Festivaldirektor Christoph Terhechte und Moderatorin Julia Weigl auf der Bühne bei der Festivaleröffnung 2023. Auf der Leinwand hinter ihnen ist eine riesige Schere abgebildet.

Our 66th festival edition has begun!

With the world premiere of the documentary film “White Angel – The End of Marinka” by Arndt Ginzel, our festival was opened on Sunday, 8 October at the CineStar theatre. This film documents evacuation and rescue operations in the small Ukrainian town of Marinka in the Donetsk region between the spring and autumn of 2022.

In his welcoming remarks, our festival director Christoph Terhechte emphasised the social and political relevance of the films that the festival is screening: “Not only is the war being waged against Ukraine a theme in several of the films in this year’s programme. Many of them also generally address the relationship between Russia and the now independent states that were once within the Soviet sphere of influence. The retrospective ‘Film and Protest: Popular Uprisings in the Cold War’ provides the historical perspective on this.”

Dr Skadi Jennicke, the City of Leipzig’s Deputy Mayor for Arts and Culture, emphasised the importance of DOK Leipzig in a time of uncertainty and the struggle for truth: “A clear commitment to facts, to the strength of the argument and to a critical debate that does not shy away from dissent. Defending these values also means defending our democracy. DOK Leipzig is a good venue for this. For the City of Leipzig, the festival is an indispensable highlight of the arts scene and an ambassador for Leipzig.”

Saxon Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Barbara Klepsch, who was unable to attend the opening, also expressed support for DOK Leipzig in her remarks: “The opening of the DOK festival begins a week-long international dialogue between representatives of the film industry and the audience, turning the eyes of the entire world to Leipzig and Saxony. The films that have been selected are not only entertaining; they also draw from current political discussions and take a critical look at the world in which we live.”

Markus Franke, head of the ministry’s arts division at the Saxon Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism announced the recipient of the Saxon Award for the Best Documentary Project by a Female Director, which is endowed with 5,000 euros.  The award went to the Belarusian filmmaker Daria Yurkevich for her project titled “GENESIS”. This film will portray a married couple who run a horse-farming collective and are doing everything they can to save the last remaining breed of Belarusian horses from extinction and release them into the wild.

We are screening 225 films and extended reality works from around 60 countries, including 44 world premieres, in eleven different venues until Sunday (15 October). From 9 to 15 October, one film per day will be available online for 24 hours throughout Germany in the DOK Stream.

“White Angel – The End of Marinka” will be in cinemas across Germany from 19 October.

Browse the Festival Programme