Press Area

Press Area

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Das Festivalzentrum, viele Menschen sitzen an runden Tischen und trinken Kaffee
Welcome to the press area of DOK Leipzig! The press department supports journalists in reporting on the festival.

All year round we inform interested journalists about the latest news at DOK Leipzig. Please contact us and we will add you to our press mailing list.

On this page you will find our latest press releases. Visit our press download area if you need pictures of the festival or our logo.

 

Press Downloads

 

For your festival coverage you can also get accredited as reporting press. Accreditation for the 63rd edition of DOK Leipzig will be possible from summer 2020. You will find more information here shortly.

 

Contact:

Head of Press
Maria Preußner
presse [at] dok-leipzig [dot] de
+49 (0)341 30864 1070

 

Press releases and press comments 2020

For the first time, DOK Leipzig will have its own competition for feature-length animated films. A three-member jury will decide during the festival who will be awarded the Golden Dove. “In recent years, there have been excellent, artistic animated films that are suited to DOK Leipzig and that have the potential to find an enthusiastic audience here,” explains Christoph Terhechte, who assumed the position of managing and artistic director of DOK Leipzig in January 2020. In order to establish the festival as a platform for feature-length animated films, the programme team will be scouting out and inviting to Leipzig more and more feature-length animations in addition to short animated films.

The prestigious International Competition Long Film will, in the meantime, be expanded. The jury will also be enlarged from 3 to 5 persons. In addition to the Golden Dove, the jury members will award a Silver Dove for a feature-length documentary by an up-and-coming director. As part of this move, the Next Masters Competitions that have been held until now will be combined with the international competitions for feature-length and short films. “Promoting young talent is one of DOK Leipzig’s main priorities. Up-and-coming filmmakers as well as established directors should each be given their place in our international competitions,” says Terhechte.

The elaborate International Programme and the Late Harvest section will in future be combined and provided with new audience awards for short and feature-length films. Moreover, the section will be streamlined significantly.

The changes to the programme have the goal of creating a clear programme structure and avoiding overlaps between sections. “DOK Leipzig has developed rapidly in recent years, yet has always remained a laid-back place for watching films, discussing them and expanding one’s professional networks,” Terhechte states. “Following the steady growth of the festival programme in recent years, we will not least be focusing on consolidating in 2020.”

In this vein, this year’s programme of films will include some 200 works — compared to the more than 300 that were shown during each of the previous editions of the festival. Attendance at individual showings is expected to remain the same due to more repeat showings of the festival films. The special programmes, such as retrospectives and homages, will remain integral components of the festival, and collaborations with regional and national initiatives such as the DEFA Foundation and the Saxon State Archives are to continue. DOK Neuland, the exhibition of interactive and immersive works, will also continue.

“We wish to maintain the festival’s high standards of quality, seek out new forms of cinema at all times and offer a bountiful programme to audiences at DOK Leipzig. At the same time, we are working on not overburdening our audiences with the abundance of offers, but rather on presenting clearly defined programmes from which audiences can select,” the new festival director expounds.

DOK Leipzig will be held from 26 October to 1 November this year. Since 3 March, documentary and animated films of any length as well as interactive works can be submitted to the 63rd edition of DOK Leipzig.

 

Here’s an overview of the six competitions at DOK Leipzig 2020:

  • International Competition Long Documentary Film (long documentary films from 41 min)

The five-member international jury for this competition awards a Golden Dove for a long documentary, and a Silver Dove for a long documentary by an up-and-coming director (with up to three directorial works after completing their education).

  • International Competition Long Animated Film (long animated films from 41 min) 

The three-member international jury for this competition awards a Golden Dove for a long animated film.

  • International Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film (short documentary and animated films up to 40 min) 

The three-member international jury for this competition awards one Golden Dove each for a short documentary and a short animated film.

  • German Competition Long Documentary Film (long documentary films from 41 min)
  • German Competition Short Documentary and Animation Film (Short documentary and animated films up to 40 min)

The three-member jury of these two competitions awards a Golden Dove for a German long documentary film and a Silver Dove for a German short documentary or animated film.

  • Audience Competition Long and Short Documentary and Animated Film for the Leipzig Audience Award (documentary and animated films of all lengths) 

The prizes for long and short documentaries or animated films will be determined by audience vote following public screenings during the festival.

Press releases and press comments 2019
Red screen in a full cinema at the Opening of DOK Leipzig 2019. On the screen the festival motif.
Susann Jehnichen

The 62nd edition of DOK Leipzig ended with a bustling turnout. A total of 48,000 filmgoers and visitors came to the cinemas and festival events during the past week. Since Leena Pasanen became the festival director in 2015, annual attendance of the festival has hovered between 47,000 and 48,000.

“We’ve received extremely positive feedback from our filmmakers. Many of them were overwhelmed by the professionality and the relaxed atmosphere that the festival offered at the same time. Most of all, however, the filmmakers adored our audiences, whom they saw as particularly interested and focused,” says festival director Leena Pasanen.

The symposium held during DOK Leipzig for the first time was very well received. Some 900 people came to Leipzig’s Kupfersaal on two separate days to focus on the question “Who Owns the Truth?” Filmmakers such as Thomas Heise and Tamara Trampe as well as artists such as Helene Hegemann discussed with the audience the questions of how one can use the means of cinema to approach contentious individuals, whether there is a truth in narrative, and how power decides who is able to be heard in public. The symposium was subsidised by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, the German federal agency for civic education.

“With the symposium, we have created a space for productive discussion within an ongoing festival, and this is something we hope to be able to maintain in the coming years,” says Ralph Eue, who initiated the event.

A total of 24 prizes were awarded at the award ceremony on Saturday evening (2 November).

“The big winners of the evening were films that challenge the audience, that resonate for a long time and that adhere well to formal criteria,” says Pasanen. Three awards, the most to be received by a film that evening and including a Golden Dove, went to the film EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR by Lithuanian filmmakers Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius, who explored themes of guilt and atonement using the example of two criminal offenders serving life sentences. Two awards, also including a Golden Dove, went to the German entry STATUS AND TERRAIN by Ute Adamczewski, who documented places in Saxony that are no longer visibly recognizable as sites of persecution by the National Socialists in 1933.

More industry representatives than ever before attended the festival during the week of 28 October to 3 November to advance their film projects, expand their professional network and find ways of distributing their films worldwide. The industry section DOK Industry attracted some 2,000 film professionals from around the world.

“DOK Industry programme is rooted in the festival landscape as the place for creative documentaries from all over the world,” says DOK Industry’s director, Brigid O’Shea. “Our guests have in common many things, but the most important shared quality is their commitment to collaboration and curiosity. I want to thank all our partners and funders who make it possible to build such a wonderful collaborative event each year.”

A delegation from Croatia came to the festival. Eleven Croatian filmmakers were here, participating in panel discussions, networking and presenting films. This year’s country focus was on the post-Yugoslavian country and took place in collaboration with the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC).

“I’m very pleased that DOK Leipzig is attracting other organisers who, either at the festival or parallel to it, are carrying on discussions with experts, be they international platforms such as EAVE or national players such as AG DOK,” Pasanen adds.

For the first time, the interactive exhibition DOK Neuland was located in the Museum of Fine Arts. Some 2,800 attendees, including film fans as well as filmmakers from the region, discovered VR experiences and 360° films during the week of the festival. This year, as before, DOK Neuland received support from ARTE. On six evenings, DOK Leipzig attracted some 2,500 people to film screenings in the East Wing of Leipzig’s main railway station. This event was held in cooperation with the PROMENADEN Hauptbahnhof Leipzig and supported by IQ Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH and the DOK Leipzig Circle of Friends (Leipziger Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Filmkunst e.V.).

