Home Page About IDF IDF 2021

The 5th West Lake International Documentary Festival was held from October 22nd to 25th, 2021, at the China Academy of Art by the West Lake in Hangzhou.


On the theme of "Perceiving, Knowing", the festival featured five main sections: "IDF Competition", "IDF Pitching", "Glory of Documentary", "IDF Forum", and "IDF Academy", attracting a diverse array of professionals from the documentary filmmaking industry, esteemed scholars, cultural figures, and industry investors from across the globe, who enthusiastically participated in the festival both online and offline.


Fueled by IDF's ever-growing global influence, the "IDF Competition" section received an overwhelming response, with a staggering 562 valid entries from 73 countries and regions spanning six continents. Among them, there were 278 submissions from China (including Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan), 32 co-productions between China and foreign countries, and 252 entries from international filmmakers. The documentaries encompassed a remarkable assortment of 270 feature-length films, 252 short films, and 40 documentary series. The "IDF Pitching" section aimed to provide a fertile ground with incubation and collaboration opportunities for outstanding documentary projects with international potential. It served as a catalyst for inspiring documentary filmmakers to push the boundaries of their creativity and craft remarkable artistic masterpieces. A total of 118 valid entries were collected, including 98 feature-length documentary projects and 20 documentary series projects. Among them, 108 projects hailed from China, one from abroad, and nine were co-productions between China and foreign countries. The "Glory of Documentary" section dazzled audiences with 47 documentaries. Spread across five venues, the section delivered an unprecedented number of 55 screenings. The films included 5 World premieres, 11 Asian premieres, and 15 Chinese premieres, resulting in an astounding premiere rate of 95%, an all-time high for the festival. The "IDF Forum" explored key issues such as time, memory, media, and archives around the theme of "Image Archived as Memory Apparatus", with two roundtable forums, two academic lectures, two post-screening seminars, and one industry forum held both online and offline. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the "IDF Academy" continued its collaboration with CNEX to carry out professional editing-featured workshops, in which four selected projects were given the opportunity to further develop their potential. Additionally, 20 documentary students from universities in Zhejiang participated as observers, engaging in a multitude of activities during the workshop sector.


The 5th West Lake International Documentary Festival was a resounding success, with a notable increase in its professional influence and social impact. Over 80 distinguished guests, 145 self-registered industry participants, and nearly 100 media representatives attended the festival in Hangzhou, experiencing the enlightening power of documentaries. In adherence to stringent epidemic prevention measures, the festival implemented an appointment-based system. The screening reservation mini-program witnessed a staggering 110,000 views, with 3,270 successful reservations. Furthermore, the IDF's captivating content, including competition, pitching, screenings, forums, and workshops, was disseminated through a wide spectrum of platforms such as Tencent Video, Douban, Bilibili, Facebook, and Instagram, reaching a vast and diverse global audience.


IDF2021 Retrospective film