Programme Overview 2021

Programme Overview 2021

DOK Leipzig Plakat-Sujet 2021: Ein runder Doppelschalter im Retro-Design. Der Schalter links ist nach oben gekippt, der rechte nach unten.
In our competitions and unique film programmes we show international and German films, contemporary and historical cinematic works and offer a rich festival programme for children and adults.
Staging the Festival Amid the Pandemic

We will return to big screens in the fall! For our 64th edition taking place from 25 to 31 October, we plan to air the complete film programme in selected Leipzig venues, and to celebrate a week of documentary and animated film with our audience on-site in Leipzig.

After the festival week, our “DOK Stream” will launch online to serve those who wish to either deepen their festival experience or visit DOK Leipzig wholly online. The VoD film programme will feature a selection of festival films accessible to the German public during the first two weeks of November.


Our Film Programmes 2021

The Competitions

We present six competition categories and a category out of competition at DOK Leipzig 2021:

  • International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film
  • International Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film
  • Camera Lucida – Out of Competition
  • German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film
  • German Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film
  • Competition for the Audience Award Long Documentary and Animated Film
  • Competition for the Audience Award Short Documentary and Animated Film

Find all nominated films in the 2021 competitions here.

Awards & Juries

Eight awards of the festival – the Golden and Silver Doves – and further prizes presented by our partner are awarded in the competitions. 

Who actually decides which films receive awards? DOK Leipzig’s winning films are selected by independent juries. 

The ruin of a building, only the walls have survived. Plants and little trees grow inside.
The Rhine Flows to the Mediterranean Sea © Offer Avnon
Opening Film

Our 64th festival edition will open with the International Premiere of The Rhine Flows to the Mediterranean Sea by Offer Avnon. After ten years in Germany, the filmmaker returns to Israel and takes stock of that time, but also looks at his homeland from a changed perspective.

In associative montages of images and conversations with people in Germany, Poland and ultimately in Israel, this film explores persistent traumas, mechanisms of repressing the pain, and attempts at reconciliation. 

We will air the film during the official festival opening on 25 October at CineStar 4, starting at 7 pm. Parallel to the opening ceremony, we will also present the film in a public screening at the East hall of Leipzig’s main station. The screening starts at 8:30 pm, admission is free.


The Jews of the Others. Divided Germany, Distributed Guilt, Dissected Images

With the division of Germany, Hitler’s empire finally disappeared from the map. But in the new states, the old Germans lived on: perpetrators and onlookers of the mass murder of Europe’s Jews. For both the GDR and FRG, dealing with the Holocaust became a moral touchstone – a standard by which they measured themselves and their neighbour. We look at German-German alternating and counter views, at films about guilt, at images of “Jewishness” that show “Germanness”.

Guests with (film) historical expertise are invited to all film talks.

During the festival week, the series will be complemented by the study presentation “Eichmann and the Cold War on East and West German Television”.

Retrospective – the Films

Archivbild: Einige Erwachsene und Kinder laufen auf einer Straße, die Sonne scheint, es ist Sommer. Im Hintergrund die Fassade eines großen Gebäudes aus der Gründerzeit.
Programme 1

A Nazi propaganda lie disguised as a documentary, an educational film conceived for the visitors of the Buchenwald memorial in the GDR and a silent analysis of silent footage from Westerbork – “dedicated” uses of material that speaks loudly in silence.

Germany, South Korea - 2007 - Harun Farocki - 40 min.

GDR - 1961 - Günter Weschke - 26 min.

Theresienstadt: A Documentary Film from the Jewish Settlement Area 
Germany - 1944 - Kurt Gerron, Karel Pečený - 17 min.

Filmstill: Nahaufnahme eines männlichen Gesichts. Die Augen sind weit aufgerissen und starren über die Kamera  hinweg.
Programme 2

Resnais’ documentary essay about the concentration camp as the epitome of Nazi terror was released in German cinemas under the title “Nacht und Nebel”. Paul Celan translated the original text for the FRG, Henryk Keisch for the GDR. A comparative examination of words and meanings.

Night and Fog [German version GDR 1960] 
France - 1955 - Alain Resnais - 31 min.

Night and Fog [German version FRG 1956] 
France - 1955 - Alain Resnais - 31 min.

Filmstill: Ein Porträtfoto eines Mannes in den 30er Jahren. Rechts daneben steht in Handschrift  "Mein Wunsch geht dahin, preußischer Staat".
Programme 3

Two salvos at the FRG of the early 1960s: A GDR documentary polemicist targets a desk murderer of the “Final Solution” in Adenauer’s cabinet. And from the inside, one of Oberhausen’s film innovators takes aim at the Hitler tourism at the Obersalzberg.