DOK Leipzig also attracted numerous young film fans. Not only the Kids DOK programmes drew crowds; as part of DOK Education, a school screening was held during the festival. Seven classes attended the screening of MYSELFIE by filmmaker Anne Scheschonk, which was sold out. For nearly an hour, the schoolchildren discussed the film, which follows a 12-year-old girl who loses all of her hair due to an illness. DOK Education is part of the DOK Nachwuchs programme and is realised in co-operation with the SLM.

The festival director concludes: “I’d like to thank all of our patrons, sponsors and partners for a successful DOK Leipzig 2019!”

This was the final festival under Leena Pasanen’s management. In 2020, Christoph Terhechte will succeed her as festival director. DOK Leipzig will be held from 26 October to 1 November next year.

Golden Dove awards in front of a red screen saying "Welcome to the Award Ceremony"
Unsere Goldenen Tauben
Susann Jehnichen

The award-winners of DOK Leipzig have been finalized. A total of 24 awards were presented during the gala award ceremony at the Kupfersaal in Leipzig.

The film EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR has been awarded the Golden Dove International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film. In this work, Lithuanian filmmakers Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius explore guilt and atonement as experienced by two convicted felons serving life sentences. When his brother is murdered, Audrius Mickevičius wonders whether there is a statute of limitations for guilt and whether anyone can really ever atone for murder. Before the film was completed, Audrius Mickevičius fell ill and died. Nerijus Milerius finished the project. In its statement, the jury said: “It’s at the darkest of times when we’re confronted with the worst that we discover our true selves and that the human spirit shines the brightest. With grace and dignity, the filmmakers take us on a unique and unexpected journey of redemption.” This film is a co-production of Lithuania, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Italy. The Golden Dove was sponsored by German public broadcaster Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR). Since 2018, the award-winning film in the International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film automatically qualifies for the OSCAR® in the category of documentary feature provided it fulfils the Academy’s formal criteria. EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR also received the International Critics Prize of FIPRESCI and the Prize of the Interreligious Jury, and thus with a total three awards the most honours of the evening.

The Golden Dove German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film has gone to the entry STATUS AND TERRAIN by Ute Adamczewski. The director films places in Saxony that people no longer notice were sites of persecution by National Socialists in 1933. Documents from that era and memoirs written after the war by persons affected are read in a voice-over. Among various reasons for its decision, the jury said: “This work is not only a very important documentary; it also comes with an extremely powerful artistic form.” This award was sponsored by Weltkino film distributors.

With the Golden Dove Next Masters Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film, recognition was bestowed upon SAFETY123, a film by Austrian filmmakers Julia Gutweniger and Florian Kofler. Shot in the Alps, this film explores a nearly invisible security system intended to protect people from natural disasters such as landslides, whose causes are not independent of human activity. The Golden Dove Next Masters Competition, sponsored by the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, serves as start-up funding for the directors’ next film project. Honourable mention was given to the Brazilian production ARID ZONE by Fernanda Pessoa.

In the International Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film, the Russian production PUBERTY by Elena Kondrateva has been awarded the Golden Dove for  best documentary and the Iranian short film AM I A WOLF? by Amir Houshang Moein has been awarded the Golden Dove for  best animated film. These winning films may also qualify directly for an OSCAR® (in the categories of short film and documentary short subject), provided they fulfil the Academy’s formal criteria. Honourable mention went to ASHO by Jafar Najafi, also an Iranian film.

The Golden Dove for Best Short Documentary and Animated Film has gone to the German-Ukrainian co-production OPERA GLASSES by Mila Zhluktenko. Honourable mention was given to THE LAST PAINTING by Tom Salt and GRAVEDAD by Matisse Gonzalez.

The Golden Dove Next Masters Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film has gone to the Ukrainian entry DEEP LOVE by Mykyta Lyskov. The two Golden Doves in the Next Masters Competitions, sponsored by the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, serve as start-up funding for the director’s next film project.

The Healthy Workplaces Film Award, sponsored by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), has gone to the Swiss production BIRD ISLAND by Maya Kosa and Sergio Da Costa, about a care station for injured wild birds.

The MDR Film Prize for an outstanding eastern European documentary film in the Official Selection has gone to the Polish-Slovakian co-production THE WIND: A DOCUMENTARY THRILLER by Michał Bielawski, about a force of nature known as the Halny wind, which badly affects people in southern Poland and intensifies their anxieties.

The Film Prize Leipziger Ring honours a documentary film about human rights, democracy or civic involvement. This award is sponsored by the Stiftung Friedliche Revolution. This year, the award went to Natalia Preston’s film GIRLS OF PAADHAI, about a shelter in southern India for teenage girls who resist an early arranged marriage. The audience determined the award-winner.

This year at DOK Leipzig, a total of 24 awards with a combined value of 82,000 euros were presented, including seven Golden Doves. Tomorrow (Sunday), the audience favourites from the week-long festival, known as the DOK Busters, will be screened again. Altogether, 310 films and interactive works will have been shown at the week-long festival ending on Sunday.

You’ll find information about the award-winning films in the Filmfinder on our website: https://filmfinder.dok-leipzig.de/en/

All of the jury statements and awards, including honourable mentions, are included in the attachment.

Stills from all films can be found at: presse.dok-leipzig.de
All of the images may be used free of charge when reporting on DOK Leipzig. On publication, please use as a photo credit DOK Leipzig 2019/“Name of director” unless otherwise indicated in the image file.

Logos, impressions of the festival, and this year’s festival motif can be found here: https://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/dok/presse/download

 

All 24 Awards at a Glance:

 

The Golden Dove International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film has been given to the film EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR by Lithuanian filmmakers Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius. This 10,000-euro award is sponsored by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. The prize was presented by Dr. Katja Wildermuth, programme director of Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk.

The 10,000-euro Golden Dove German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film, sponsored by Weltkino film distributors, has gone to the German production STATUS AND TERRAIN by Ute Adamczewski.

The Golden Dove Next Masters Competition, sponsored by the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, has gone to the Austrian-Italian co-production SAFETY123 by Julia Gutweniger and Florian Kofler. The 10,000-euro prize money serves as start-up funding for the directors’ next project. The award was presented by Martin Fiedler, the Media Foundation’s spokesperson for media and public relations. The Next Masters Competition is one of DOK Leipzig’s offers to new talent; it is made possible in cooperation with the Saxon State Authority for Private Broadcasting and New Media.

In the International Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film, the Golden Dove for Best Short Documentary has gone to the Russian production PUBERTY by Elena Kondrateva. The director is to receive 5,000 euros in prize money. The Golden Dove for Best Short Animated Film, also worth 5,000 euros, has been presented to the Iranian production AM I A WOLF? by Amir Houshang Moein. Honourable mention has gone to ASHO by Jafar Najafi, also an Iranian film.

The Golden Dove German Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film, which includes 5,000 euros in prize money, has been presented to the German-Ukrainian co-production OPERA GLASSES by Mila Zhluktenko. Honourable mention has gone to THE LAST PAINTING by Tom Salt and GRAVEDAD by Matisse Gonzalez.

The Golden Dove Next Masters Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film, which is sponsored by the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig and includes 5,000 euros in prize money, has gone to the Ukrainian entry DEEP LOVE by Mykyta Lyskov. This award was presented by Martin Fiedler, the Media Foundation’s spokesperson for media and public relations.

The Healthy Workplaces Film Award, which is sponsored by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and includes 5,000 euros in prize money, has gone to the Swiss production BIRD ISLAND by Maya Kosa and Sergio Da Costa. This award also includes subtitling in several European languages. Bruno Thiébaud from EU-OSHA came onstage to present the award.

