Film Archive

International Programme 2012
Big Boys Gone Bananas!* Fredrik Gertten

A small film company’s almost hopeless battle against the Dole food corporation. The connections between consumption, freedom of opinion and democracy as a thriller.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*

Documentary Film
Sweden
2012
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Margarete Jangård, WG Film
Fredrik Gertten
Conny Malmqvist, Dan "Gisen" Malmquist
Frank Pineda, Joe Aguirre, David McGuire, Malin Korkeasalo, Stefan berg, Kasia Winograd, Sasha Snow, Terese Mörnvik
Jesper Osmund, Benjamin Binderup
Charlotte Rodenstedt
Fredrik Gertten
Alexander Thörnqvist
In 1989, when a whole nation "was gone bananas”, the banana was regarded as the ultimate symbol of the good life in East Germany. The freedom of unlimited consumption seemed to go hand in hand with the freedom of speech and the arts. Frederik Gertten is about to teach us about the real link between bananas and democracy.
In his last film Gertten proved that their cultivation on Nicaraguan plantations owned by the Dole food corporation is extremely harmful to the workers. Before the opening of that film, the filmmaker got a 200-page letter from the corporation trying to stop the screening. An unprecedented campaign – documented and retold by Gertten in this film – begins. A small, independent production company stands up to a big player who seems to be able to buy, manipulate, threaten or even destroy at will everything and everyone from the legal system to the L.A. Film Festival, from the press to the whole Internet. An uneven, practically hopeless fight against a power that dwarfs even George Orwell’s imagination.
Only when the civil society in the shape of the Swedish parliament and a handful of enlightened consumers begins to understand that responsibility for the freedom of opinion and the arts cannot lie solely with the individual artist but is a good everyone must defend does the case take an unexpected turn, which – don’t we know it – has something to do with banana consumption...
– Grit Lemke
International Programme 2017
Burka Songs 2.0 Hanna Högstedt

A performance against the French ban on face veils becomes the starting point of a multifaceted examination of (structural) racism and (activist) arrogance.

Burka Songs 2.0

Documentary Film
Sweden
2017
45 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hanna Högstedt, Archana Khanna
Hanna Högstedt
Annika Busch, Maja Kekonius
Hanna Högstedt, Annika Ivarsson
Hanna Högstedt
Gustaf Berger
After a nationwide debate wearing a face veil was legally banned in France in 2011. The supporters argued that the veil was opposed to the values of the republic: equality of the sexes and freedom from religious oppression. The Swedish filmmaker Hanna Högstedt believes that this is populist symbolic politics and decides to act in a performance on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées that she has recorded on film: dressed in a black burka she sings the French national anthem at the top of her voice.

The reactions are not as expected. “Burka Songs 2.0” is Högstedt’s way of coming to terms with what happened during the filming and what reflections this triggered. She describes how difficult it is to find an attitude towards a political rhetoric regarded as dishonest and courting the masses without being drawn into the maelstrom of attributions herself. She realises that she won’t find satisfactory answers to her questions and decides to make her perplexity the starting point of this film. Högsted’s perspective is changed by talking to people who experience racism – with no intention to provoke – in their daily life. The Swedish filmmaker works her way through the ambivalence of her subject and at last reaches the conclusion that her own actions were – and are – not without presumption either.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann
International Programme 2018
Curiosity and Control Albin Biblom

People are fascinated by wild beasts. The modes of presenting them cover a spectrum from artfully designed dioramas in museums to more modern and humane zoos.

Curiosity and Control

Documentary Film
Sweden
2018
58 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Adam Marko-Nord, Sara Waldestam
Albin Biblom
Goran Kajfes, David Österberg
Albin Biblom
Bernhard Winkler
Albin Biblom
David Österberg
In the 19th century, dioramas were a kind of predecessor of the movies. Taxidermy animals from distant countries were to be presented in the most lifelike environments possible. The US scientist and sculptor Carl Akeley is considered the father of taxidermy. He created groundbreaking dioramas for the New York Museum of Natural History in the early 20th century. In the 1920s he was the first man to film mountain gorillas and changed from hunter to dedicated animal protectionist. His biography reflects both the social changes in our attitude to animals and technical progress.

