Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

International Programme
Arbeit Heimat Opel Ulrike Franke, Michael Loeken

Apprentices in the Bochum Opel works accompanied over the period of their apprenticeship: drilling, swotting, giving everything, being “Opelaners” – in times of job cuts and plant closures.

Arbeit Heimat Opel

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
90 minutes
subtitles: 
No
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Ulrike Franke, Filmproduktion Loeken Franke
Ulrike Franke, Michael Loeken
Jörg Adams, Michael Loeken, Reinhard Köcher, Dieter Stürmer
Bert Schmidt
Ulrike Franke, Michael Loeken
Filipp Forberg, Axel Schmidt
The world trusts German cars; “Made in Germany” is regarded as a guarantee of solid craftsmanship. This has a lot to do with Germany’s unique system of apprentice training, which is based on centuries of tradition. But what’s it like to be an apprentice today, especially at one of the flagships of the German car industry?
Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken portray six 16- to 19-year-olds who started their apprenticeship as industrial mechanics at the Bochum Opel works in 2009, and their instructor. They are there when the boys pull on their Opel shirts for the first time, sweat at the drill and lathe, measure a piece for the hundredth time and despair when they fail once more to satisfy Mr. Kranz’s standards; when they boredly play with their mobile phones during boring union meetings and suddenly loose all coolness before a test. It’s still true that everyone has to start at the bottom of the ladder, but something is different: Loeken/Franke confront the images of the boys’ working life – filmed exclusively at the workplace – with news reports of imminent job cuts at Opel. Iron principles and pre-shaped identities – I am an “Opelaner” and Opel is part of Ruhr destrict like the Schalke football club – are destabilised by the ups and downs of the stock market. In this phase of transition from school and home to working life, each apprentice develops his own strategy to deal with that insecurity. Because everything could be over before it even started. Opel recently announced that intend to give up Bochum as a location in 2016 was announced.
– Grit Lemke
Healthy Workplaces Film Award
Automatic Fitness Alejandra Tomei, Alberto Couceiro

Life on an exacting conveyor belt. This detailed puppet animation that sparkles with ideas is a scathing satire on our brave new working world that thinks the term “human resources” through to the end and invents a new running technique in the process.

Automatic Fitness

Animated Film
Germany
2015
21 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Alejandra Tomei
Alejandra Tomei, Alberto Couceiro
Boris Joens, Ole Wulfers
Alejandra Tomei
Dietmar Kraus
Alberto Couceiro
Alejandra Tomei, Alberto Couceiro
Dietrich Körner
Imagine waking up in the morning in your bed, which stands on an assembly line. An automatic wake-up call and a few pills handed to you by robots make you fit for the working day. And so on and so forth at a predetermined speed. Life on an exacting conveyor belt. This detailed puppet animation that sparkles with ideas is a scathing satire on our brave new working world that thinks the term “human resources” through to the end and invents a new running technique in the process.

Lars Meyer



Healthy Worklplaces Film Award 2015

Der Große Irrtum

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
105 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Dirk Heth, Olaf Winkler
Dirk Heth, Olaf Winkler
Melanie Barth, Wolfgang Adams
Dirk Heth
Dirk Heth, Olaf Winkler
Olaf Winkler
Raimund von Scheibner
How do you determine the value of a human being? In our society the answer seems obvious: through the market. But Olaf Winkler and Dirk Heth are interested in “how to be happy without a market value”. They return to the shrinking town of Eggesin, which they filmed once before in 2002, to find an unemployment rate of 20 percent and dedicated people who work without earning a real income: Marion who has her own business but is still dependent on welfare. The single mother Diana who scratches along on “job creation schemes”. The one-Euro jobber Irina who may be lucky enough to rise to 1.50 Euros per hour or a part-time job. Mrs. Westholm and her “Heimatstube” volunteers. The concept of citizen work, promoted by politician Rainer Bomba on the state and federal levels, seems to be a solution. In Eggesin the mayor is launching a time bank project. The film never uses these people as props but sees their biographies and constraints and takes them seriously. At the same time, the first person narrator – a cameraman in letters to his children – becomes one of them, because the market doesn’t need him anymore, either.
The filmmakers and their protagonists both see how the “ruthless paradigm of unconditional marketability threatened to swallow an intact city.” They discover ideas and commitment that seem to go nowhere. Caught between hope and a growing feeling of impotence, they ask questions that must be heard.

Grit Lemke



Film Prize "Leipziger Ring" 2012

International Programme
Opel Efficiency Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch

Opel factories in Europe, closed down in the West, re-opened in the East. A calm long-term observation of four workers in Antwerp. Profit seeking and powerlessness.

Opel Efficiency

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Peter Badel, Andy Michaelis, Gisela Tuchtenhagen, Erik Wittbusch
Peter Badel, Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Efficiency is the killer argument in our economic system. If you can’t keep up, make way. But why companies that are in the black are closed down cannot be explained by this logic.
Pablo, Nico, and Els, who assemble cars at Opel’s Antwerp plant, and Rudi, their union representative for 28 years, have worked efficiently, too. But General Motors can make higher profits in Eastern Europe – so the Antwerp plant is demolished. Andy Michaelis and Erik Wittbusch accompanied this process for over five years in the tradition of Klaus Wildenhahn and with the collaboration of Gisela Tuchtenhagen. They map its complexity, visiting other Opel plants in Portugal and Germany and talking to new Polish Opel workers. The latter especially dispels all romantic notions of the possibility of solidarity across national borders. The recurring conversations in Antwerp, too – first in the factory, then private –, are sobering. There are sadness and anxiety about the future, anger, too, but most of all there’s a fatalistic submission and a point when this end is seen as a new beginning. “That’s life.” What sticks in the mind are moments like the one when the union representative, asked about the workers’ options for action, breaks into maniacal laughter.

