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International Programme 2015
A Baptism of Fire Jérôme Clément-Wilz

The lives of young war reporters who travel to crisis spots at their own expense and risk their lives to shoot the picture that will change everything. A precarious job.

A Baptism of Fire

Documentary Film
France
2015
58 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jérôme Caza – 2P2L
Jérôme Clément-Wilz
Jérôme Clément-Wilz
Ael Dallier Vega
Jérôme Clément-Wilz
Nowadays countless journalists and photographers are travelling the world to supply us with the latest news and images from conflict regions. Stories of heroic war reporters were often told in the cinema. Jérôme Clément-Wilz takes a different perspective: news journalism is an industry, too. Many freelance photographers, most of them young, travel to hotspots at their own expense – hoping to shoot the life-changing picture at the right place at the right time and sell it for a high price to the leading media or agencies. The film is an intimate observation of the lives of young French reporters that gives them the space to reflect on their work. Their dreams come true in the Arab Spring: their pictures make it to the cover pages of the biggest dailies. And yet Clément-Wilz avoids heroic pathos, concentrating instead on his young protagonists’ spirit of adventure and youthful recklessness on the one hand and on the tough business where there are no safety nets and where the ones who risk their lives most readily have the best chances of survival on the other. War reporter – a precarious job.

Zaza Rusadze
International Programme 2012
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 2015
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

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
Brumaire Joseph Gordillo

The last French coal miners in charismatic photos. The present day holds only precarious jobs for the young generation. The end of work in suggestive images.

Brumaire

Documentary Film
France
2015
66 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Juan Gordillo, Martine Vidalenc
Joseph Gordillo
Hervé Birolini
Laetitia Giroux
Dominique Petitjean
Cynthia Gonzalez
Sandrine Mercier, Christian Lamalle
When the last French coal mine in Lorraine was closed in 2004, Joseph Gordillo had already gone down many times with the miners to photograph them and capture his own fascination for this underground world in the pictures. He portrays the mine as a living cosmos the workers are part of. Even in individual portraits they stay a part of the whole. Their charisma is visible in their shining eyes, their strength in the group.

In his film Gordillo reworks the photographic material, reconstructing the age of mining through pans, processed images and abstract sound collages. A former miner lends his voice – a vivid field report and flow of thoughts.

But Gordillo’s theme is not work in the past but its social significance. And so he adds a second voice, that of a young woman, a miner’s daughter. She can still be proud of her father but no longer of herself. Her life as a cleaning woman in a town marked by decline is captured in its sterility and lack of perspective. The step away from the solidarity and identity of the miners leads directly into isolation. With noticeable consequences: de-politisation, unemployment, a shift to the right. In suggestive images, the film portrays the autumn of the work society over two generations.

Lars Meyer

C(us)todians

Documentary Film
Brazil
2013
89 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Antônio Jr.
Aly Muritiba
Elisandro Dalcin
João Menna Barreto, Aly Muritiba
Aly Muritiba
Alexandre Rogoski, João Menna Barreto
Jefferson Walkiu is the new chief superintendent of the “Alpha Team” of a Brazilian prison housing more than 900 inmates. Quite a dangerous job, for criminal organisations are active outside and inside the prison walls and the guards are badly equipped. Walkiu sets out with a lot of resolutions to professionalise his department. But the prison dynamics work against him.
The fact that there is only one nurse and three working handcuffs for all prisoners is only one of many challenges. Every day Walkiu has discussions with prisoners, employees and superiors who don’t feel bound by any rules. But even his permanent crisis management cannot avoid mishaps. All the more surprising is his apparently fulfilling double life as the minister of a small community. This is where the man who strives for constant control lets off emotional steam.
Daily life in prison from the guards’ perspective and the portrait of a man who wants to do it right and comes up against walls. Director Aly Muritiba worked in the Alpha Team for a long time and visibly knows his way around the high, narrow prison corridors. The long shots and systematic changes of perspective in his film create the impression of an increasing loss of control.