The 3,000-euro MDR Film Prize, awarded to an outstanding eastern European documentary film in the Official Selection, has gone to the Polish-Slovakian co-production THE WIND: A DOCUMENTARY THRILLER by Michał Bielawski. The award was presented by Dr. Ulrich Brochhagen, head of MDR’s editorial department for history, documentaries and eastern Europe.

The recipient of the Filmpreis Leipziger Ring, sponsored by the Stiftung Friedliche Revolution and valued at 2,500 euros, was determined by counting audience votes. This award has gone to the German entry GIRLS OF PAADHAI by director Natalia Preston. The award was presented by Rolf Sprink, member of the board of trustees of the Stiftung Friedliche Revolution.

The DEFA Sponsoring Prize for an outstanding long German documentary film in the German and International Competition, which includes 4,000 euros in prize money, has been given to Itay Marom for the Israeli-German production RESONANCE. The award was presented by Philip Zengel from the DEFA Foundation in Berlin.

The ver.di Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness has gone to Ute Adamczewski for her film STATUS AND TERRAIN. This 2,500-euro award is presented to a film in the German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film. Honourable mention was given to A QUIET RESISTANCE by Therese Koppe.

The Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize for the best long German documentary film (75 minutes or longer) in the Official Selection, along with the purchase of the licence, subtitling in as many as eight languages and 2,000 euros in prize money, has been presented to IN THE NAME OF SCHEHERAZADE OR THE FIRST BEERGARDEN IN TEHRAN by Narges Kalhor.

The Prize of the Interreligious Jury has gone to EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR by Lithuanian filmmakers Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius. This 2,500-euro award is sponsored jointly by the Interreligious Roundtable Leipzig and by VCH-Hotels Deutschland GmbH – im Verband Christlicher Hoteliers e.V., including Hotel MICHAELIS in Leipzig.

The FIPRESCI jury has awarded the International Critics Prize in the International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film to EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR by filmmaker Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius.

The Young Eyes Film Award, worth 2,000 euros and sponsored by Leipziger Stadtbau AG, has been presented to WHERE WE BELONG by Jacqueline Zünd. This prize is awarded by the Youth Jury in cooperation with Filmschule Leipzig e.V. to a film in the Official Selection. Peggy Valenta from Leipziger Stadtbau AG presented the award.

The DOK Neuland Award for an outstanding project in the exhibition of interactive works, valued at 1,000 euros and sponsored by DREFABRIK, has gone to the 360° film 4 FEET: BLIND DATE from Argentina by María Belén Poncio and Damián Turkieh. The DREFABRIK jury presented the award.

The mephisto 97.6 Audience Award for best animated film in the Official Selection was determined by counting audience votes. The award went to the German-Russian production TIES by Dina Velikovskaya. It was presented by Janick Nolting and Max Hemmann.

The Gedanken-Aufschluss Prize has gone to the Austrian film ROBOLOVE by director Maria Arlamovsky. The award is presented by a jury comprised of teenage and young-adult offenders at the Regis-Breitingen Juvenile Detention Centre to a film nominated to DOK im Knast. Art therapists Stefan Lohrke and Julia Nietzer were onstage at the award ceremony.

As part of the industry platform DOK Industry, five awards were presented during the festival week.

The 5,000-euro Development Prize for the Best Female Director of the Saxon State Minister for the Arts was presented for the first time during the opening ceremony of DOK Leipzig by Dr. Eva-Maria Stange, Saxon State Minister for Science and Art. The honour went to the South African project BLACK WOMEN AND SEX by director Godisamang Khunou. Honourable mention was given to the South Korean project MY MISSING AUNT by director Juyeon Yang.

The Current Time TV Development Award honours an outstanding documentary film project from central or eastern Europe. This 2,000-US dollar award is presented by DOK Leipzig and Russian broadcaster Current Time TV. The award went to Giedrė Žickytė for the Lithuanian-German project IRENA.

The EWA Women’s Talent Development Award is presented to the best documentary film project by a female director in the Circle Women’s Doc Accelerator. It includes 1,000 euros and mentoring by EWA members and DOK Leipzig. This year, the award was split. The financial support was given to the Ukrainian production BETWEEN TWO WARS by Alina Gorlova, while the mentoring was offered to Anna Savchenko for the project 72 HOURS, a co-production of Belgium, France and Belarus.

The Zonta Club Leipzig Elster Female Talent Development Prize is a travel scholarship of up to 1,000 euros to help a female producer or director expand her network and develop her career. This year, the scholarship was awarded to South African director Godisamang Khunou, enabling her to participate in the DOK Co-Pro Market with her project BLACK WOMEN AND SEX.

The D-Facto Motion Work-in-Progress Prize was awarded for the first time. This award, which includes 10,000 euros’ worth of post-production services, is given to an outstanding documentary film project that has been presented at DOK Preview Germany. This year, the award went to Christoph Eder’s project WHO OWNS MY VILLAGE.

You’ll find information about all of DOK Leipzig’s juries here:

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/festival/wettbewerbe/jurys

Portrait of Festival Director Christoph Terhechte with amber-coloured glasses, grey hair, a grey jacket in front of a grey wall.
Susann Jehnichen

Christoph Terhechte will be artistic director of DOK Leipzig as well as managing director of Leipziger Dok-Filmwochen GmbH effective 1 January 2020, the Leipzig City Council resolved on Wednesday (30 Oct. 2019). Christoph Terhechte is being given a five-year contract. He will succeed Leena Pasanen, who will be leaving the festival after five years.

Journalist and film critic Christoph Terhechte is currently artistic director of the Marrakech International Film Festival. From 2001 to 2018, he served as director of the International Forum of New Cinema at the Berlinale, which he developed into one of the major international centres of independent artistic cinema. Christoph Terhechte was born in Münster in 1961. He studied political science and journalism in Hamburg and was a film critic in Paris and Berlin.

The 62nd edition of DOK Leipzig, one of the leading festivals for documentary and animated film, is currently being held up to and including 3 November. The festival is showing a total of 310 films and interactive works.

A lot of old white men sitting around a table and talking to each other during the World Economic Forum.
The Forum by Marcus Vetter

DOK Leipzig had its ceremonial opening on Monday (28 Oct.), attended by some 700 people, with the world premiere of the film THE FORUM. The film team of the opening film was represented by director Marcus Vetter and the team of gebrueder beetz filmproduktion, along with one of the film’s protagonists: Murat Sönmez, leading board member of the World Economic Forum, went on stage with the filmmakers.

Festival Director Leena Pasanen moderated the event, emphasising the opening film’s significance: “THE FORUM not only offers an exclusive look behind the scenes of this powerful inner circle; it also deals with the necessity of maintaining a dialogue. In these times, that’s something we need more urgently than ever,” Pasanen said. “But we don’t just want to discuss the topics raised by our opening film. During our two-day symposium, we want to engage with each other and discuss crucial films.”

Alongside Leena Pasanen, the speakers at the opening ceremony included Dr Eva-Maria Stange, the Saxon State Minister for Science and the Arts, and Dr Skadi Jennicke, the mayor and cultural alderman of the City of Leipzig.

In her opening remarks, State Minister Dr Eva-Maria Stange emphasised the festival’s values and talked about the commitment to equality of opportunity that the Saxon State Ministry for Science and the Arts and DOK Leipzig share: “Founded as a pan-German festival and the largest of its kind in Germany, DOK Leipzig became part of the European cultural scene after only a few years and soon began to have an international impact. For more than 60 years, DOK Leipzig has stood for qualities that unite people and for strengthening commonalities. To this day, the festival has carried on this tradition, and I expressly support the unequivocal position of the makers of DOK Leipzig towards the values that largely define the festival programme: democracy, freedom, tolerance and solidarity. This year, more than 50 per cent of the directors in the Official Selection are female, and I am pleased that, for the first time, we will be able to award the Development Prize for the Best Female Director of the Saxon State Minister for the Arts.”

