As technological developments made this division impractical, however, the IDFA changed its competition categories, starting in 2001, to feature length and short docs – with sixty minutes as the dividing line.In the second year of this division, ULLA JACOBSEN followed the Silver Wolf competition to see what the shorter form could offer.
Sitting through the Silver Wolf competition at the IDFA was not a pleasant, leisurely activity as the documentaries were constantly confronting the viewers with the harsh realities in the world of 2002: like corruption, abuse of power, deadly violence, world conflict areas, the subjugation of women and loneliness. In addition, most of them were powerful and shocking – and merciless.
At the Silver Wolf competition, another line could be drawn in terms of storytelling. Approximately half the films were one television hour (50-60 min.) in length, and the other half were shorter. Whereas the TV-hour docs were definitely high quality and more cinematic than the average doc we see on TV, the shorter part comprised more experimental, playful and stylistic films.
Short Form with a Stylistic Concept
Sonia Goldenberg (Peru) has taken a sarcastic approach to the corruption scandal in Peru that led to the fall of president Fujimori. As the head of the secret service, Montesinos recorded his own briberies with a concealed camera over a long period of time, and the discovery of these recordings generated the scandal. In Eye Spy (35 min.), Goldenberg blends excerpts from the video tapes, showing briberies and undercover agreements, with news footage and children accusing the president of stealing their money. This is commented on by a sugary, but very sarcastic, second-person voiceover addressing the corrupt men as they carry out their affairs. The film is organised in chapters with individual titles to make the film a metaphor of the scandal: it presents it as an absurd, distasteful piece of fiction. Very effective.