Lars Meyer



Healthy Workplaces Film Award 2013

Cloudy Mountains

Documentary Film
China
2012
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Han Lei, Documentary Channel, Shanghai Media Group (SMG)
Zhu Yu
Liu Zhifeng
Han Lei
Shen Hancun
When they sit together slurping noodles after work they like to joke around. They perform imaginary dances and take heart-warming care of an injured bird. The Chinese miners at Lop Nut get fairly good wages by local standards, but they pay a high price. Dust swirls up, turns into clouds that float over the landscape and at last settle on everything like an inch-thick woollen carpet. This asbestos mining region was largely depopulated. It looks like a smoking apocalyptic volcanic landscape. For years the material that is now banned in Europe but supplies an immense demand for housing space in in China has been mined here. While more and more people in China profit from the construction boom, the asbestos workers live in tents right on the grounds. In his debut film, director Zuh Yu precisely exposes the unspeakable conditions in which the workers earn their pay – cut off from the outside world to which they are connected only by mobile phones. The youngest among them has just turned 17. But his focus gradually shifts to the people themselves, their bawdy humour and tough, cool phrases. Their tenacity and determination to keep going turn “Cloudy Mountain” into a great statement, one that addresses the human condition.

Cornelia Klauß



Honorary Mention in the International Competition Documentary Film 2012

International Programme 2012
Der Große Irrtum Dirk Heth, Olaf Winkler

Eggesin and elsewhere: committed people who work – without an income. The concept of citizen work reflected in a thoughtful and multilayered essay.

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 2012
Downeast

An entrepreneur and his employees try to get a fish factory running and fight the stranglehold of financial capital in a small US coastal town. A gripping story.

Downeast

Documentary Film
USA
2012
78 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Matthew Dougherty
David Redmon
David Redmon and Ashley Sabin
The region of Maine called “Down East” is also known as the “Lobster Coast” – and until the crisis reached it, the people there earned a good living by fishing and processing fish. But the last sardine cannery in the small town of Gouldsboro closed in 2010 and the workers – their proud average age 65 – have been unemployed ever since. Until the Italian-American businessman Antonio Bussone arrives in the coast town to make a new start with the core workforce in the old factory: “Live Lobster”. But while the eager and hopeful old ladies are putting on their white rubber aprons and stepping up to the assembly lines again, Antonio is faced not only with the narrow-mindedness and competitiveness of the town fathers, who are in the fishing business themselves. He is forced to rely more and more on the banks as he fights a losing battle for his “American Dream”.
David Redmon and Ashley Sabin lived among the people of Gouldsboro for one and a half years and became part of the process whose different actors they follow and grow close to. In the best American narrative tradition they develop a gripping story in which honest enterprise (“business is personal”) in alliance with the workers is fighting against faceless financial capital. The fight is not only about existences and a whole lot of money, but most of all about dignity. Down East is everywhere.
– Grit Lemke
International Programme 2012
Drivers Wanted

A small taxi company in Queens, its old boss and his drivers, daily routines and struggles for survival. Full of whacky Jewish humour – the common man’s Big Apple.

Drivers Wanted

Documentary Film
USA
2012
54 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Adam Crystal
Joshua Z Weinstein
Jean Tsien
The New York street system consists of 6174 miles of mostly asphalt roads and legend has it that a real Yellow Cab Driver knows this jungle like the back of his hand. The filmmakers Jean Tsien and Joshua Weinstein mixed with the colourful community of drivers, mechanics and office clerks working for a long-established taxi company in Queens to document that the original ideal of the common man’s Big Apple is still very much alive and present in this slightly seedy enterprise. They avoided the trap of producing a simple assertion of an idyllic or even paradisiacal situation, opting instead for a highly enjoyable demonstration of that unspectacular and delightful feeling described by Hemingway when he remembered an encounter with some craftsmen during a stay in Paris in the 1920s: “It was easier to think if I was walking and doing something or seeing people doing something that they understood.“ What’s left? The certainty that it can’t hurt to feel grateful for little things occasionally.
– Ralph Eue

El Gort

Documentary Film
Tunisia,
United Arab Emirates
2013
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hamza Ouni
Hamza Ouni
Mohamed Hakim Boujomaa, Hatem Nechi
Najwa Khechimi
Hassen Najar
This film vibrates with rage. Nothing was good, is good, will be good. This bitter truth surrounds the lives of Washwasha and Khairi like a wall. Both in their early 20s, dirt poor, no expectations of ever doing anything other than stacking, loading and unloading bales of hay for little money. Jobs? There are none in Tunisia. So they want to leave, go to Europe. But that, too, is only a dream.
“El Gort” traces the years from before the rebellion against Ben Ali to the first free elections, 2007 to 2012. But these events have no real meaning for the two of them. Washwasha was in prison during the revolution, Khairi went pillaging like most of the other residents of the city. Somehow the anger had to be vented. Nothing has changed except for the personnel, who cheat the poor exactly like the old regime. And the Islamic parties? F*** them!
The film translates this rage into a rough, immediate visual language that gives the narrative incredible momentum. Hard, rapid cuts, a restless, moving camera, no shot lingers over the beauty of the moment. Instead there’s a maximum of life which must be lived on and on. And that is the really amazing aspect of this first feature-length film by Hamza Ouni: its protagonists lucidly describe their situation without shirking responsibility for their actions.