Dr Stange presented the 5,000-euro Development Prize to the award-winner during the opening ceremony. Receiving the honour was the South African project BLACK WOMEN & SEX by director Godisamang Khunou. Honourable mention went to the South Korean project MY MISSING AUNT by director Juyeon Yang. Considered for the award were projects by female directors which had been selected for the DOK Co-Pro Market. A panel of judges had decided on a winner immediately prior to the festival. The award is sponsored by the Saxon State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts.

Festival Director Leena Pasanen thanked Dr Stange and the State Ministry for their commitment. “Establishing gender equality in the film industry is very important to us. I’d like to thank Dr Stange for not only being on our side on these issues, but for being a driving force. With the support of the State Ministry, we have also been working to make the festival more accessible to the disabled.” During the course of the opening ceremony, Leena Pasanen also thanked the mayor and cultural alderman: “In spite of some differences we’ve had in working with the city, Skadi Jennicke has always been on the side of the festival throughout the years and has supported DOK Leipzig through her interest in the work of the team.”

Until Sunday (3 Nov.), DOK Leipzig is showing a total of 310 works from 63 countries. During the course of the festival week, some 2,000 international industry professionals are expected to attend. In her remarks, mayor and cultural alderman Dr Skadi Jennicke emphasised the significance of this year’s selection of films and thanked Leena Pasanen for her work as festival director: “In just a few days, in 310 films and interactive works, DOK Leipzig is shedding light on the pressing issues of the day. I believe that documentary film is the art form of the moment. It forces us to take a look and to precisely observe details. I thank Leena Pasanen for the fact that she has used her grasp of the issues of the day to help the festival continue to make a name for itself and to open itself further to urban society. Each year, DOK Leipzig welcomes numerous international guests, who along with the people of Leipzig make the festival a place to pause and reflect deeply.”

Parallel to the world premiere at CineStar 8, THE FORUM was also screened in the East Hall (Osthalle) of Leipzig’s Central Station, with the film team attending. This event was held in cooperation with the PROMENADEN Hauptbahnhof Leipzig and supported by IQ Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH and the DOK Leipzig Circle of Friends (Leipziger Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Filmkunst e.V.).

The Golden Doves and further festival awards will be presented at the award ceremony on Saturday evening. DOK Leipzig 2019 is Leena Pasanen’s final edition as festival director.

Laurel leaves in black on a white backround. DOK Leipzig Official Selection 2019 written between the laurel leaves.
DOK Leipzig

This year, DOK Leipzig is presenting 310 films and interactive works from 63 countries. Altogether, 3,000 films were considered, of which 161 have made it into the festival’s Official Selection.

"The diversity we bring to Leipzig through our film selection is a special quality of our festival, whether it comes in the form of thematic variety or multi-layered perspectives,” says festival director Leena Pasanen. "But we’re not concentrating purely on the scale of the assortment. Instead, we aim to showcase a wide spectrum of artistic documentary films from around the world in all their facets.”

In the films in its various programmes and competitions, DOK Leipzig is turning the spotlight on global politics, on the image of women in contemporary society, on stories of families and on political depravity. Media phenomena such as fake news and whistleblowing, as well as murders committed by far-right extremists in Germany, are on the minds of filmmakers, as are environmental degradation and the effects of global economic processes that, in many places, are leading to an overexploitation of human and natural resources.

“It came about almost organically that the grand subjects and issues of current global affairs are reflected in the films in our programmes. Nonetheless, we don’t regard our festival first and foremost as a platform for extended news coverage. Rather, with unabating energy, we are searching for different hues of documentation. Sounding out the boundaries of nonfictional narrative is an ever-present factor in our decisions,” explains curator Ralph Eue.

Included in the Official Selection are films by such internationally renowned and award-winning filmmakers as Marcus Vetter, Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard, Christoph Hübner and Gabriele Voss, the Brothers Quay and Nino Kirtadze. The Section Late Harvest, which puts the festival highlights of the season on the big screen, brings together films by Jacqueline Zünd, Anca Damian and Werner Herzog, among others. The Official Selection also includes works by promising young talent.

DOK Leipzig’s Official Selection includes six competitions as well as the International Programme and the Section Late Harvest. This year, DOK Leipzig is proud to present 63 world premieres, 27 international, 12 European and 50 German premieres. More than half of the directors of films in the Official Selection are female. In the German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film, for which a 40/60 quota was introduced in 2018, eight of ten films were made by female directors or co-directors.

“We are taking initial stock of the quota following our two-year trial period,” says Leena Pasanen. “It might still be too early to make a pronouncement for the long term, but we are proud of the fact that some 45% of our total submissions are now coming from female directors. That’s five per cent more than in previous years. Female directors appear to be gaining confidence in submitting their films. The gap between the sexes is constantly shrinking.”

DOK Leipzig is being held this year from 28 October to 3 November. The festival will open on 28 October with the world premiere of the film THE FORUM by Marcus Vetter.

Graphic to illustrate DOK neuland flyer: Red backround with long and stiff white arms and round or cube-shaped particles floating around.
DOK Leipzig

The interactive exhibition, which runs from 29 October to 2 November 2019 in the scope of DOK Leipzig, will be shown for the first time at Leipzig’s Museum der bildenden Künste (MdbK). The immersive worlds of the twelve new media works featured here, hailing from countries such as Kenya, Taiwan, and Israel, offer viewers a chance to encounter underrepresented narratives and stories situated beyond the usual perspectives of majority society.

“With the MdbK and Alfred Weidinger, we are delighted to have found a partner who shares our vision for DOK Neuland, and whose space also lends itself to creating the right atmosphere for the exhibition together,” enthused festival director Leena Pasanen. "We are proud that, with DOK Neuland, the team has established a format that has not only been embraced by our regional audience over the past 5 years, but that more and more international guests and artists have also been turned on to the exhibition and that we are able to show such a variety of international works.”

These international works offer multi-layered perspectives: whether providing insight into the point of view of physically challenged individuals (4 FEET: BLIND DATE), conveying a mind-expanding experience guided by an indigenous Shipibo shaman (AYAHUASCA), or depicting an interreligious encounter in Jerusalem (THE HOLY CITY). LE LAC even treats the shrinking of Kenya’s Lake Chad as seen by the life-giving body of water itself. In DARK ORIGINS: MEPHISTO, viewers have the opportunity to travel to the subsurface habitat of the extremophile roundworm species Halicephalobus mephisto, an organism that proves the community of animate creatures is far larger than once suspected. This year, DOK Neuland takes a step towards embracing a plurality of truths and the parallel presence of a vast number of existential realities. “Instead of diving into virtual worlds, we leave the matrix in our heads behind here,” commented Lars Rummel regarding his central aim as curator of the programme.

The narratives featured here also include painful experiences and events, such as the confrontation with police violence at Kiev’s Maidan Square in 2014 (AFTERMATH), or the necessity of “safe places” for African-American travellers, which is treated in a 360° film situated in the thematic tradition of the “Negro Motorist Green Book” (TRAVELING WHILE BLACK), a survival guide for black citizens of the United States created in the 1930s. The programme for DOK Neuland also covers material of a polarising or juxtapositional nature. Case in point: CANDY WORLD, a piece originating in Leipzig that recontextualises quotes and comments from the most hate-filled corners of the web (namely the forums of 4chan and 8chan) within a pink Candy-Crush-like world. Then there is UNCEDED TERRITORIES, which uses a gamified approach to explore the (post)colonial habit of appropriation and its tendency to annex and destroy newly “discovered” areas and natural environments.

