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Dedicated to investigating directions cinema is taking, the festival is based around thematic sections, which change every year. !f istanbul has an interdisciplinary outlook in creating its activities every year- merging cinema with different forms of art and activism.
In 2008, !f launched an international film competition - !f Inspired- designed to showcase emerging directors who are taking film in new directions. The competition carries a $15,000 prize for the Most Inspired Director. !f Istanbul is not only a film festival and also an intersection contact point for the audience through the films, parties, and events such as workshops, conferences, exhibitions.
Apart from its film screenings, !f istanbul has an international competition for young directors, a showcase for Turkish filmmakers, and extensive range of workshops and performances based on the year's themes every year. For the last two years, the festival has also been organizing !f ²: Istanbul Live- film screenings in partnership with 25 different cities' art platforms, youth groups and cultural organizations.