Matthias Heeder



Talent Dove in the Young Cinema Competition 2014

Factory Complex

Documentary Film
South Korea
2015
95 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Min-kyung Kim
Heung-soon Im
Tae-won Lee
Sun-young Lee, Heung-soon Im, Gil-ja Kim, Yun-jeong Jee
Hak-min Lee
Min-kyung Kim
New hypes regularly make teenagers all over the world queue up for new sneakers. They have no idea that the women who make them can’t afford them. “I want to wear Nike shoes, too”, was the slogan when they started their struggle in the 1980s. The video artist Im Heung-soon, whose mother worked in a textile factory, makes them visible: an army of worker ants who built the foundations of South Korea’s meteoric rise to economic power and who paid for this with their health and often their lives. Im Heung-soon draws a connection to today’s globalised consumer worlds where it’s the women again who keep things going in textile factories, the electronics industry, super markets, call centres or the service industry, who earn a pittance and always wear a friendly smile. He interweaves this ruthless and sober chronicle of exploitation, told in interviews, with surrealist experimental performances which individualise the pain of those who are usually seen as a mass or as human capital first and foremost.

Im Heung-soon won the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennial for his moving work which oscillates between art and documentation. It would be even better to spare a thought for the women from “Factory Complex” before the next mobile phone is purchased. And to question the purchase in the first place.

Grit Lemke
International Programme 2014
Harvest Paul Lacoste

Every year, a colourful bunch of utterly diverse characters meet to pick grapes near Toulouse. An unusual look at a precarious job between poverty and self-determination.

Harvest

Documentary Film
France
2014
82 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Didier Creste
Paul Lacoste
Yvan Quehec
Anthony Brining
The scene: a small wine-growing region to the east of Toulouse. The time: mid-September. The cast: a company of about 15 women and men – “short service volunteers” for the few weeks of the wine harvest, armed with shears and buckets. The group has fanned out among the vines of a medium-sized grower in the Gaillac region. The statistics list them as harvest hands; the sociological term for them is “precariously employed”. The protagonists themselves, however, would qualify this imputation. Accepting it would mean handing over a big part of their pride. This attitude may be called unrealistic, but that’s precisely what director Paul Lacoste seems to be interested in: what people do and what they literally embody because of it rather than the opinions they express. The film still demonstrates almost casually how massively the insecurity of such an existence is inscribed into the protagonists’ behaviour. They all feel constrained by the unvoiced pressures of their situation. They may have more or less talent in suppressing such emotional and mental insights – but their objective effects can hardly be denied.

Ralph Eue



Healthy Workplaces Film Award 2014

International Programme 2012
Mama Illegal Ed Moschitz

A long-term observation of Moldavian women, illegal and without rights, working cleaning and nursing jobs in Western Europe, and their children, who grow up without their mothers. A tragedy.

Mama Illegal

Documentary Film
Austria
2011
95 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ed Moschitz
Gailute Miksyste
Sandra Merseburger
Alexandra Löwy
Ed Moschitz
Lenka Mikulova
Dirty clothes are scattered along the railway tracks, thrown there by those who stowed away under freight trains to escape the poverty of Moldavia. The unemployment rate is 80 percent, a third of the population have already left the country. Today it’s mostly the women who leave to work as illegal cleaners or caregivers in the West, with no health insurance and no rights. The smugglers are expensive and the risk of being caught is high, so they stay away for years. They do the jobs no one else wants to do and earn little money. But the plan doesn’t work because once abroad they change; want to live like the people whose homes they are cleaning while their children are waiting at home and the fathers are baking the bread. Ed Moschitz accompanied three of those women for seven years. This remarkably long period of time, which the film fought for, enables us to look at all angles. The children’s alienation from mothers they only know through Skype, the men’s disappointment when their wives mock their housekeeping, and the conflict of the guest workers who have no documents in the West and can’t find their way back home. The film is a passionate appeal to politicians to create a legal framework for these realities. The look at a classroom in a Moldavian village school, where almost all the children are “motherless”, ought to be motivation enough.
– Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2014
Mar de Fons Bruno López, Florencia Luna

A father, a son, a fishing boat and the polluted coast off Barcelona. The death of a tradition and the disease of civilisation. A short novel with charisma.