By contrast, the piece YOUR SPIRITUAL TEMPLE SUCKS offers an experience that falls more squarely on the fun side. Inspired by Taoist rituals for the care of temple interiors, John Hsu satirises the influence an ill-kept temple might have on the “real” external relationship to its social environment. Finally, with HANAHANA FULL BLOOM, Mélodie Mousset constructs an experiential world in which participants can entwine and attach hands and arms of various sizes and colours with one another free from the constrictions of an existing narrative, resulting in a nearly infinite labyrinth of extremities.

Responsible for the look and feel of the exhibition is Leipzig artist Paula Gehrmann, who created a site-specific installation for this year’s DOK Neuland that draws on elements of sculpture and functional design.

DOK Neuland is once again supported by ARTE. Promoting the use of new digital technologies to develop innovative approaches to storytelling is one of the European cultural channel’s key missions. With CESARE’S DREAM, ARTE is showing a 360° film adaptation of the nearly 100-year-old classic THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI in the scope of the exhibition. This unique VR experience, which originated as a commissioned work for the Goethe Institute in Warsaw, enables viewers to explore the sets and ideas of the silent film classic virtually, from the inside.

DOK Neuland is part of the DOK Nachwuchs programme and is realised in cooperation with the SLM

As in previous years, our Festival Centre, the DOK Film Market, and the Get-Togethers for industry guests will also be located at MdbK. In co-operation with DOK Leipzig, DREFABRIK will be presenting the DOK Neuland Award for an exceptional project from the exhibition for the second time, featuring 1,000 euros in prize money. This year’s DOK Neuland technology partner is the tech subscription service Grover, which has been supporting digital artists and creators by providing access to technical equipment since 2017.

People on a  table while working in the co-pro market
Susann Jehnichen

From 28 October to 3 November some 1,800 trade visitors will flock to Leipzig for networking at Germany's largest documentary film gathering.

"DOK Industry celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and we are delighted to reap the rewards of our many years of work,” says Brigid O'Shea, the Head of DOK Industry. “We’re welcoming a diverse selection of accredited experts. Up-and-coming filmmakers gaining their first experience in film school delegations, as well as award-winning film professionals will all mingle here in Leipzig, the meeting place for artistic documentary film".

As part of the rough-cut presentation DOK Preview Germany, a prize will be awarded to one of seven German film projects seeking international distribution partners. Donated by the production house D-Facto Motion, the DFM Work-In-Progress Award includes a post-production grant of 10,000 euros. Seven further projects will also be invited to the rough-cut presentation DOK Preview Training, an event taking place in cooperation with the same number of European training initiatives.

“Our priority is artistic documentaries, but this year we are also very happy to offer more opportunities for animators," says O’Shea. "Of course we're about films and projects, but supporting people and promoting their work has always remained close to our hearts. We want to expand networks and sustainably enrich our industry."

The festival has designed a stimulating discussion forum for the interactive genre with the XR conference DOK Exchange. Participants include VR expert Paisley Smith (USA), who will talk about the concept of co-creation, having realised her VR-experience "Unceded Territories" together with the indigenous artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Sandbox Immersive Festival curator Che Lin will present Chinese VR and XR festivals. And Julia Scott-Stevenson of i-Docs will tackle the ethical questions of merging the profound effect of immersive works into artistic utopias over dystopias.

With DOK Short n’ Sweet, the focus is all about short films. As in previous years, the forum provides filmmakers with the opportunity to pitch their documentary shorts to renowned editors and financiers. This year's pitch panelists include Charlie Philips of The Guardian, Raffi Krigel of RYOT Films, director of the Berlinale Shorts Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck, and Wouter Jansen of Some Shorts.  

At Meet the Experts, filmmakers can exchange ideas with industry heavyweights in multiple fields. Representatives of international training initiatives, festival programmers, and experts from the fields of interactive, animation and artistic documentary film will all be available for these discussions.

In the Meet the Filmmakers talks, DOK Leipzig will be taking a deeper look at the politics, aesthetics and cinematic narration of productions from this year's film programme. The talks will also focus on the special narrative style of Iranian film, hybrid film forms, and the significance of different production countries in a globalised world.

Parallel to DOK Leipzig, the EAVE Producers Workshop will also be offering further development support to filmmakers from 28 October to 4 November.
 

Collage in black and white with photos of all jury members 2019
DOK Leipzig

The jury for the International Competition for Long Documentary and Animated Film consists this year of Albanian filmmaker lris Elezi, scriptwriter and filmmaker Jaqueline Zünd and filmmaker Goran Dević. Iris Elezi received numerous international awards for her feature-film debut BOTA, released in 2014, which went on to become Albania’s official submission to the Academy Awards 2016. Swiss director Jacqueline Zünd’s works, such as her first documentary for cinema GOODNIGHT NOBODY (2010), have been shown at a host of international festivals, including Cannes, Visions du Réel and DOK Leipzig, where they have been honoured with numerous prizes. This year, her most recent documentary WHERE WE BELONG will be screened at DOK Leipzig in the Late Harvest section. The third member of the jury, Goran Dević, who took part in the International Competition at DOK Leipzig in 2018 with his film ON THE WATER, contributed the film THE STEEL MILL CAFÉ to this year’s Country Focus on Croatia.

“This year we’ve once again managed to recruit international jury members who can apply the expertise they’ve gained from their respective professional backgrounds in diverse areas of the film world,” commented Leena Pasanen. “It’s beautiful to see the way relationships form and become deeper over the years, so that we can now welcome former participants from our programmes in other roles, for instance.”

In the International Competition for Short Documentary and Animated Film, prize winners will be selected by Jennifer Lynde Barker, Associate Professor for film studies with a focus on cinema history and animation at Bellarmine University in Louisville (USA), Estonian filmmaker and artist Mait Laas, who curated the Special Programme Light Through Darkness. The Mystic Jakob Böhme and Animation for DOK Leipzig, and Charlie Philips, head of video at The Guardian.

The jury for the Next Masters Competition for Long Documentary and Animated Film is made up of Tan Pin Pin, who is honoured by an Homage at DOK Leipzig 2019, Wieland Speck, long-time director of the Panorama section at the Berlinale, and Petri Kemppinen, who has served as managing director at Nordisk Film & TV Fond since 2013.

The winners of the German Competitions for Long and Short Documentary and Animated Film will be decided this year by filmmaker and managing director of AG Verleih Leopold Grün, who has already supported DOK Leipzig as a member of the festival’s selection committee, director of Filmpunkt GmbH Stefan Tolz, who produced a film which won multiple awards at DOK Leipzig in 2016 (CAHIER AFRICAIN), and film journalist Marie Ketzscher, who specialises in animated film and serves as press co-ordinator for Berlinale Talents, among other roles.

The prize winners for DOK Leipzig 2019 will be honoured at the festival awards ceremony on 2 November. The 62nd edition of DOK Leipzig will take place from 28 October to 3 November 2019 – the festival will again feature more than 300 films.

Filmstill of The Forum: Founder Klaus Schwab, an old white man, is entering the stage, Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brasil following him.
Zwei wichtige Männer
The Forum by Marcus Vetter

The 62nd edition of DOK Leipzig will open on 28 October 2019 with the world premiere of director Marcus Vetter’s documentary THE FORUM. Vetter and producer Christian Beetz are the first in the fifty-year history of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to succeed in sending an independent film team behind the scenes of this international gathering.

