk at the festival; a longer interview with directors and protagonists in their documentary.

For the 2023 edition of IDFA we have invited Mohamed Bah, host of City Rights Radio, a partner in our Re:framing Migrants in the European Media project, to host the conversation following the screening of Chasing the Dazzling Light. For the screening of Gerlach we collaborate with De Balie.

During the 2022 festival we co-hosted three Doc Talks and invited friends from our networks to further explore the topics touched on in the documentaries: Antonina Stebur of The European Pavilion partner Antiwarcoalition for the screening of The Hamlet Syndrome, Melanie Schiller for Bella Ciao, while Culture of Solidarity Fund grantee Anila Noor, New Women Connectors, commented on Fatima.

In 2021 Judges Under Pressure by director Kacper Lisowski deeply impressed the audience. In 2020 Milo Rau’s The New Gospel did the same. In 2019’s DocTalk we discussed and applauded Alexander Nanau’s Colectiv, which went on to win the 2021 LUX Audience Award.

Pathway 'Life in Europe' 2023

You can have a quick glance at all the ‘Life in Europe’ pathway documentaries via this link. As you have read above, together with IDFA we picked two documentaries for a Doc Talk:

Chasing the dazzling light
Director Yaser Kassab followed in his father’s footsteps by emigrating as a young man from Syria to Europe, and like his father he also had the ambition to become a filmmaker. Now they are working together on this film remotely. From Syria, the father gives his son direction on the phone or in video calls, along with advice about future film projects or how to organize his life—loving conversations interspersed with well-intentioned parental advice. More information.

Gerlach van Beinum is one of the last old-school crop farmers in the Netherlands. Surrounded by the advancing exponents of modernity—distribution centers, highways, multinationals—he moves through the seasons at his own pace. We follow him for several years in his fields on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Read on.


Pathway 'Life in Europe' 2022

Pathway 'Life in Europe' 2021

Pathway 'Life in Europe' 2020

Pathway 'Life in Europe' 2019

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