Film Archive

Filmpreis Leipziger Ring 2015
Black Sheep Christian Cerami

Two brothers from a suburb in Northern England come under the influence of the right-wing “English Defence League”, known for its vociferous anti-Islam stance.

Black Sheep

Documentary Film
UK
2015
16 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Alex Sedgley
Christian Cerami
Simon Plunkett
Samuel Haskell
Vicky Harris

Two brothers from a suburb in Northern England come under the influence of the right-wing “English Defence League”, known for its vociferous anti-Islam stance. What starts as curiosity becomes a trip into the world of tough boys with outspoken attitudes for the older one and a nightmare for the 13-year-old Jack. With a feature-film-like camera the director captures the battle of wills between more than two different characters with impressive precision. Cornelia Klauß


German Competition 2015
Café Waldluft Matthias Koßmehl

Now that the Italian tourists no longer come refugees live in this hotel in the idyllic Bavarian Alps. Their lives intersect, sometimes as comedy, sometimes as tragedy. A different kind of “Heimatfilm”.

Café Waldluft

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
79 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Matthias Koßmehl
Matthias Koßmehl
André Feldhaus
Bastian Esser
Andreas Nicolai
Matthias Koßmehl
Till Wollenweber
Tourists used to come by the busload for their place in the sun at the beautiful Café Waldluft, at least during their well-earned holidays. For the past two years, though, the long-established hotel in Berchtesgaden with its view of the “fateful mountain” of the Germans, the Watzmann and its foothills, has accommodated guests from other regions of the world: they came from Syria, Afghanistan or Sierra Leone and have certainly not chosen this alpine idyll freely. Their stay as asylum seekers consists of endless waiting, tiring visits to administrative offices, being homesick and worrying about relatives.

The dynamics in the small town have also changed. But if Matthias Koßmehl opens his film with a traditional Bavarian costume parade in slow motion his only motive is to eliminate the expectations raised by this stereotype. Instead he takes a sober but open-hearted look at the encounters that actually happen in this strange place. There is Mama Flora, the owner, who trusts in God and takes care of each of her protégés, and there is the East German cook who has found her elective home here. Chance encounters with regulars or hikers and the everyday coexistence at the house match a whole range of intersecting lives. The Watzmann, covered in clouds or clearly visible, is always on the horizon. A documentary “Heimatfilm” in which the term home has many facets.

Lars Meyer



Award winner of the DEFA Sponsoring Prize 2015

German Competition 2015
Der Kuaför aus der Keupstraße Andreas Maus

The NSU nail bomb attack that injured 22 people in Cologne in 2004, where only the victims were suspected later. Complex reconstruction of a scandal.

Der Kuaför aus der Keupstraße

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
92 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Herbert Schwering, Christine Kiauk
Andreas Maus
Maciej Sledziecki
Hajo Schomerus
Rolf Mertler
Maik Baumgärtner, Andreas Maus
Ralf Weber
Wednesday afternoon was deliberately chosen. There were a lot of customers in front of and in the brothers Özcan and Hasan Yildirim’s barbershop on 9 June 2004, when 700 three-inch carpenters’ nails turned into projectiles with a 250 metre range. 22 people were injured. The attack was infamous; the course of the investigations was equally scandalous: the victims were suspected. CCTV material was not analysed and Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily decisively ruled out a right wing background. It was only in 2001 that this crime was solved in the course of the revelations concerning the right wing extremist terrorist “National Socialist Underground” group. The trial continues until the present day.

Ten years after the Cologne nail bomb attack, director Andreas Maus focuses on giving a voice to those whom nobody wanted to hear for a long time. He deploys narrative strategies to establish a distance in order to expose how systematically matters were hushed up, suppressed and denied. Documentary and re-enacted material are interwoven, actors perform next to affected persons, spaces are reconstructed. Maus overwrites the hackneyed televised images with his own visual inventions. The camera stops, the look at the audience freezes. One is tempted to ask what exactly is supposed to come after the “culture of welcome”?

Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2015
Floating Life Haobam Paban Kumar

The fishermen of Lake Loktak in India have always lived on floating islands. Until the government ordered their evacuation … A moving document of desperate resistance.

Floating Life

Documentary Film
India
2014
54 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Films Division
Haobam Paban Kumar
Sankha
Lake Loktak is the biggest freshwater lake in northeast India and unique because of its floating reed islands. For centuries, fishermen have used the floating biomass as building ground for their huts. But this ended in 2011, when the government decided to resettle the approximately 4,000 people living on the lake on the grounds that the fishermen were responsible for the increasing ecological pollution of Lake Loktak. During a first evacuation operation that year the police burned down 300 huts. Many of the people who subsequently left returned because they had no alternative.

About three years later, Haobam Paban Kumar started to follow the events on the lake in his film which won a number of awards in India. He shows a sure grasp of the fears and needs of the people as he starts by observing their busy lives. The events of 2011 are present everywhere, as is the island dwellers’ determination not to be driven out again – because the state is once more getting ready to drive away a traditional lifestyle for alleged higher interests. The film depicts the evacuation of the settlement in touching scenes. The fishermen and their families defend themselves with the power of desperation. Where they win the police withdraw – for the moment. Where the huts are burned down they rebuild them.