As the film follows 81-year-old Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the WEF, over the course of a year, the global agenda includes such challenges as climate change, Brexit, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, the rise of populism, and trade tensions between the United States and China.

“THE FORUM is one of the most complex films we’ve ever made. It took us five years to gain access to the elites — always on the premise of getting an impartial look behind the scenes of the World Economic Forum,” says producer Christian Beetz. “In an age of prompt answers to the world’s greatest challenges, THE FORUM shows how complex and controversial the details of our world have become. THE FORUM provides a look at democracy with its global capitalist economic system and points out the dilemmas all of us face every day.”

Behind closed doors, the camera documents how diplomacy works when the world’s most powerful leaders are secluded and when Donald Trump or Jair Bolsonaro courts leading CEOs. Corporations such as Monsanto are represented alongside NGOs. Organisations like Greenpeace with Jennifer Morgan, an avowed critic of the World Economic Forum, and activist Greta Thunberg use the forum to sensitise key political and economic figures to the subject of climate change. Can the World Economic Forum contribute to a solution of global problems such as climate change, de-escalate trade wars or advance the worldwide provision of medical care? Or is the forum part of the problem, ultimately serving to enforce the vested interests of a global elite?

“We are pleased to open the festival with Marcus Vetter’s latest film, which offers us a unique inside perspective of one of the best-known stages of global politics,” says festival director Leena Pasanen. “Although we’re familiar with certain images from TV news, for example, THE FORUM makes especially clear how, by observing their subjects over a longer period, documentaries can contribute to a more nuanced perception of individual procedures. THE FORUM is great cinema that at the same time permits reflection upon political realities and entanglements.”

Director Marcus Vetter is a recipient of Germany’s most prestigious film awards. He received the German Film Award for HEART OF JENIN, the German Television Award for THE TUNNEL, and several Grimme Awards. Marcus Vetter has also been a familiar face in Leipzig. In 2008, he was honoured with the DEFA Sponsoring Prize for HEART OF JENIN. Financial markets and the global economy have been the subject of some of Vetter’s other productions, including THE FORECASTER from 2015.

THE FORUM is a German-Swiss co-production by gebrueder beetz filmproduktion, Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion, Filmperspektive, SWR/ARTE, HR, BR, SRF, SRG SSR and VPRO.

On 28 October 2019, DOK Leipzig’s opening ceremony will be held in CineStar 8, the film team and Klaus Schwab will be present. The ceremony will be broadcast live to the screen in CineStar 6. THE FORUM will also be shown to the public free of charge at Leipzig’s Central Station (East Hall), with the film team attending. This event is made possible in cooperation with the PROMENADEN Hauptbahnhof Leipzig and by the support of IQ Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH and the Friends of DOK Leipzig (Leipziger Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Filmkunst e.V.).

On 1 January 2020, Christoph Terhechte is to take over as the new artistic director of the DOK Film Festival and managing director of Leipziger Dok-Filmwochen GmbH. A selection committee has recommended Mr. Terhechte as the most suitable candidate taking part in the selection process. This appointment has already been preliminarily discussed by the company’s supervisory board. The partners’ representative and Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung has now also confirmed the result, so that the final vote can be taken by the council board at their next meeting, expected to take place on 30 October.

Christoph Terhechte will take over from Leena Pasanen, whose term as artistic director will end as scheduled after five years. Dr. Skadi Jennicke, Mayor of Culture and chairwoman of the board, comments: “With Christoph Terhechte, the City of Leipzig has won an artistic director with an artistic vision, international reputation and great experience as well as sensitivity. This will be a key advantage in guiding the festival with regard to deepening its ties to the city’s community, but also for the national and international importance of DOK Leipzig.”

As is customary for managing directors employed by the City of Leipzig, the position is initially limited to five years. The selection committee consisted of the members of the supervisory board, who are also city councillors representing every council faction, chairwoman of the board, Dr. Skadi Jennicke, as well as external experts Claas Danielsen – managing director of Mitteldeutsche Medien-förderung; Heino Deckert – film producer and managing director, Daniel Waser – managing director of Zürcher Filmstiftung, and Donata von Perfall – director of Documentary Campus e.V.

The journalist and film critic Christoph Terhechte is currently artistic director of the Marrakech International Film Festival. From 2001 to 2018 he served as director of the International Forum of New Cinema at the Berlinale, which he developed into one of the major international centres of independent artistic cinema. Christoph Terhechte was born in Münster in 1961 and studied political sciences and journalism in Hamburg. He worked as a film critic in Paris and Berlin and was head of the cultural desk of the Berlin city magazine “Tip” from 1991 to 1997.

DOK Leipzig is one of the leading festivals for documentary and animated films. Unique in its combination of the two genres, DOK Leipzig builds on more than 60 years of history, continuously enriching tradition through innovative approaches and forms. Its focus is always on the values of peace, tolerance, human dignity and freedom of opinion. The Festival programme features films with a strong artistic and personal signature. +++

Media contact:
Cultural Department, Phone +49(0)341 123-4209,
e-mail: kulturdezernat [at] leipzig [dot] de

Collage with filmstills of all selected co-pro market projects
DOK Leipzig

This year the 15th DOK Co-Pro Market once again provides the opportunity for international film projects still in development to find co-production and financing partners. Some 309 projects were submitted, 35 of which have now been selected for the platform. They come from 40 countries.

“For the last years we've put the priority on looking for and engaging with filmmakers not to fill diversity quotas, but more because our curiosity drives us to crave different perspectives and voices. We choose to work with professionals whose points of view challenge the status quo,” says Brigid O’Shea, head of DOK Industry. “Without exaggeration, the overall quality of the 309 submissions for the DOK Co-Pro Market was incredibly high this year, and we had tough decisions to make.” 

The selected film projects present a great variety of visual languages, narrative perspectives and thematic approaches. These include film projects that deal with the realities of living in a diaspora or accompany people who, due to current social or political upheavals, have had to shift their centre of life Other directors provide intimate insights into personal family stories.

Ukrainian producer and programmer Darya Bassel (Docudays UA) and Jamila Wenske, managing director of the production company Achtung Panda!, were jointly responsible for the project selection.

On the first two festival days, 28 and 29 October 2019, around 900 individual meetings will take place at the DOK Co-Pro Market, where producers will encounter potential partners. These include international financiers and co-producers from broadcasters ARD, SVT, SRF, ORF, ARTE France and RAI. New partners such as Mubi, Vice, Ryot Films and other representatives of leading online platforms will also be taking part.

“We hope to delight decision makers with wonderful new creative documentary projects. But of equal importance is building the network — to collect a reflective, enthusiastic group of people who attend the market with the intention of finding innovative ways to work together and ensure that projects with challenging points of view and artistic styles can be completed,” says Brigid O’Shea.  

Four prizes will be awarded as part of the DOK Co-Pro Market.

New this year is a prize from the Saxon State Minister for the Arts, which is awarded to an outstanding documentary film project by a woman director. The 5,000 euro prize has been donated by the Saxon Ministry of Science and Art and will be presented at the festival opening on 28 October.

For the second time, the Zonta Club Leipzig Elster, which promotes women in professional life, is sponsoring the Zonta Club Leipzig Elster Female Talent Development Prize, a travel expense scholarship worth up to 1,000 euros. This year the prize goes to South African director and producer Godisamang Khunou, who is participating in the DOK Co-Pro Market with her project "Black Women and Sex,” and will have the opportunity to expand her professional network at the festival.

