The award-winning films of the 63rd edition of DOK Leipzig have been chosen. This year, even after the week-long festival ends in cinemas, all of the films in competition can still be watched online.
The film “Downstream to Kinshasa” by Dieudo Hamadi has received the Golden Dove in the International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film. This co-production from the Democratic Republic of Congo, France and Belgium focuses on war-disabled people from Kisangani in the DR Congo. In 2000, Ugandan and Rwandan troops battled each other there in what is known as the Six-Day War. After waiting in vain for almost twenty years, some of the civilian victims set off on a long journey to Kinshasa to demand compensation. Hamadi has presented his films at a number of prestigious film festivals.
The jury praised the filmmaker “for bringing intimacy and dignity to a Sisyphean struggle that is invisible in the broader world, here delivered to the screen with the clear trust of its protagonists and the commitment of the filmmaker”.
The 10,000-euro award is sponsored by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. Dr Ulrich Brochhagen, head of MDR’s department for history, documentaries and Eastern Europe, attended the award ceremony. The recipient of the Golden Dove in the International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film is now eligible to be nominated for the annual ACADEMY AWARDS®, provided the Academy’s requirements are met.
“Downstream to Kinshasa” also received the Prize of the Interreligious Jury at DOK Leipzig.
The Silver Dove for best long documentary or animated film by an up-and-coming director in the International Competition Long Film has gone to the Argentinian production “The Poets Visit Juana Bignozzi”. The film was directed by writer and journalist Mercedes Halfon and by Laura Citarella, who is known internationally as the producer of “La Flor”. This documentary tells the story of a young poet who seeks to pass on the artistic legacy of Juana Bignozzi, a renowned poet. The jury emphasised “the inventive ways in which this film advances its search for a legacy even as its process unravels before our eyes,” noting “a freshness and energy that recall the French Nouvelle Vague”. The award was sponsored in conjunction with 6,000 euros from the broadcaster 3sat, which presented a video message at the award ceremony.
The Golden Dove in the German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film in conjunction with 3,000 euros was presented to “Lift Like a Girl”, a joint Danish-Egyptian-German production by Mayye Zayed. The filmmaker follows Asmaa, aged 14 at the start, for four years. With the help of her coach, a former professional athlete, Asmaa makes her way to the top league in weightlifting in the streets of Alexandria. The jury’s statement reads: “Told with gentleness and love, this film draws on the collective memory of cinema. The protagonists’ struggle, the ceaseless lifting of the weights as a recurring leitmotif, becomes almost physically tangible for the audience. The camera is very close to the figures and at the same time a foreign body that never judges.”
The Golden Dove in the “Golden Section”, the newly introduced Competition for the Audience Award Long Documentary or Animated Film in conjunction with 3,000 euros has gone to the Czech production “A New Shift” by Jindřich Andrš. The director focuses on a miner who, after 21 years of employment, is retraining to become a programmer, because the mine was closed down for economic reasons. “A New Shift” has also been awarded the MDR Film Prize.
In the International Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film, the French-Nigerian co-production “Trouble Sleep” by Alain Kassanda, a rhythmic portrait of life in Ibadan, has been awarded a Golden Dove for best documentary film, while the Polish film “I’m Here” by Julia Orlik about a dying woman surrounded by her family has been awarded a Golden Dove for best animated film. Kassanda and Orlik have each received 3,000 euros in prize money. These winning films are also eligible for nomination for the annual ACADEMY AWARDS®, provided the Academy’s requirements are met.
The Silver Dove in the German Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film, in conjunction with 1,500 euros in prize money, has been awarded to “Erwin” by Jan Soldat, a Austrian-German co-production. In this film, the director offers a portrait of an aging man who spends most of his time in a mobile home in his front garden, indulging in erotic online encounters with men.
The Silver Dove in the newly introduced “Golden Section” Competition for the Audience Award Short Documentary and Animated Film, has gone to the animated film “Step Into the River” by Weijia Ma, a Chinese-French co-production that explores China’s one-child policy from the perspective of two young girls. The Silver Dove, which comes with 1,500 euros in prize money, was donated by the Leipziger Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Filmkunst e. V. The deputy chairman of its board of directors, Jens Kesseler, attended the award ceremony.
The Golden and Silver Doves were presented in a hybrid award ceremony in a cinema auditorium which the juries and filmmakers joined remotely. The statuettes will be sent to the award-winners by post in the coming days.
For the first time, a panel of cinema enthusiasts representing the DOK Leipzig audience chose films that would receive a Golden Dove and a Silver Dove. This audience jury attended the award ceremony in the cinema.
The award ceremony for the Golden and Silver Doves was broadcast live on the Internet parallel to the physical event and remains available after the event on the festival website.
All of the award-winning films as well as the remaining films offered online will continue to be available on the Web after the week-long festival ends in cinemas. The final films of the festival will be shown online on 14 November.
The presentation of the partner awards was held in a strictly virtual environment. The recipients of the partner awards are:
Partner Awards for Documentary and Animated Films in the Competitions
DEFA Sponsoring Prize (4,000 euros): “Rift Finfinnee” by Daniel Kötter, Ethiopia, Germany 2020.
Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize (2,000 euros): “The Guardian” by Martina Priessner, Germany 2020.
MDR Film Prize (3,000 euros): “A New Shift” by Jindřich Andrš, Czech Republic 2020.
Prize of the Interreligious Jury (1,500 euros): “Downstream to Kinshasa” by Dieudo Hamadi, DR Congo, France, Belgium 2020.
ver.di Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness (2,500 euros): “80.000 Schnitzels” by Hannah Schweier, Germany 2020.
Young Eyes Film Award (2,000 euros): “Operation Moonbird” by Dustin Lose, Germany 2020.
International Critics Prize (FIPRESCI): “Vicenta” by Darío Doria, Argentina 2020.
Mephisto 97.6 Audience Award: “Bad Mood” by Loris Giuseppe Nese, Italy 2020.
Gedanken-Aufschluss: Long Film: “Robin’s Hood” by Jasmin Baumgartner, Austria 2020; Short Film: “Riven Threads” by Deborah Jeromin, Germany 2020.
DOK Industry awards
As part of the platform DOK Industry, three awards were presented during the festival week.
Development Prize for the Best Female Director of the Saxon State Minister for the Arts (5,000 euros): “XiXi” by Fan Wu (Taiwan, Philippines).
Honorary mention: “Bright Future” by Andra Popescu (Romania).
Zonta Club Leipzig Elster Female Talent Development Prize (1,000 euros): “The Daughter of the Volcano” by Jenifer de la Rosa (Spain, Colombia).
D-Facto Motion Works-in-Progress Prize (post-production grant of 10,000 euros): “Viral” by Udi Nir & Sagi Bornstein (Germany, Israel).
A total of 150 films and extended-reality projects were shown at the Leipzig venues during the week of the festival.
Furthermore, this is the first time that the festival has had an online component. All of the festival films can be watched online even after the close of the festival week, with the last of them available until 14 November.