IDFA Bertha Fund

IDFA Bertha Fund

The IDFA Bertha Fund is the only fund in the world dedicated solely to stimulating and empowering the creative documentary sector in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe.

By supporting both documentary filmmakers and organisations that promote documentaries, the IDFA Bertha Fund (formerly known as the Jan Vrijman Fund) enables documentary practitioners in these developing countries to find their own unique voice. The Fund not only provides financial support to realize this endeavour, but plays a crucial advisory role as well.

New Deadlines:

IBF Classic - Development: 10 December, 10 June
IBF Classic – Production & Post-production: 10 December, 10 June
IBF Europe – Co-Production: 1 April

No changes concerning the deadline will be made for the category IBF Europe – Distribution of International Co-Productions, and will thus be continuously open for applications from December 1 until October 1.

The Bertha Foundation dreams of a more just world and supports forms of activism that aim to bring about change. They champion those using media, law and enterprise as tools to achieve their vision. By investing in the IDFA Bertha Fund the Foundation makes it possible for the fund to carry on supporting filmmakers and documentaries that make a difference.

Since its inception in 1997, the IDFA Bertha Fund has supported more than 500 projects. Because the selection criteria are so rigorous, based as they are on a project’s originality, cinematic quality and market potential, Fund support is generally considered to be a seal of approval. One of the strengths therefore is the catalytic effect that the Funds involvement with a project can have in terms of attracting additional finance.

In short, the IDFA Bertha Fund supports documentaries that make a difference. Documentaries are not only a creative form of artistic expression, but also an expression of a world-view and a lifestyle. These documentaries therefore often tackle controversial issues in developing countries covering such themes as social injustice, freedom of expression, human rights, poverty, economic justice and education.

Films supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund therefore often serve to reinforce these values.

Each year, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) screens a large part of the year's harvest of completed films supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund. These may be selected in Competition or in the sections Panorama, Masters or Best of Fests. And every year we work with numerous international film festivals, including Cannes, Berlinale, Thessaloniki, Locarno, Toronto and Pusan, to screen the films that have received IDFA Bertha Fund support.


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All of this is done in order to generate maximum attention for filmmakers from the developing world, to stimulate local film cultures and to turn the creative documentary into a truly global film art.

Who was Jan Vrijman?
The fund originally bore the name of the man who inspired the formation of IDFA, Jan Vrijman. Born in Amsterdam in 1925, the then Jan Hulsebos took the name Vrijman (Freeman) after joining the Dutch Resistance during World War II. He continually tried, as he himself put it, to “expose informal reality”. This he did successfully as a journalist, director and columnist.

Having directed and produced almost 50 films, in 1986 Jan Vrijman decided to give up making them. From that moment on, he would devote himself entirely to his daily column in Amsterdam's Het Parool newspaper and to the recently-founded IDFA, which he considered a wonderful and important event.

He was Co-Director of IDFA from 1989-1991, and remained a member of its Board until his death. Plans for the establishment of a fund for filmmakers from developing countries had already been initiated during his lifetime.

The Fund not only provides financial support to realize this endeavour, but plays a crucial advisory role as well. Interested filmmakers can contact or +31 20 6273329 for further information.

Managing director:
Isabel Arrate Fernandez

Project Manager:
Mélanie de Vocht

Marloes den Hoed

IDFA Bertha Fund / Stichting Jan Vrijman Fonds

Grant Deadline: 10 December

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