Susann Jehnichen
DOK Industry Programme 2020: Decolonising the Documentary Industry

A new podcast series in collaboration with What's Up with Docs, the Programmers of Color Collective and Themba Bhebhe

The 2020 DOK Industry Programme focuses on the participation of under-represented filmmakers, opening doors and breaking down power structures that permeate the documentary film industry. The virtual offerings of Germany's leading platform for the sector are intended to advance sustainable models of filmmaking during destabilising times and break new ground in inclusive film production.

With regard to the organisation and curation of this year’s online edition, Head of DOK Industry Brigid O’Shea says: “My main concern was not to pick up DOK Industry Programme and put it in a Zoom call. Instead, we as a team salvaged as much recognisable, efficient and useful programming as we could, and then got comfortable with letting go of the rest. Then we turned our attention to what we want to change, and that is to begin the process of highlighting overlooked or underrepresented voices in the documentary community and how to open up new discussion and debate, while still offering the best access to the international creative documentary marketplace.”

For the online edition of the Industry Programme, O'Shea and her team are producing a new series of podcasts to amplify industry-relevant perspectives beyond the screen. Created in collaboration with What's Up with Docs, the Programmers of Color Collective and Themba Bhebhe (Film Industry Curator, UK and France), the series addresses issues such as the decolonisation of the film industry, discrimination against and resistance by indigenous filmmakers and filmmakers of colour, and story ownership.

When it comes to running the Industry Programme amid the current pandemic, O’Shea says: “Our festival to us represents joy and celebration, and finding ways to translate this into the digital space has been challenging. But we cannot ignore the reality around us. It is time to get serious about reshaping our industry to ensure its future.”

One stimulating discussion about this future will be the XR conference at DOK Exchange, with two of the keynote speeches delving deeper into the works that can be experienced at DOK Neuland. One will address the 360° film "Gimme One", in which ballroom dancers describe a reality where white-dominated, heteronormative patterns have no place. Producer Harry Silverlock will discuss the film’s theme of working with communities as allies with the protagonist Diva. Another speaker will be Anna Mauersberger, one of the makers of the VR installation "The Shape of Us", which can be experienced as a multiplayer work at DOK Neuland. She will discuss the possibility of using VR to reconnect people and nature. The event will be moderated by scientist and artist Rob Eagle.

This year, an award will once again be presented as part of the rough cut presentation DOK Preview Germany. Eight German film projects seeking international distribution partners have been invited to this event. Donated by the company D-Facto Motion, the DFM-Works-In-Progress Award includes a post-production grant worth 10,000 euros. The event will be moderated by managing director of German films Simone Baumann and producer Tanja Gregorieva-Waldhauer. Eight other projects will be invited to the rough cut presentation DOK Preview Training, held in cooperation with ten European training initiatives. Producer Heidi Fleisher and Pierre-Alexis Chevit from Cannes Docs will lead the event.



Another opportunity is DOK Short n’ Sweet, which revolves entirely around short films. Once again this year, filmmakers can pitch their documentary short film project to renowned editors and financiers here.

DOK Partner Presentations is also a chance to discover the latest documentaries looking for international partners and acquisition. These presentations will provide moderated feedback and are hosted by Chiledoc, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Doc Nomads, the Institute of Documentary Film (IDF), the International Emerging Filmmakers Talent Agency (IEFTA) and Polish Docs.

Additionally, there will be various virtual networking formats to suit accredited participants who want to exchange information with experts from different trades or those who simply want to meet other festival goers informally. Some of the virtual meetings will even take place with music thanks to the festival’s partners Polish Docs and ARTE.

All events, film presentations and podcasts will be accessible via the festival platform myDOK. There, accredited participants will also have the opportunity to network with other filmmakers via the DOK Industry Guide. 

The guest list, which continues to expand, provides a first insight into the accredited trade visitors and can be viewed on the festival website: DOK Leipzig guest list.

An overview on this year’s DOK Industry Programme can be found here.

DOK Preview Germany projects can be found here, and DOK Preview Training projects are here.

As always, the DOK Co-Pro Market will take place on the first two days of the festival, this time virtually as well. The participating projects have already been announced.

DOK Industry Programme is co-funded and supported by the Creative Europe MEDIA Programme of the European Union.