Based on a portrait of the pioneering Akeley, “Curiosity and Control” addresses the different ways animals are presented in natural history museums and zoos, critically exploring various perspectives. What is man’s relation to the fauna? It’s marked by curiosity and control: the former drove early scientists to collect, own, and systematise animals since the early expeditions – and preserve them from extinction. Ownership, however, also generates dominance. Is it permissible to keep other species in cages? No matter how “natural” and humane the zoo architecture is: “You will see something that looks like an elephant. But it’s not behaving like a wild elephant,” a zoo director says. Another dilemma.

Annina Wettstein

Exit

Documentary Film
Germany,
Norway,
Sweden
2018
80 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Eirin Gjørv
Karen Winther
Michel Wenzer
Peter Ask
Robert Stengård
Karen Winther
Yvonne Stenberg, Gisle Tveito
When Karen Winther comes across a few old boxes during a move she finds herself confronted with her past. On top are some swastika stickers, next to a tape labelled “Blitz” and “Hits”, and a lot of stuff decorated with the imperial eagle. Twenty years ago she joined a right-wing extremist organisation in Norway, looking for adventure and like-minded people. “It’s embarrassing to look at,” she comments in the voice over.

“Exit” is her film, her story, and yet the plot soon points in other directions, refuses to be constrained by its own structure. Winther travels to the US to meet women who also used to move in right-wing extremist circles. She sits in the car with a former left-wing extremist activist, talking about a formative encounter many years ago. She meets Ingo Hasselbach, “The Führer of Berlin”, whose career in the East German neo-Nazi scene is the subject of Winfried Bonengel’s film “Führer Ex”. And she meets a former jihadist who served a sentence in a Paris prison. In addition to surprisingly similar motivations and experiences, what they all have in common are the difficulties caused by their “Exits” – feelings of guilt, but also threats from still active members.

Carolin Weidner


Awarded with the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, the Young Eyes Film Award and the Gedanken-Aufschluss Prize from the Jury of juvenile and yound adult prisoners of JSA Regis-Breitingen

International Programme 2018
IKEA for YU Marija Ratković Vidaković, Dinka Radonić

The identity history of Yugoslavia and ex-Yugoslavia is rife with conflicts and contradictions. Marija travels through this history by researching the inner workings of her own family.

IKEA for YU

Documentary Film
Croatia,
Sweden
2018
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Vera Robić Škarica, Marija Ratković Vidaković
Marija Ratković Vidaković, Dinka Radonić
Siniša Krneta
Dinka Radonić
Damir Čučić
Marija Ratković Vidaković, Dinka Radonić
Johan Bodin, Siniša Krneta
A family selfie in front of the “Three Fists”, a monument to the victims of the Second World War in Niš, the third largest city in Serbia today. Three concrete fists from the era of Titoism, are raised to the sky: the father’s fist, the mother’s, a child’s. Marija takes position, her mother and father next to her, her brother presses the button. This photo records nothing less than the whole identity history of Yugoslavia and Ex-Yugoslavia, rich in conflicts and contradictions – a history that still resonates and that Marija Ratković Vidaković, supported by her co-writer Dinka Radonić, investigates in this intimate family film.

Marked by parents and grandparents who have internalised the real-socialist ideas and values of the Tito era on the Balkan, the thirty three-year-old filmmaker must cope with a paradoxical inherited identity that has very little to do with her private world and life in Croatia. Marija knows that she doesn’t want to pass this heritage on to her son and she knows that in order to achieve this, it must wither in herself. Filmed over years, “IKEA for YU” is the testimony of a trip into her own family history, deep into its most intimate nooks and crannies where a long history full of twists and turns is deeply entrenched. And a trip far away from Croatia.

Lukas Stern


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize

International Programme 2018
Lyubov – Love in Russian Staffan Julén, Svetlana Alexievich

Nobel Prize laureate Svetlana Alexievich interviews people on the subject of “Love is …,” which is difficult to answer, especially when you’re talking about yourself – which is precisely what happens here.