Mar de Fons

Documentary Film
Spain
2014
30 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sergi Casamitjana, Escac Films
Bruno López, Florencia Luna
Julián Sánchez
Florencia Luna, Dídac Sáez
Bruno López, Dídac Sáez
Bruno López, Florencia Luna
Yago Flaquer, Mar Rosselló
“Another bad day!” This is what it sounds like when Catalan fishermen meet. The fish die-off and the pollution in the greater Barcelona area hit them hard. Ramón Costa has seen dramatic changes in his long career. This doesn’t refer to the fact that he made it from rowing boat to motorboat owner – no: Only six of the 100 fishing boats of his native village of Badalona are left. One of them belongs to Ramón. But he, too, is thinking about giving up his small family business, especially since he is worried about his eldest son. Opening a beach bar would be more profitable. The younger son, having at last emerged from adolescence, encourages him, that’s true. But junior is a stubborn smart-aleck.
All these problems accumulate in the narrow space of the fishing boat when father and son go out to sea. The film has all the ingredients of a short novel, telling a story of restless men, the death of tradition and the disease of civilisation and revolving around a charismatic main character: Ramón is a passionate storyteller and a father who makes touching efforts to stay connected to his sons, even if they grew up in a completely different age than he did.
Lars Meyer
International Programme 2014
Marmato Mark Grieco

In the Colombian village of Marmato international corporations are fighting for the gold in the mountain and the locals for their existence. A globalisation thriller with strong characters.

Marmato

Documentary Film
Colombia,
USA
2014
88 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Stuart Reid, Mark Grieco
Mark Grieco
Todd Boekelheide
Mark Grieco
Ricardo Acosta, Mark Grieco
Noah Conti
Mark Grieco, Stuart Reid
Bob Edwards
Every day Dumar says goodbye to his wife and kids in a long ceremony of kisses and blessings as if it was the last time. Equipped with the spiritual protection of his family and the religious protection of the statue of a Jesus with outstretched arms that looks over the green mountains of Colombia from the town of Marmato, he enters the gold mine. For over 500 years, the locals have been digging and blasting narrow tunnels into a mountain that threatens to collapse any minute. But the miners have nothing but gold, even though they are the ones who profit least from it. There has been an international gold rush going on here since the government opened the gates to foreign corporations in 2006. It’s to be the end of the ancient methods. A Canadian company wants to strip-mine the mountain, allegedly in a socially and ecologically sustainable manner. But what will become of Marmato? The battle for one of the biggest gold deposits in the world has begun.
Mark Grieco followed the complex disputes surrounding the exploitation of the mountain, the existence and identity of the natives for six years in a film that has already garnered a number of awards. As tightly plotted as a suspense novel – and with fairly novelistic characters – he tells a tale of growing resistance against globalisation. The current gold rate, burned into the tunnel walls, delivers the comment on the various situations and an old balladeer in a cowboy hat picks his ironic songs on his guitar.
Lars Meyer
International Programme 2013
Men at Work Kesang Tseten

A boy at play, a mechanic, a Buddhist Monk, and a soldier in training – masculinity, work, and social environments in Nepal, quietly and precisely observed.

Men at Work

Documentary Film
Nepal
2013
66 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kesang Tseten
Kesang Tseten
Arjun Sen
Gairik Sarkar, Kesang Tseten
Sankha Biswajit, Kesang Tseten
Kesang Tseten
Sukanto Majumdar
Kesang Tseten, a documentary filmmaker from Nepal who had two films at DOK Leipzig before, has united several films in one this time. In four stylistically and dramatically diverse episodes, he examines everyday life and work processes. They revolve around the theme of “Men at Work” in a mixture of meditation, interview, observation, and investigation.
There’s an observation of a boy on a terrace who is dedicatedly washing laundry while he frequently casts curious glances at a few other boys who are playing football. The next location is a garage where old car bodies that have really seen better days are welded together and polished with stoic patience. Kesang Tseten takes us to a priests’ school next, to which mostly boys from poor families are sent to prepare for their lives as priests. Hard work and suppressed tears are their daily bread.
Last in this round is a look at a post-colonial relic, the Ghurkha. Many young Nepalese men still regard it as the highest honour to be recruited as a soldier of the British armed forces: not just a job, a mission.

Lina Dinkla