DOK Leipzig 2013

Big numbers in the press release of DOK Leipzig, sent out yesterday with an announcement of the so-called official programme. 56th edition, ” a total of 88 films from 34 countries will compete in the five competition categories. While there is a particularly strong presence of traditional film production countries like Poland, France, and Great Britain, the line-up also includes countries like Bolivia, Myanmar, Nepal, or Syria. 2,240 films from 114 countries were submitted, a total of well over 3,000 films were previewed.”

And it goes on with more facts in the press release, “overall, 346 films will be screened in the various sections and Special Programmes: 187 documentaries, 116 animations, and 43 Animadoc productions. 24 among the 109 films in the official documentary film programme of the 56th edition of DOK Leipzig will be world premieres, 24 international premieres, 7 European premieres and 47 German premieres. The large percentage of prestigious names and former award winners whose films enrich the programme is a particularly positive development.”

Prestigious names… yes, there is a good spread from a classical documentary approach from Volker Koepp, who brings a new title, “In Sarmatia”, to the two Russian documentarians Vitaly Mansky and Marina Razbezhkina and to Danish master Jon Bang Carlsen’s “Just the Right Amount of Violence”, a film that has not yet had its Danish cinema release, as usual with Carlsen on his way to find new ways of exploration and introspection. Bravo also for taking Robert Kirchhoff’s “Normalization” (PHOTO) to the competititon, whereas it is a surprise that “Hilton – Here for Life” by Finnish Virpi Suutari has been chosen.

In the Young Cinema Competititon it is great, for a former Zelig Film School teacher, to find the graduation film of Yuri Mazumdar, a beautiful work from India, “Kalyug”, as well as “The Last Black Sea Pirates” by Bulgarian Svetoslav Stoyanov and “Sickfuckpeople” by Juri Rechinsky.

For me DOK Leipzig is for social and political documentaries, with films from all over the world, with a strong thematic focus, maybe more for the brain than for the heart? I will go there for some days, with pleasure, to a festival that is always very well organised in cosy Leipzig.

Side programmes, of course, take a look at the website, there are focus on Brazil, retro of Peter Liechti and much more. Let the festival director have the last word: “Documentary film today displays an extraordinary wealth of themes and amazing stylistic devices,” says Claas Danielsen. “The genre has long since left its niche to win over a wide audience.” Right he is!

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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