Lyubov – Love in Russian

Documentary Film
Sweden
2017
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Johan Lijleström Seth
Staffan Julén, Svetlana Alexievich
Majaq Julén Brännström
Åsa Mossberg, Rasmus Nyholm Schmidt, Staffan Julén
“Love is …” the stickers used to say, bordered by hearts – gewgaws. In this film, however, the question is asked by a personality who stands out from the sundries of world literature because she listens to the “simple people”, records their individual patterns of speech and in the end combines them in a kaleidoscope of voices. The Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich approached “red”, “socialist man” and his ideas with this method and was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Now she is on the track of universal issues, interviewing her compatriots about love and relationships. A well-meant question, and difficult to answer. At one point she concludes that the book about death and age will probably be easier because people seem reluctant to talk about happiness. But of course that’s wrong. It’s amazing how the interviewees open up, whether happy or unhappy in love. They lie down in the beds of their deceased spouses for whom they danced the tango. They still rave about their partner’s grey KGB suit. They dedicate their life to a handicapped child that’s not their own. They go for walks that last hours and catch cystitis because a lavatory is nowhere to be found. Another kaleidoscope of an idea, another elegant cross section of (ex-Soviet) society.

Barbara Wurm
International Programme 2013
My Stolen Revolution Nahid Persson Sarvestani

Women who were tortured in Iranian prisons after the Shah was overthrown meet again for the first time to break their silence. Liberation through the power of art.

My Stolen Revolution

Documentary Film
Norway,
Sweden
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nahid Persson Sarvestani
Nahid Persson Sarvestani
Adam Norden
Nicklas Karpaty, Makan
Emil Engerdahl, Nahid Persson Sarvestani
The archive material in the opening sequence evokes life in Iran in the 1970s. Many people managed to “lead a normal life”, while the oppositional groups still fought the Shah side by side. The Shah was thrown over, “but the Islamists were better organised than us”. Nahid Persson Sarvestani was a leftist activist at the time. She escaped brutal detention, which meant torture, rape and mass executions, only by great luck and her brother Rostam’s help. Rostam himself was killed.
A stubborn feeling of guilt makes Nahid Persson Sarvestani bring some of the few survivors of the former movement together many years later. The suggestive power of the objects and works of art created in and through prison and the five women’s harrowing memories of a regime that is still in power today are juxtaposed with a very personal approach and a discourse reflecting private thoughts and questions. More than that, the director manages to depict a profound feeling of fellowship by confronting us with the moving stories of strong personalities who shook off the chador not only symbolically.

Claudia Lehmann



Film Prize "Leipziger Ring" 2013

International Programme 2014
Penthouse North Johanna St Michaels

Agneta, a Swedish model in 1970s New York. Hipness, fame, money and beauty descend into dementia and old age poverty. A vintage style farewell to Manhattan.

Penthouse North

Documentary Film
Sweden
2014
83 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Johanna St Michaels
Johanna St Michaels
Matt Johnson, The The
Johanna St Michaels
Bernhard Winkler
Erik Bjerknes, Henrik Ohlin
One should have feathered one’s nest at 62, if only to be able to withstand the hostilities of old age. But what if life is as alluring and seductive as in 1970s New York – who wants to think of being old and weak one day then? Agneta Eckemyr was 20 when she came to the city: a blonde Swedish bombshell, determined to make her way as a model and actress. Successfully. But then her lucky chip somehow crumbled in the reality of this tough city. What’s left is a penthouse on Central Park. And here’s the rub: the apartment is a mere illusion. The address signals a success that doesn’t exist. There is no income to pay the rent. The former star fights all the more stubbornly for this residue of her old life, but her strength is waning. Agneta is more and more dependent on friends who lend her money, help at home and try in vain to persuade her to give up the apartment. Her resistance against the mere idea is only later explained by the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The director’s original plan was to adapt an autobiographical screenplay written by Agneta. The result is a poignant film about the transience of beauty, growing old in poverty, friendship and solidarity.
Matthias Heeder