Operation J 
GDR - 1961 - Walter Heynowski - 103 min.

That Must Be a Piece of Hitler 
FRG - 1963 - Walter Krüttner - 11 min.

Archivbild: Eine Frau im Minikleid und großer Perlenkette sitzt in einem großen Rohr.
Programme 4

The “State of the Jews” in the Middle East was scarcely older than the FRG and GDR. Both were looking for a morally correct relationship with Israel, in which ideological system affiliations also counted. Two films of affinity: a handshake and a fist.

Paradise and Melting Pot 
FRG - 1958 - Herbert Viktor - 78 min.

The Stormers 
GDR - 1967 - Dagobert Loewenberg, Peter Voigt - 10 min.

Archivbild: Riesige dunkle Rauchwolken.
Programme 5

“The bitch that bore him is in heat again”? Anti-Semitic continuities and bitter punchlines are voiced in protected spaces. A student film, an educational reportage, a collage and a street exploration made for the archive create meaning between the lines.

Educational Attainment of West German Pupils in the 1950s 
FRG - 1959 - Jürgen Neven du Mont - 44 min.

Berlin-Totale XIV. 2. d) Almstadtstraße 
GDR - 1979 - Karl-Heinz Wegner - 35 min.

Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene 
FRG - 1972 - Jean-Marie Straub - 16 min.

GDR - 1966 - Karlheinz Mund - 16 min.

Filmstill: Innenansicht eines leerstehenden Gebäudes, Tapete blättert von den kahlen Wänden, zwei Spiegel und ein kleines Waschbecken sind noch an der Wand montiert.
Programme 6

German city architectures, historical and contemporary, as mirror surfaces for exclusion, debasement and displacement. We have lived in Frankfurt am Main, in Berlin, in Leipzig, for 1,700 years or since last week. But who belongs to this “we”?

The Empty House 
Deutschland - 2004 - Miriam Pfeiffer - 30 min.

The Jewish Lane 
BRD - 1988 - Peter Nestler - 44 min.

The Road We Don’t Walk Together 
Deutschland - 2009 - Dominik Graf - 13 min.


The Retrospective is funded by the The Federal Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Eastern Germany. We also thank the German Broadcasting Archive for their support.

Porträt von Avi Mograbi. Er blickt ernst in die Kamera, hinter ihm sind mehrere Monitore erleuchtet.
© Jose Kattán
Jose Kattán
Homage Avi Mograbi

Secret Agent Avi

Poetic activist? Politically unreliable poet? As a critic of Israel’s role in the Middle East conflict, Israeli filmmaker Avi Mograbi puts himself squarely between two stools. He spies on all ideological camps, varying a special poetics of concealment and revelation that we will present in three of his most recent works.

The creator haunting the film – not as a discreet interviewer or commentator, but as a singing ghost or a substitute protagonist, that is part of the “Avi Mograbi method”. The filmmaker explains in a masterclass how and why he uses it.

In 2015, Avi Mograbi and festival director Christoph Terhechte talked about failed and felicitous films, about assigned and devolved characters – and about moral. You can read the transcript of the conversation here.

Homage Avi Mograbi – the Films

Filmstill: Vier Soldaten in Uniform und mit Helmen stehen nebeneinander, einer hält ein Smartphone hoch und macht ein Foto.
The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation

France, Finland, Israel, Germany - 2021 - Avi Mograbi - 110 min.

Filmszene aus "Once I entered the Garden": Ein Mädchen in einer Winterjacke blickt auf den Boden, neben ihm steht ein Hinweisschild in hebräischer und arabischer Schrift.
Once I Entered a Garden

Israel, Switzerland, France - 2012 - Avi Mograbi - 99 min.

Filmszene aus Z32: Ein Mann und eine Frau sitzen nebeneinander an eine weiße Wand gelegt. Ihre Köpfe sind einander zugewandt. Beide tragen Masken, die ihr ganzes Gesicht überdecken.

Israel, France - 2008 - Avi Mograbi - 81 min.

Modular & Modified – Animation and Musique Concrète

Sounds “do not conjure up the fateful knots of a plot”, Pierre Schaeffer, a pioneer of musique concrète, wrote in 1967. Looped, distorted, slowed-down, reversed: With every technical innovation, electroacoustic music and animation allowed sounds and images to speak freely for themselves. New worlds in pop, poetry and research opened up.

