DOK Leipzig convenes
Interreligious Jury for the first time
Opera director Achim Freyer and David Sproxton, co-founder of the Aardman Animation studios, are also among the total of 43 jurors
World-famous opera director and painter Achim Freyer is coming to DOK Leipzig as a member of a jury. Since 2015 film professionals are not the only ones making the decisions regarding documentary and animated films nominated at the festival: they have been joined by artists from other genres. Freyer is one of 43 jurors who constitute a total of 11 juries at DOK Leipzig. David Sproxton, co-founder of the Aardman Animation studios and the maker of claymation characters such as Wallace and Gromit or Shaun the Sheep, is also voting on the films in the Official Selection. The joint decision-makers on prize-winning films will equally include filmmaker Lutz Dammbeck (“Das Netz”) and Sewan Latchinian, recently relieved from his post as artistic director at the Volkstheater in Rostock due to his dissenting stance. DOK Leipzig is underscoring this year’s festival motto, Disobedience, by inviting the theatre director. What’s more, this is the first time that DOK Leipzig is convening an Interreligious Jury to replace the Ecumenical Jury. Alongside two Christian experts on film, this year the jury will equally be comprised of one Muslim and one Jewish member.
The impetus towards opening up the scope of the Ecumenical Jury was given by festival director Leena Pasanen. In light of the rising number of xenophobic excesses in Germany, she wants to foster intercultural and interreligious co-operation. The jury transposition occurred jointly together with the International Interchurch Film Organization (INTERFILM) and the World Catholic Association for Communication (SIGNIS), which have appointed the members of the Ecumenical Jury at the Leipzig Film Festival since 1990.
“In our polarised world and a society in which attempts are increasingly being made to marginalise non-Christian religions, we want to set an example for solidarity and open-mindedness by opening up the Ecumenical Jury,” according to Leena Pasanen. “This reform matches the spirit of our festival, which attracts people from the widest variety of origins and religions each and every year. We thank the SIGNIS and INTERFILM organisations for mutually taking this step with us.”
Besides the Interreligious Jury, numerous other members of the juries will be voting for their respective favourites during the festival week. Multimedia artist Bill Morrison from the USA is coming to Leipzig as a jury member and shall also present his monumental oeuvre entitled “Decasia” at the festival. Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth is going to be another juror. He is viewed as one of the most well-known representatives of experimental documentary film and has worked together with such filmmakers as Lars von Trier. Since last year the jury for the Next Masters Competition consists of one person to whom DOK Leipzig is paying tribute via an Homage. In this edition of the festival, Marina Razbezhkina, a Russian filmmaker and producer, will be deciding which film wins the competition. Anca Damian, who won the MDR Film Prize for an outstanding Eastern European film at DOK Leipzig 2015 with “The Magic Mountain”, and Polish director Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz (“I Love Poland”, Retrospective at DOK Leipzig 2016) shall also act in a capacity as jurors at the festival.
The prize winners at the 59th edition of DOK Leipzig will be honoured at the festive Awards Ceremony on 5 November at the CineStar Leipzig movie theatre. The festival runs from 31 October to 6 November and shows around 300 films. Under Leena Pasanen, the newly appointed festival director at the time, last year the festival achieved a new record attendance figure: 48,000.
DOK Leipzig announces the Official Selection on 10 October.