Grit Lemke
International Programme
San Agustin - Ebbe im Plastikmeer Alexander Hick, Gudrun Gruber, Michael Schmitt

Almería, the biggest fruit and vegetable production area in the world. Water shortages, illegal workers, the cucumber crisis and the destruction of nature in an instructive tragedy.

San Agustin - Ebbe im Plastikmeer

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Alexander Hick, Gudrun Gruber, Michael Schmitt
Alexander Hick, Gudrun Gruber, Michael Schmitt
Calexico, Pink Martini
Aline László
Nina Ergang
San Agustin is an island without a beach: the small Andalusian village lies in the midst of a wide sea of plastic awnings. No field, no meadow, no tree. Just white foil as far as the eye can see. Here, in Almería in southern Spain, lies Europe’s fruit and vegetable garden, where 90 percent of the aubergines and 80 percent of the peppers consumed in Europe are grown. It’s also the largest vegetable cultivation area on earth. But the fruit and vegetables leave an aftertaste, because water is scarce, pricing pressure extreme and the plants are threatened by bacteria.
In nine chapters three film students explore the diverse aspects of this place and its inhabitants. Their subjects range from the destruction of the landscape to the cucumber crisis to illegal undocumented workers, sometimes accompanied by an ironic voice-over, sometimes juxtaposed with images of mass tourism along the coast of Southern Spain.
One of the most haunting scenes comes when the vegetable farmer and plant lover José strenuously pulls courgette plants out of the ground on his family farm. It’s a horrifying act for him, but there is no more profit in growing them.
– Antje Stamer

Sofia's Last Ambulance

Documentary Film
Bulgaria,
Croatia,
Germany
2012
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Ingmar Trost, Sutor Kolonko Filmproduktion,Siniša Juričić, Nukleus film d.o.o., Dimitar Gotchev, SIA Ltd, Ilian Metev
Ilian Metev
Ilian Metev
Betina Ip, Ilian Metev
Ilian Metev
Tom Kirk
The ambulance carries us on its bumpy ride through the streets of the Bulgarian capital. Dr. Krassimir Yordanov chain-smokes by the window. Sister Mila, who affectionately calls him Krassi and is as fond of nicotine as he is, sits between him and the friendly driver Pramen. This is the wonderful cast we follow to their various patients in Sofia. Heart attacks, junkies, abortion attempts and drunks, they’re all there. But the Bulgarian health system is as rotten as the streets of Sofia – there are exactly 13 ambulances servicing the city’s 1.2 million inhabitants. It’s easy to imagine what an exhausting and gruelling job this is. And it doesn’t make any difference that Mila stays calm even with the most difficult patients and calls everyone “darling” or “honey”.
The film follows a consistent narrative format. During the rides the camera is mounted on the dashboard, observing only the three protagonists or the street. Even in the patients’ homes, with worried relatives surrounding the rescue team, we glimpse a leg or the back of a patient’s head at best. No interviews, no voice-over, only live sound – a documentary film in its purest form. The director won the 2008 DOK Leipzig Talent Award and used the prize money to realise this film.

Antje Stamer



Silver Dove in the International Competition Documentary Film 2012


Healthy Workplaces Film Award
Tagelöhner Syndrom Rita Bakacs

Rita Bakacs had to rise early to film her protagonists (all of them male): the vacancies hatch at the Neukölln Job Centre opens at four in the morning. Latecomers could come away empty-handed.

Tagelöhner Syndrom

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
30 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Damian Schipporeit, Rita Bakacs
Rita Bakacs
Rasmus Sievers
Rita Bakacs
Rita Bakacs
Vensan Mazmanyan
Rita Bakacs had to rise early to film her protagonists (all of them male): the vacancies hatch at the Neukölln Job Centre opens at four in the morning. Latecomers could come away empty-handed. Waiting, smoking, drinking coffee. If you’re lucky and own a pair of hard toed boots you may get one of the coveted day jobs – hard work for little money.

In a few precisely observed and edited scenes Bakacs depicts the dead end of precarious work.

Grit Lemke



Healthy Workplaces Film Award 2015

The Last Limousine

Documentary Film
Germany,
Russia
2013
79 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Marina Razbezhkina, Heino Deckert
Daria Khlestkina
Anton Silaev
Anna Dashina, Evgeniy Kurbatov
Daria Khlestkina, Mieneke Kramer
Daria Khlestkina
Sergey Ovcharenko, Maria Ushenina
They were not just the pride of the nation, but the symbol of a public display of power that gradually turned into an empty pose. The equally feudal and well-designed limousines that lead the Soviet military parades on Red Square demanded awe and respect in the East and West. They were manufactured by hand at the Moscow ZIL car factory until the collapse in 1990, when the production line stopped. The cause could not have been a lack of dictators or desire to display one’s power. Perhaps the open limousines became too risky? In short: suddenly an order bursts in on the almost phased out factory. The state wants three cars. The spirit of the old collective awakens, the machines are powered up again and the production director sternly inspects the giant halls where the cats have long made their home. Director Daria Khlestkino records this last gasp of a giant with precision and gives us insights – not without wistfulness – into the remains of a former socialist industrial structure where patience and the art of improvisation were the real capital.
Cornelia Klauß