Founded in 1959 by a group of scholars in the humanities, anthropology, sociology, ethnology and mass-media studies, the Festival dei Popoli, a not-for-profit organization, has been active for over fifty years in the promotion and study of social documentary cinema.

The association works primarily to organize Italy’s leading International Documentary Film Festival in Florence hosting the screening of the best documentary productions at the international level and introducing filmmakers in the field. From 2008 to 2010 it has also held an edition in New York (NYDFF - New York Documentary Film Festival). The Institute has created a vast network of collaborations for the diffusion of documentary culture in Italy and abroad.

Simultaneously, the Festival dei Popoli continues to conserve and digitalize its own Archives (which contains over 16,000 titles, from video to film) and make strides in film training, organizing courses and workshops for documentary filmmakers.

Conferences and panel discussions, integral components of our programme, have brought to Florence brilliant exponents of various branches of the social sciences: from Anthropology to Sociology, Architecture and city planning, Communications, and the Evolution of Cinematographic Language in the last fifty years.

Beginning in 2008, the Festival dei Popoli launched a long-term project to acknowledge the last fifty years of documentary production in various national cinematographies. The aim goal is to not only fully acknowledge the variety of European cultures, exploring their histories, languages, traditions, fashions, politics, and social realities, but also to reflect on the evolution of documentary language over the arc of half a century, from the advent of Direct Cinema to the recent digital revolution.