Pervert Park

Documentary Film
Denmark,
Sweden
2014
75 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Frida Barkfors, Anne Köhncke
Frida Barkfors, Lasse Barkfors
Julian Winding
Lasse Barkfors
Signe Rebekka Kaufann, Lasse Barkfors
Frida Barkfors, Lasse Barkfors
Frida Barkfors, Frank Mølgaard Knudsen
Sexual offenses are surely among the most horrible things people can do to each other. There seems to be a broad social consensus on how to deal with the offenders. In the U.S. their photos are posted publicly. When they have served their prison sentence they are not allowed to live near places regularly frequented by children. Only social projects like the one in Florida portrayed by Frida and Lasse Barkfors help them deal with their crimes and find their way back to life. In tranquil images the directors record the daily life of this “gated community”, getting very close to some of the roughly 120 men and women who live there. Harrowing and very different stories unfold in concentrated intimacy, some of them about violence and abuse and a lifelong struggle for dignity and human warmth, some of them the stories of lives thrown off track. They are all about how to deal with one’s crime and how to live with it.

But we also meet people who have been caught in a system that, in a mixture of social hysteria and a profit-oriented legal system, has turned the punishment of alleged sexual offenders into a perfidious business model. This film makes one re-consider the term “pervert”.

Grit Lemke
International Programme 2016
Reflections Sara Broos

A 1968 Swedish picture book idyll, the mother a successful painter, the daughters model children. A delicate reflection about inner abysses and family, art and bulimia.

Reflections

Documentary Film
Sweden
2016
76 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sara Broos
Sara Broos
Pelle Ossler
Billie Mintz Hampus Linder
Sara Broos
Peter Mettler, Esteban Rivera
Sara Broos
Patrik Strömdahl
“There’s a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” These lyrics by Leonard Cohen quoted by Sara Broos in her film outline the fragile self image she shares with her mother. And yet all her life her mother has been unreachable. The successful Swedish painter Karin Broos has built a bulwark of domestic routine, perfect make-up and above all her photorealist paintings against chaos, against her dark thoughts. Her three daughters, too, became motifs in her paintings which resemble frozen moments.

If Sara now directs and films her mother it’s still bound to remain an approach only. But her stylised images in which the Swedish picture book idyll always hints at its own shadows are like the surface of a dark pond, mirroring what the two women share. Interweaving diary entries, photos and narrow-gauge films from the family archive she creates the double portrait of two women whose severity against themselves takes both mother and daughter through long years of bulimia. A poetic reflection about melancholy and the quest for inner freedom, but above all about the relationship between art and life.

Lars Meyer

Second Class

Documentary Film
Lithuania,
Sweden
2012
60 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall, Marta Dauliūtė
Marta Dauliūtė, Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall
Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall
Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall
Thomas Jansson
The balancing act that filmmakers meeting their protagonists have to perform is well-known as a path strewn with snares, frustration and surprises. Patience is the prime virtue and a certain degree of empathy also helps. Marta Dauliūté and Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall meet a group of young Lithuanian men aboard a “Swede ferry” and decide to make a film about these migrant workers. The men refuse, mostly because they do not understand what’s interesting enough about them for two women to fill a whole film with. They don’t want to confirm the stereotype of the migrant worker and feel no inclination to feed the media-induced sympathy machine. A documentary about earthquakes, that’s something they could understand. But about them?
Marta and Elisabeth are not deterred; they drink and dance with the men – and despite their initial resistance, their “subjects of study” gradually begin to acquiesce. Despite their aggressive refusal and stereotypical macho behaviour, the women with the camera manage to scratch their facades after a while and expose – disguised as flirty posing – their innermost thoughts. The result is an attentive study that lays bare a whole series of current social injustices while also providing a clever commentary on the specifically female look at a male object.

Lina Dinkla
International Competition Animadoc (2015-2017) 2016
The Bus Trip Sarah Gampel

Driving through Israel in a bus full of film students – a great opportunity. But Sarah’s attempts to learn more about the occupied territories and discuss the Palestinian conflict isolate her from the group.

2016

The Bus Trip

Animadoc
Sweden
2016
14 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Sarah Gampel
Sarah Gampel
Rickard Age, Patric Simmerud
Sarah Gampel, Teitur Ardal
Sarah Gampel
Sarah Gampel
Sarah Gampel
Mikael Månsson
Driving through Israel in a bus full of film students – a great opportunity. But Sarah’s attempts to learn more about the occupied territories and discuss the Palestinian conflict isolate her from the group. She starts a dialogue with her dead father instead, a Polish Jew who fled the anti-Semitic campaigns of the early 1970s and went to Sweden. The animated reflections are superimposed over the documentary images through which a journey into family history becomes visible.

