Cinema audience is listening to festival director Christoph Terhechte and moderator Julia Weigl who are talking to each other on stage in front of the screen.
Festival Opening 2021
Viktoria Conzelmann

The 64th edition of DOK Leipzig received a total of 38,950 visits to its in-person events and online programmes. The public and accredited professionals attended cinema screenings and in-person events open to the public at eleven different venues 16,957 times. Around 80 percent of the available seats were occupied — a very positive outcome for the first edition of the festival to be held mainly in person in Leipzig since the beginning of the pandemic. The filmgoing public showed a noticeable desire to experience the festival in cinemas again.

The six free screenings at Leipzig Central Station (Osthalle) were filled to capacity with a total of 840 visitors. The extended reality exhibition DOK Neuland at the Museum der bildenden Künste was equally well received. With a total of 676 people, the exhibition area was at full capacity throughout the festival week. Some visitors spent three to four hours engaging with the immersive and interactive works collectively titled “Chaos Is a Condition”.

Festival director Christoph Terhechte sums up the eventful second edition of DOK Leipzig he has overseen: “This year, a genuine festival atmosphere returned. After experiencing last year’s festival without guests, what pleased me most was the opportunity for personal interaction. Filmmakers and attendees have shared this impression. The decision to focus primarily on an in-person festival in Leipzig despite the challenging circumstances proved to be the right one. Nonetheless, lots of people took advantage of the opportunity to attend the festival from afar.”

International filmmakers, industry professionals and audiences in Leipzig were again able to discuss the films in person this year. However, even in 2021, the festival was subject to certain restrictions. At all public events, the “3G” regulation — limiting admission to vaccinated, recovered or tested individuals — and distancing measures were put in place in order to protect against COVID-19. This meant that overall, about half of the seats at the various venues could be made available. Due to these restrictions, the attendance at in-person events was unable to fully compensate for the reduction in online programmes compared to the previous year.

DOK Leipzig’s online programmes in 2021 included video-on-demand content and live streams. For two weeks immediately after the festival, DOK Stream made 71 films from this year’s programme available throughout Germany, including all of the films that had received Golden and Silver Doves. In addition, works from DOK Neuland and videos made of the master classes and panel discussions were available to watch online. Viewers in Germany and international accredited professionals used the festival’s online services a total of 16,848 times.

A total of 5,145 admissions were counted at the events of the industry platform DOK Industry, which for the first time was held in hybrid form as it hosted numerous parallel events online and at locations in Leipzig. Around 1,400 accredited professionals made use of the opportunities for networking that these hybrid events presented, including around 500 people who were able to participate online from many locations around the world. The offerings included the DOK Co-Pro Market, the rough-cut presentations of DOK Preview, the online video library DOK Film Market, the XR conference DOK Exchange, the “Meet the Experts” forum and a series of podcasts on topics relevant to the industry. The focus on the inclusion of underrepresented groups in the film industry, which commenced in 2020, was maintained this year.

“It was a great pleasure to once again welcome many of the accredited professionals in person and at the same time to enable those who were not able to travel to Leipzig to participate online,” says Nadja Tennstedt, summing up her first edition as the head of DOK Industry. “We’d like to thank everyone who participated for their flexibility and willingness to take part in DOK Industry’s various events. They all contributed to the success of this special edition. Collaboration with our long-time and newly acquired partners is a cornerstone of DOK Industry. This year as well, the team faced lots of new challenges, which each individual mastered with a great deal of professionalism, patience and dedication. I am very grateful for that.”

DOK im Knast and DOK Bildung were once again part of the DOK Leipzig programme. The youth editorial team DOK Spotters reported on films and filmmakers in contemporary media. An accessible film programme made it possible for people with disabilities to attend the festival.

In total, some 170 films and XR works from 55 countries were shown during the 64th edition of DOK Leipzig. The festival was held at locations in Leipzig from 25 to 31 October, and was then continued in the online programme of DOK Stream from 1 to 14 November.