Matthias Heeder

Lampedusa in Winter

Documentary Film
Italy,
Austria,
Switzerland
2015
93 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jakob Brossmann
Jakob Brossmann
Serafin Spitzer, Christian Flatzek
Nela Märki

When the flood of refugees began to cross the Mediterranean, the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa became a projection screen for paranoid xenophobes and a symbol of an inhumane asylum policy. In the winter of 2014, theatre artist and filmmaker Jakob Brossmann travelled to the island to find out what life there is really like. The tourists and media are gone and the inhabitants’ real problems come to the fore: the old ferry, essential for their survival, burnt down and was replaced by an even older one. That’s why the fishermen go on strike. A group of refugees who have been stuck on the island for months want to cross to the mainland. They are on strike in front of the church. Because there’s no ferry, waste is piling up and food is running out. In the midst of this tense situation two women, the mayor and a dedicated lawyer, are fighting for humane solutions out of deep personal conviction. Brossmann’s observations are unobtrusive and precise. He confidently guides us through the events of this crisis while introducing places and people that are linked to the immigrants’ fate. What’s remarkable is that the inhabitants and refugees refuse to be instrumentalised against each other. Both groups are victims of the same cynical policies. Showing this clearly is the great strength of the film. Matthias Heeder


International Programme 2015
North Çayan Demirel, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu

Through wild Kurdistan: PKK fighters talk about their motives, their lives, their people, their right to resist. A film that takes a stance, banned in Turkey.

North

Documentary Film
Turkey
2015
96 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ayşe Çetinbaş
Çayan Demirel, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu
Koray Kesik
Burak Dal
Ahmet Bawer Aydemir
There was a considerable scandal at the Istanbul Film Festival 2015 which – see Internet censorship, see Taksim Square – was not really surprising: the screening of a film about the Kurdish PKK guerrilla had to be called off at short notice after the Turkish Ministry of Culture had intervened. “North” investigates issues of national identity, the history of the PKK, human rights and the role of women. The narrative is set against a backdrop of scenes from different PKK training camps in the mountainous border region between Turkey, Syria and Iraq, where the director met confident young people. Devoid of illusion in its depiction of the Kurds’ situation and very personal in the presentation of their motives, the film manages to link individual lives with ideas of home and the right to resistance in a credible and authentic manner. A second level expands this personal angle through political and historical evaluations by military and political PKK leaders. “North” is a political film that clearly takes a stance and describes self-determination as a universal human right. In a country where everyone who does not share the President’s opinion is a suspect that’s certainly a provocation. But what a paranoid response.

Matthias Heeder
International Programme 2015
Oriented Jake Witzenfeld

Young, cool, and gay: three Palestinians in Tel Aviv between long party nights and the struggle against exclusion from their own families, Arab society, and Israel.

Oriented

Documentary Film
Israel
2015
83 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jake Witzenfeld, Yoav Birenfeld
Jake Witzenfeld
Tamir Muskat
David Stragmeister, Michael Miroshnik, Omar Sawalha
Nili Feller
Jake Witzenfeld
Aviv Aldema
They are young and hungry for life, have academic degrees, their lifestyle is urban. Cool guys who want to prove that they represent a new generation. Khader, Fadi and Naeem have Israeli passports but consider themselves Palestinians first and foremost. They are also vegetarians, atheists and feminists. And most of all gay. While Naeem is still struggling with his coming out, Khader is a step further. His boyfriend is an Israeli. They are all outsiders, which unites them. Even if they can immerse themselves in the anonymity of long party nights in Tel Aviv, reality always catches up with them: a family who turn their backs and Israelis who are prejudiced against every Palestinian, straight or gay. The political conflict dominates everything.

British filmmaker Jake Witzenfeld followed his three friends over more than a year to get a look behind their cool facades. He makes them pose, arranges music clips, becomes part of their life, accompanies them on visits to their parents – and finds moments when the utopia of another life seems possible. In all the political and racist roaring and yelling the three friends seem like lambs.

Cornelia Klauß

The Dybbuk. A Tale of Wandering Souls

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

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

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

The Event

Documentary Film
Belgium,
Netherlands
2015
74 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sergei Loznitsa, Maria Choustova, Nicola Mazzanti
Sergei Loznitsa
Sergei Loznitsa, Danielius Kokanauskis
Sergei Loznitsa
Vladimir Golovnitski
As in earlier films, Sergei Loznitsa uses black and white archive material to reconstruct, if not construct, history. In this case images of the historic event that inaugurated the final collapse of the Soviet Union: the failed coup of 19 August 1991. People are standing in the streets of St. Petersburg, which was still called Leningrad then. The camera moves through the crowds, capturing faces whose expression is one of ignorance. They are all waiting, listening to the endless announcements.

Loznitsa’s ingenious artistic intervention happens on the soundtrack. During the three-day coup d’état, the national television of the USSR continuously broadcast – as usual in crisis situations – recordings of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake”. The director takes up the musical motif and uses it to divide his film into chapters. Radio reports are another narrative element which Loznitsa turns into a quasi comment that underlines the state of insecurity, not knowing and non-information. This is not a re-interpretation of history, though, but rather an attempt to pierce the surface of reality and look for possible interpretations – in the hope of gaining insights into how insurgencies and changes of power work in general.

Zaza Rusadze



Award winner of the Film Prize "Leipziger Ring"