Lars Meyer


Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award
International Programme 2014
The Dogwalker Caroline Ingvarsson

Old man with dog. A flat filled with memories: of former theatrical fame and men with whom happiness was not possible. A small exercise in loneliness.

The Dogwalker

Documentary Film
Sweden
2014
13 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Caroline Drab
Caroline Ingvarsson
Alice Boman
Benjamin Zadig
Dan Persson
Johan Hansson
Loneliness has many names, for example that of the Swedish former actor Lars-Gunnar, whom we meet reviewing his life in a monologue that’s fit for the stage, leisurely clad in a dressing gown. Posters on the walls of his modest modern flat advertise his former fame in the theatre world. Now his only listener is his dog and his greatest pleasure is smoking. Gradually the outlines of a life emerge whose protagonist failed in love and has no apparent success to show for but who has steadfastly refused to bow to convention. Is this the price you pay at old age? Lars-Gunnar has charisma and is definitely not a bore. He mentions his homosexuality quite casually and in passing. Director Caroline Ingvarsson follows her protagonist over the course of a day – and one feels that his days are all the same. She gives him the space this showboater needs. Her short film is a straight portrayal of a meeting with a jack of all trades who always gambled for high stakes and could have come out of a Jim Jarmusch film – in short: an impressive character.
Cornelia Klauß

The Dybbuk. A Tale of Wandering Souls

Documentary Film
Poland,
Sweden,
Ukraine
2015
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Krzysztof Kopczyński, David Herdies, Gennady Kofman
Krzysztof Kopczyński
Jacek Petrycki, Serhiy Stefan Stetsenko
Michał Leszczyłowski
Krzysztof Kopczyński
Mateusz Adamczyk, Marcin Lenarczyk, Sebastian Witkowski
Right at the start, an excerpt from the Yiddish-language Polish 1930s classic “The Dybbuk” opens an old wound: the world of the shtetl with its old folk beliefs has vanished. But the spirit of the dead, the Dibbuk, is still walking among us. And it has many faces.

We re-emerge from the past to find ourselves in the Ukrainian town of Uman just before “Euromaidan”. A sacred place for thousands of orthodox Jews who make the pilgrimage to the grave of the Hassidic rabbi Nachman and transform the town, annoying the Ukrainian citizens who are afraid of a sell-out and react with provocations. Sometimes it’s an illegally raised cross, sometimes an information board in honour of the anti-Semitic Cossack leader and butcher Ivan Gonta. Or, rather more subtly, extra fees for kosher snacks.

The worlds clash on many levels. With great curiosity, Krzysztof Kopczyński captures the almost incompatible legends and rituals that come alive on both sides. On the one hand a completely impoverished country in the process of finding its identity, accompanied by nationalistic overtones. On the other hand a lost tradition and the experience of the Holocaust. Who owns the country? The film mines a wealth of material full of impressions, rough scenes and fables to bring the unexpected to light.

Lars Meyer
International Programme 2018
Vox Lipoma Jane Magnusson, Liv Strömquist

Must great artists be flawless as persons? And if the opposite is the case: what does that take away from their art? An animated portrait of director Ingmar Bergman.

Vox Lipoma

Animated Film
Sweden
2018
11 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Cecilia Nessen
Jane Magnusson, Liv Strömquist
Lars Kumlin, Jonas Beckman
Johan Sonestedt, Paulina Brink, Veronica Wallenberg, Aurora Febo, Henrik Stensnäs, Sanny Serinkaya Vestmalm
Jane Magnusson, Liv Strömquist
Annika Hedlund
Must great artists be flawless as persons? Upright art lovers may prefer it, but sometimes the world just doesn’t work this way. While we ordinary mortals have only a tiny little voice that just won’t stop whispering in our ear that we could be better persons (if only we wanted!), Ingmar Bergman has a talking lipoma on his right cheek – a terrible nuisance. At least as annoying as Ingmar himself. Animated blasphemy, as good as it gets!

Ralph Eue