Film Archive

International Programme 2016
Callshop Istanbul Sami Mermer, Hind Benchekroun

The phone booths of Istanbul link thousands of stranded refugees with home. Universal dramas in extremely confined quarters, vows of love, family disputes, and a global tragedy.

Callshop Istanbul

Documentary Film
Canada
2016
89 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hind Benchekroun, Sami Mermer
Sami Mermer, Hind Benchekroun
Sami Mermer
Sami Mermer
With their flickering lights the narrow call shops look like light towers in the maze of alleyways. Foreigners from all over the world, most of them on the road to Europe, are stranded here. But for many of them the journey ends right here, in the mega metropolis of Istanbul. The film finds an equally simple and effective point of access to the situations of these displaced persons by listening to their phone conversations with the relatives from whom they are cut off. Burning worries over their safety in war zones like Syria or Iraq, shared plans for a better future, declarations of love and vows of fidelity are sent along the lines. Universal dramas play out at close quarters. After years of failure, a homeless Senegalese man finds the courage to contact his family for the first time and promises better times. Later he negotiates in vain with a human trafficker. His face is tired.

From the micro portraits in the phone booths the film moves into the streets to show the protests on Taksim Square and Turkey from the point of view of migrant parallel societies. Three men from Benin who scrape along by selling watches calculate – based on partial knowledge – the risk of a crossing to Greece and decide to turn back. Information is essential for survival. It’s not just in this instance that “Callshop Istanbul” offers a change of perspective in the debate around flight and migration.

Lars Meyer

Cheer Up

Documentary Film
Canada,
Finland
2016
82 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Liisa Juntunen
Christy Garland
Tom Third
Sari Aaltonen
Thor Ochsner, Graeme Ring
Try to cheer up! That’s what the girls get to hear even when one of their ingeniously constructed pyramids of bodies just collapsed and they lie on the floor, bleeding and injured. Cheerleading is the essence of the kind of motivation coaching that fills whole shelves of self-help books and always drives us to peak performances – since this is exactly what this sport is about. It’s just that the logic of the permanent drive to succeed doesn’t seem to work with the Arctic Circle Spirit Ice Queens in Rovaniemi near the Arctic Circle: they are Finland’s worst cheerleading team. But coach Miia is determined to change this. After a visit to the world’s top team in Dallas, Texas – which looks like brainwashing – she wants to make her flock “number one” by means of a “yes you can” strategy. But the flock have other worries: after the death of her mother Patu must cope with her father’s new partner; Aino is drawn into the wild party life and jeopardises her position in the team. Add first love and moving out from home. And Miia, too, realises that the American credo of “everything is possible” may be seen in a completely different light …

Christy Garland confidently mixes the narrative traditions of the classic sports film with those of the coming-of-age drama while staying close to her protagonists. Falling and getting up again. Sounds easier than it is.

Grit Lemke


Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award
International Programme 2016
Terminal Device Ross Turnbull

From Captain Hook to Edward Scissorhands: a prosthesis wearer makes a fierce and humorous clean sweep with the history of prostheses in his own life and in pop culture.

Terminal Device

Documentary Film
Canada
2015
68 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ross Turnbull, Jennifer Hazel
Ross Turnbull
Slim Twig
Ross Turnbull, Alex Kingsmill, Roland Echavarria, David Rendall, Jennifer Hazel
Meghan Remy, Ross Turnbull
Ross Turnbull
Michèle Deslauriers
Who’s afraid of Captain Hook? He’s the archetype of the one-armed bad guy: the pirate whose missing hand was replaced by a prosthesis that ends in a hook of all things. Hook is a truly overpowering fiction which, quasi by self-fertilisation, brought forth an endless variety of descendants in the field of pop culture of whose power everyone affected can tell us one or two sad stories.

Canadian director Ross Turnbull, who’s missing an arm, is one of those people. From early childhood Hook and the whole gang from Candyman to Edward Scissorhands have been his unloved cousins, who meddled with his life again and again. “Terminal Device” is Turnbull’s fierce and funny way of making a clean sweep of the whole thing: using his own impairment as material for a downright gleeful story of coming to terms with the past and present. Including the bonus of multifaceted excursions into the cultural and medical history of the prosthesis. Often funny. Sometimes creepy. Always enlightening.

Ralph Eue
International Programme 2016
The Picture of the Day Jo-Anne Velin

Tröglitz in Saxony-Anhalt, between the arson attack on a refugee home and the regional elections. Daily life and a search for the other in the past and present. A “heimatfilm”.

The Picture of the Day

Documentary Film
Canada,
Germany
2016
91 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Eike Goreczka, Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin, Thomas Beetz
Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin, Florian Marquardt
When the mayor of Tröglitz had to resign because he had spoken up for refugees and their home burned a little while later, camera crews flocked to the small community in Saxony-Anhalt. When the media left, Jo-Anne Velin arrived – and stayed. She spent eleven months between the attack and the regional elections (a resounding success for the right-wing populists) with the residents of the place. She shared their life, went to football matches and antenatal exercise classes, drank coffee with the little old ladies, watched the bakers at work, observed children, explored vanished and existing industries, hiked through the forests, watched and listened closely.

As a Canadian living in Germany Velin brought a foreign element to the place which predestined her to ask, search and discover its many traces – especially in a history shaped by immigration and largely suppressed. She uncovered remarkable lines leading to the concentration camp barracks in the area, now used for various purposes, and ultimately to Imre Kertész. She made connections not only across time but also across geography. Again and again she intercuts images of refugees crossing the sea to Europe with images of the people of Tröglitz. This could be you, the images say. And – thinking further – you are Tröglitz, too. A bold step.

Grit Lemke


Nominated for Goethe-Institute Documentary Film Prize

The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

Documentary Film
Canada,
USA
2016
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Brett Story
Brett Story
Olivier Alary
Maya Bankovic
Avril Jacobson
Brett Story
Simon Gervais, Ian Reynolds
One of the pre-eminent characteristics of film and cinema is that they allow us a direct experience of universally visible phenomena of reality. “The Prison in Twelve Landscapes” takes this one step further: the film is searching the mundane social environment for traces of an institution of American life that was carefully banished from people’s sights and minds and, by doing this, brings them back before our eyes and minds.

Statistically speaking, more people are detained in US prisons today than at any other time or in any other place in human history. Brett Story’s film is an ingenious documentary investigation into the American prison system across the States. Though we hardly ever see even the silhouette of a real penitentiary, we get a tangible sense of how much these places, which have been pushed out of sight, and their inmates are part of everyday life and at the same time an indispensable economic factor.

Ralph Eue
International Programme 2016
The Talk. True Stories About the Birds & the Bees Alain Delannoy

There are things in life you don’t forget, whether you want it or not. One of them is “the conversation”.

2016

The Talk. True Stories About the Birds & the Bees

Animadoc
Canada
2016
9 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Alain Delannoy
Alain Delannoy
Eidski
Alain Delannoy
Alain Delannoy
Alain Delannoy
There are things in life you don’t forget, whether you want it or not. One of them is “the conversation”. Alain Delannoy revives the memories of seven boys (now adults) of their parents’ attempts at sexual education. Attempts, mind you. The mixture of drawings, photos and animated objects makes the sometimes disturbingly clumsy efforts to explain IT to the boys seem simply funny in retrospect.

Lina Dinkla