DOK Leipzig experienced major visitor turnout once again<
More visiting professionals came to the festival than ever before
The 59th Edition of DOK Leipzig came to a close with a brisk turnout of visiting crowds. 48,000 viewers and visitors were attracted to the cinemas and events at the film festival in the course of the past festival week. As a result DOK Leipzig was able to maintain the record-setting level from last year, despite fewer screenings. As in previous years, about 100 screenings were sold out, while the use of online advance ticket sales was embraced better than ever before. Not only the movie theatres were full: both Leipzigers and visiting professionals eagerly attended the free, popular and publicly accessible added events, too.
The interactive exhibition DOK Neuland drew roughly 3,000 visitors to the venue on Leipziger Marktplatz. They were able to try out a total of six works, including VR-Experiences and 360° documentaries. 3,200 viewers came to the screenings inside Leipziger Hauptbahnhof, the central railway station, which were open to the public. Together with the Promenaden Hauptbahnhof mall, on six evenings DOK Leipzig presented audience-appealing films from the festival’s Official Selection.
Leena Pasanen, the festival’s managing and artistic director, is delighted by the way the public events were received: “The central station has established itself as a venue that the people of Leipzig actively take advantage of. The same goes for the film professionals. The mood there was fantastic. Opening up the festival by taking it into the city itself went very well: this was true of the screenings at the station as well as the events at DOK Neuland.”
The festival week was additionally marked by this year’s Country Focus on Turkey. Nearly 30 Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian film professionals came to Leipzig to present their films and interconnect. “In light of the politically difficult situation, we are glad that we were able to offer a platform to filmmakers from Turkey in order to exchange views about filmmaking in their country and enable their courageous and equally creative voices to be heard,” says Grit Lemke, the head of the film programme.
The co-operation on the part of the festival with the subtitle app named STARKS was welcomed by visitors. Up to the festival Friday, more than 1,700 viewers had already used this new offer to obtain German subtitles for 33 selected festival films via their smartphones. Which means that in each case 10 to 30 per cent of the audience for these selected films took advantage of the app, which offered simple German subtitles along with enhanced subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
The DOK Industry segment drew more film professionals than ever before: around 1,900 international accredited professionals attended. 800 meetings took place at the DOK Co-Pro Market, 75 film professionals networked on a sector-crossing scale at the new, one-day-long DOK Exchange conference, and 14 film projects were presented at the DOK Previews, some of which have already found distributors and picked up sales agents.
Brigid O’Shea, the head of DOK Industry, is quite pleased with the outcomes of the roughly 80 events that were staged: “The best feedback during the festival week comes from accredited delegates who describe DOK Leipzig as the most friendly and relaxed film market in Europe. We pride ourselves on paying careful attention to the professional guests to give them the best chances of financing and circulating films in the most difficult circumstances.”
21 prizes bearing a total value of 77,000 euros were handed out at the Award Ceremony on Saturday evening. The prestigious Golden Dove in the International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film went to the renowned Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa for his film “Austerlitz”. The Golden Dove in the German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film was awarded to Thorsten Trimpop for “Furusato”. A total of four prizes were accepted by the young director Jakob Schmidt for his film “Zwischen den Stühlen” (“To Be a Teacher”), who was clearly overwhelmed by the massive acclaim.
In the course of the past week the film festival screened 309 cinematic works from 49 countries. A total of over 350 Q&As were conducted with directors, protagonists and producers, all of whom attended the festival.
Next year DOK Leipzig will take place from 30 October to 5 November. In 2017, the oldest documentary film festival in the world will celebrate its 60th edition of the festival.
You can find all the award winners here.