The European Women's Audiovisual Network is also continuing its partnership with DOK Leipzig. Together with the EWA, the festival is awarding for the first time a development prize worth 1,000 euros to a documentary filmmaker taking part in the Circle Women Doc Accelerator training programme. In addition to the prize money, the filmmaker will also receive mentoring in the further development of her film.

For the second time, the Current Time TV and DOK Co-Pro Development Prize will be awarded to a documentary film project from Eastern or Central Europe. It is endowed with 2,000 US dollars and awarded by DOK Leipzig and the Russian-language channel Current Time TV.

 

Find the complete DOK Co-Pro Market project selection here: https://www.dok-leipzig.de/de/industry/co-pro-market/projects-2019

Statuen in Form von Goldenen Tauben
Susann Jehnichen

DOK Leipzig has a new prize donor. For the 62nd edition of the festival, film distributor Weltkino is donating the 10,000-euro Golden Dove in the German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film. Each year from among the films submitted, the festival selects some ten outstanding German productions for this prestigious competition, all of them contending for this award.

“We love good films and we love Leipzig. For this reason, supporting DOK Leipzig is a particular delight,” says Michael Kölmel, who manages Weltkino along with Dietmar Güntsche. “Documentaries and animated films are both very important to Weltkino’s selection of films, so we are eagerly looking forward to this year’s competition.”

In recent years, DOK Leipzig has continually shown films that Weltkino has subsequently brought to cinemas. These have included, for example, the documentaries ZWISCHEN DEN STÜHLEN by Jakob Schmidt and NEO RAUCH – GEFÄHRTEN UND BEGLEITER by Nicola Graef (both German Competition DOK Leipzig 2016) as well as the animated film LOVING VINCENT by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman.

DOK Leipzig’s director, Leena Pasanen, is excited to have Weltkino on board as a new prize donor: “We are tremendously pleased about this excellent commitment by Weltkino and are very grateful to Michael Kölmel and his team. In donating this award, the distributor underscores the fact that our competition films are just at the start of an eventful journey. A remarkable number of films that premiere at DOK Leipzig find a distributor and then public appraisal in cinemas.”

The independent distributor Weltkino, headquartered in Leipzig, brings about 12 films a year to German cinemas, including such international productions as PATERSON by Jim Jarmusch and FAHRENHEIT 11/9 by Michael Moore. This year, Weltkino is putting the animated film FRITZI – EINE WENDEWUNDERGESCHICHTE, Olivia Wilde’s debut film BOOKSMART and the documentary ARETHA FRANKLIN: AMAZING GRACE, among others, on the big screen.

The 62nd edition of DOK Leipzig will be held this year from 28 October to 3 November. DOK Leipzig will present a total of seven Golden Doves along with further festival awards at the award ceremony on 2 November 2019.

This year, DOK Leipzig will be showing a total of more than 300 films and interactive works from around the world.

DOK Leipzig will announce the Official Selection of films — and thus the films in competition — on 10 October.

Filmstill of Maska by the Brothers Quay: a weird looking spooky hand puppet looking like Shakespeare.
Maska by the Brothers Quay

The Brothers Quay, masters of stop-motion and puppet animation, are distinguished guests at this year’s edition of DOK Leipzig. In the Brothers Quay Night*footnotes they’ll personally give the audience a glimpse of their creative work. In the Special Programme Potentiae Materialis: Homage Brothers Quay, DOK Leipzig will be showing a selection of the artistic duo’s ethereal, sometimes creepy, but always striking works. Part of the programme will consist of a series of films that the brothers have been given carte blanche to curate themselves. In addition, the Brothers Quay have contributed this year’s festival trailer.

The brothers’ works have earned them invitations to notable international festivals (to Cannes, for example, for IN ABSENTIA) as well as numerous awards. Deeply fascinating and disturbing, their films often explore the boundary between waking life and the world of dreams. The brothers’ oeuvre is pervaded by adaptations of literary works, such as by Robert Walser (INSTITUTE BENJAMENTA, OR THIS DREAM PEOPLE CALL HUMAN LIFE). They have often collaborated with some of the big names in contemporary music, such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, and have produced numerous music videos, such as for Sparklehorse, 16 Horsepower and Peter Gabriel. Their best-known fans include director Christopher Nolan, who made the short film QUAY about the brothers in 2015.

Other sides of the world of animated film present themselves in the works of multidisciplinary artists Brenda Lien (recipient of the 2018 German Short Film Award in the area of experimental film) and Max Colson. Both combine varieties of animated film with documentary and experimental elements, and both have had films of theirs shown at DOK Leipzig. While Brenda Lien critically addresses the new media and social media phenomena (such as make-up tutorials and cat videos), Max Colson works with 3D visualizations and explores such subject areas as architecture and types of housing, nationality and identity, among others. In the Animation Perspectives: Brenda Lien_Max Colson programme, Lien and Colson will introduce each other’s work and discuss it with the audience.

Dialogue is also at the centre of the third Special Programme on animated film. Licht durch Finsternis. Der Mystiker Jakob Böhme und die Animation brings together fascinating works from 100 years of animated film. The starting point is the notion of Görlitz-born philosopher Jakob Böhme that light and darkness each require the other in order to exist. In this Special Programme, Estonian filmmaker and artist Mait Laas applies this idea to cinema as he contrasts eight animated films: four in the category of “Light”, four in the category of “Darkness”.

Once again, of course, there are also animated films for festivalgoers of all ages. Two of the four Kids DOK series present amusing and charming animated short films for children from the ages of 3 and 5. Two further series for children starting at ages 8 and 10 offer a selection of documentary and animated films whose protagonists are all children who share their lives with the audience.

All films and events that are part of the Special Pprogrammes already announced – including the Retrospective, the Country Focus and the Homage – have now been finalized. Included are films by Dominik Graf, Volker Koepp, Thomas Heise, Avi Mograbi, Lorelei Pepi, Goran Dević, Tan Pin Pin, Bill Morrison and Priit Pärn.

In addition, Jürgen Kuttner will once again present one of his popular film and video snippet performances. Titled In the Mirror the Image of the Enemy it targets his familiar cynical humour on speech fragments and images he’s found in East and West German broadcasts from the time when Germany was divided.

Altogether, DOK Leipzig is showing more than 300 films and interactive works this year. DOK Leipzig will announce the interactive works of DOK Neuland on 8 October and the Official Selection on 10 October.

During this year’s edition, DOK Leipzig aims to create even more room for debate. The festival is putting on a two-day symposium entitled Who Owns the Truth? to explore and discuss the different ways in which filmmakers engage with political opponents. The event is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung).

Which political and aesthetic strategies can documentary filmmakers pursue when engaging with those diametrically opposed to their own worldview? Who makes the rules? And what separates a critical film from an affirmative one? These questions and similar ones are to be brought up by way of films, discussions and readings. Both film professionals and members of the public can take part in the discussions.  

“During the last few editions of the festival, there were heated debates about the ‘right’ approach for documentaries whose protagonists don’t share one’s own value system”, explains festival director Leena Pasanen. “These discussions were accompanied by the concern that filmmakers might be brought into direct association with their protagonists. What emerged is just how contested the truth really is. That’s why the title of the symposium will also be the motto of this year’s edition. We want to direct similar questions also at other films at the festival under the slogan ‘Who Owns the Truth?’ and discuss them in Q&As with the audience.”

Debating films represents the starting point for picking up on the same discussions in other contexts and taking them further. Programmer Ralph Eue, who initiated the symposium, adds, “We want to open up a space for productive ‘argument‘ and allow opinions to be exchanged. As a festival dedicated to artistic documentary, we am to be strong advocates for the versatility of documentary film and promote the art of looking at films in differentiated fashion.”   