In addition, Leipzig artists Connie Walker aka CFM and SAOU TV will give a live audio-visual concert.

Animation Perspectives

Claudia Larcher_Randa Maroufi

DOK Leipzig explores the potential of animation, setting up a direct dialogue between two outstanding artistic positions and personalities, even though animation is not at the foreground of Claudia Larcher’s and Randa Maroufi’s video works. But: It conceals and reveals, blurs and marks aesthetic and social transitions.

DEFA Matinee: Kurt Tetzlaff

Reports from the Time of Change

Kurt Tetzlaff was closely associated with DOK Leipzig over decades – as a long-term committee member, as an award winner and as a documentarist who never shied away from rubbing against the grain of the GDR cultural sector. We present three late DEFA productions that tell of the ongoing sea change in a country that was ossifying and eventually evolving into a different one.

The DEFA Matinee is presented in cooperation with the DEFA Foundation.

Matinee Saxon State Archive

Remembrance in the GDR – Memory Work on the Founding Myth

In 1949, the year of its foundation, the GDR defined its relationship to the National Socialist past. The “better Germany” accordingly included only the “better” part of this heritage in its founding myth: the antifascist resistance. Five films from the holdings of the Saxon State Archive illustrate the ambivalence of the GDR’s culture of remembrance.

The Matinee is presented in cooperation with the Saxon State Archive.

Mary Stephen sitzt an einem analogen Schneidetisch zwischen zwei Filmrollen. Sie blickt auf den Film, den sie in ihrer Hand hält.
Editing Makes the Film

How many films can be composed from the same material? We are introducing the renowned editor Mary Stephen, juxtaposing her own cut with that of the director – “Odoriko” versus “Nude at Heart”, director’s cut versus editor’s cut. Where, between menial craft and creative co-authorship, does she see her role?

Mary Stephen will answer these and other questions, and offer insights into her editing oeuvre in the frames of a masterclass


Silver Dove, Golden Times, Steely Looks

This review of our festival history is dedicated to a found footage collage that was awarded the Silver Dove in 1995: some 280,000 metres of nitrate film, condensed into “a kinematographic image of the Dutch-Indies 1912 – c. 1933”. The silent footage of colonial masters learns to speak. The perspective they conserve is unmasked.

Kids DOK

Films for the Young, Films for All

Films for everyone who is in the mood for exciting, funny and thought-provoking viewing experiences: Five programmes present new productions for all age groups. There’s a colourful mix of animated films for kindergarten kids. (Primary) school kids and teenagers will find a host of insights into different realities of life – at eye level.

Doc Alliance Selection

United Forces for the Creative Documentary Film

In the Doc Alliance Selection, seven feature-length and seven short films compete for the Doc Alliance Awards. For our current festival programme, we have selected two of the feature-length nominees from the 2021 Selection, which represent the diversity of artistic documentary film in very different ways.

A female person with VR glasses is looking up.
Susann Jehnichen
Extended Reality: DOK Neuland

Take a step into DOK Neuland. In our Extended Reality exhibition, audiences and filmmakers can discover and define new boundaries in film with interactive works, virtual and augmented reality, games, 360° films and media art in a completely new form. 

The exhibition opens its doors at the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig during the festival week, admission is free. Using the slogan ‘No chaos, no change’, the exhibition seeks to embrace the chaos and sees it as an opportunity for developing new strategies for engaging with the world. Discover the exhibited works

DOK in Dialogue

Let's Come Together – Our Audience Events
Many people arrive in the east hall of the central station and choose seat on the stairs.
Main Station

Cinema for all! Together with the PROMENADEN shopping centre at Leipzig’s main station, every evening during the festival we show selected films from the programme free of charge. Our tip: Snuggling up under blanket with a thermos is rather cozy here, even without the classic movie seat. We’ll announce the films screened at the main station on 7 October.

Four women on the stage are talking with each other
DOK Speaks up

Perhaps a film hasn’t left your mind since the screening, or the discussion afterwards only piqued your curiosity further? Our curated dialogue series invite for moderated round table discussions with filmmakers that address these dominant subjects in the competitions of the current festival edition! 


Blick von hinten über die Zuschauerreihen in einem Kinosaal, vorne bei der Leinwand  stehen zwei Frauen mit Mikrofon in der Hand.
School Screenings

Bringing lessons out of the classroom and into the cinema, our school screenings use selected documentaries and animated films to complement and illustrate topics that students are learning about. Each screening is followed by an in-depth discussion with the filmmakers.  

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