The films of the symposium also make up one of this year’s Special Programmes. The remaining curated Special Programmes also shine a light on film history, examine the filmmaking of individual countries or are dedicated to the work of outstanding artists.

With this year’s Homage, DOK Leipzig is honouring the filmmaking work of Singapore-based director Tan Pin Pin. In her oeuvre, the artist has persistently set her sights on Singapore’s national identity – sometimes to the displeasure of the island nation. Her film “To Singapore, with Love” (2013), in which she calls on political exiles living abroad, is still not allowed to be screened in Singapore to this day. At international festivals such as the Berlinale, Busan or Rotterdam, however, her audiovisual essays such as “Invisible City” (2007) have been celebrated. Tan Pin Pin’s works operate at the intersection between video and art, film and photography.

One key part of the Special Programmes is the Retrospective. This year’s Retrospective examines the forty years from 1949 to 1989 during which two German states existed. “We are working on the assumption that using films to look back at those forty years of history makes an important contribution to better understanding the oft-difficult socio-political aftermath of 1989”, comments Eue, who has curated the Retrospective together with Olaf Möller before the backdrop of the anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution. Confrontations at a level of both content and aesthetics are intended to come to the fore in the programme, because, as Eue continues, “The provisional nature of West Germany could always be better understood through the prism of the provisional nature of East Germany and vice versa. Each wrestled with the political enemy in equal measure, with this existential opposition to be reflected upon in the programme.”

The period around 1989 also had far-reaching consequences for Croatia – this year’s Country Focus revolves around its incredibly vital documentary film scene. The programme picks up on the sheer breadth of current filmmaking from the country and offers Leipzig audiences a diversity of different aesthetic approaches, thematic entry points and production conditions. The traces left behind by the wars of the 1990s, the systemic shift from socialism to capitalism and the related frictions and contradictions in people’s everyday lives are equally apparent in many of the films.

The festival is also celebrating East Germany’s only essay filmmaker, Eduard Schreiber, in its DEFA Matinee, which has grown into a proud tradition. The director’s 80th birthday is the perfect occasion for honouring Schreiber, who was a regular guest at the Leipzig Festival between 1960 and 1980.

The Re-Visions Special Programme also turns its attention to the past. For two years now, DOK Leipzig has been taking an ongoing look back at its own history and showing films that left their mark on the festival. “The approach we follow here is that history always stretches forward into the present. This idea also plays a role in the curation of all the Special Programmes”, concludes Ralph Eue. 

This year, DOK Leipzig takes place from 28 October to 3 November. During the week of the festival, a total of over 300 films from across the world will once again be screened in the Official Selection and the Special Programmes.

DOK Leipzig thanks all the funding bodies and supporters of the Special Programmes:

the Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany, the Saxon State Archive (Retrospective), Croatian Audiovisual Centre (Country Focus), the DEFA Foundation (DEFA Matinee).

 

The Special Programmes for animated film, the symposium programme and the films of the Special Programmes will be announced soon.

People on a  table while working in the co-pro market
Susann Jehnichen

Female directors will have the chance to win a new prize at DOK Leipzig, in the form of financial support for the development of their film projects. Together with the Saxon State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts (SMWK), DOK Leipzig will award an outstanding documentary film project selected for the DOK Co-Pro Market, further expanding the festival’s commitment to women in the documentary industry. The Development Prize for the Best Female Director of the Saxon State Minister for the Arts is endowed with 5,000 Euros. The DOK Co-Pro Market is the central event of the DOK Industry Programme and takes place annually on the first two festival days.

The Saxon State Minister for Science and the Arts, Dr. Eva-Maria Stange explains her commitment: "I am delighted to be able to contribute to the targeted support of women in the film industry in 2019 with The Development Prize for the Best Female Director of the Saxon State Minister for the Arts. Thanks to the commitment of DOK Leipzig, last year already half of the festival’s Official Selection were productions by women directors. Films made by women are neither qualitatively better nor worse than their male counterparts, yet in most countries there is still a significant underrepresentation of female filmmakers, that is unjustifiable. Equality and diversity benefit not just those currently underrepresented but our society as a whole."

In recent years, the SMWK has actively supported the festival’s commitment to improving gender equality in documentary film. From 2017 until last year, the State Minister for the Arts Dr. Eva Maria Stange was the patron of the DOK Leipzig and EWA – European Women’s Audiovisual Network Development Prize, the first cash prize awarded at the DOK Co-Pro Market. The generous increase in engagement on the part of SMWK leads to the creation of this new award.

"We are incredibly grateful that our Minister for Higher Education, Research and the Arts wants to work with us on closing the gender gap, not only because it is urgently needed within the cultural industries, but also more broadly as a human rights issue" says the head of DOK Industry Brigid O'Shea. She continues: ”We are very happy that together with Dr. Stange we can continue to support women documentary filmmakers from all over the world."

The DOK Co-Pro Market will take place for the 15th time this year. International projects in development will have the opportunity to meet co-production and financing partners on 28 and 29 October. The Development Prize for the Best Female Director of the Saxon State Minister for the Arts will be awarded at the festival’s opening ceremony on October 28.

Projects selected for the DOK Co-Pro Market will also be eligible for other prizes including the Current Time TV and DOK Leipzig Development Award for an outstanding documentary film project from Central and Eastern Europe. The Zonta Club Leipzig-Elster again supports a talent development prize for female directors in the form of a travel bursary, allowing female documentary filmmakers to expand their network at DOK Leipzig.

Continuing the strong partnership with EWA - European Women's Audiovisual Network, for the first time a new prize endowed with 1,000 Euros will go to a filmmaker participating in the training program Circle Women Doc Accelerator. In addition to the prize money, the filmmaker will also receive mentoring from DOK Leipzig and EWA members.

Under the direction of Leena Pasanen, the team at DOK Leipzig has taken a strong commitment to improving gender equality not only in the production landscape but also in distribution of finished films. 2019 will be the second year a quota for female directors has been integrated in the festival’s national Competition. DOK Leipzig will take place from 28 October to 3 November.

Filmmakers and producers are welcome to submit documentary film projects for the DOK Co-Pro Market until August 1st

Red graphic with the white Logo of DOK Leipzig and a stamp saying "Call for Entries".
DOK Leipzig

From now on documentaries, animated films and animated documentaries of all lengths as well as interactive works can be submitted to the 62nd edition of DOK Leipzig. The submitted films may be nominated for one of the festival’s six prestigious competitions and several special awards with a total prize money of about 75,000 euros. Additionally, DOK Leipzig is a qualifying festival for the ACADEMY AWARDS© and the European Film Awards.

“We are looking forward to productions that present unusual perspectives. Films rethinking traditional concepts or inventing new ones. Above all, we are looking for films revealing how documentary and animated film absorbs and expresses the present”, says Ralph Eue, programmer of DOK Leipzig.

All films submitted until 5 May 2019 will receive a binding feedback on their selection status by end of June. The final entry deadline for films and for interactive works is 7 July 2019.

Films eligible for submission are from 2018 and 2019 and have not been screened publicly before 1 October 2018. World or International premieres will be favoured. For all six competitions, a German premiere of the film at DOK Leipzig is mandatory.

Apart from films, you can also submit interactive works for the DOK Neuland exhibition. We welcome all forms of innovative new media works, such as 360° films, virtual reality projects (films, installations, plays), works of augmented reality or mixed reality, participatory films, web documentaries and apps.

In 2018, more than 3,000 production were submitted to DOK Leipzig. During the festival week 2019, around 300 films will be screened as part of the Official Selection and the Special Programmes. . The 62nd edition of DOK Leipzig will take place from 28 October to 3 November 2019.