DOK Leipzig 2016 Program

… was announced yesterday with an extensive press release for the 59th (!) edition of the documentary and animation film festival that runs October 31 till November 6. Let me, who will be there, as usual, for some days, enjoying the professionalism and hospitality of the festival, and the city of Leipzig, give you what the festival wants us press people to put a focus on, through a quote from the headlines:

“DOK Leipzig sets record for premieres. Official Selection 2016: Big names, promising talent, and a greater number of female directors. This year 100 films are celebrating their world and international premieres at DOK Leipzig. With 34 more than last year, the number has risen to set a new record. A total of 179 films and 6 interactive projects have made it into the Official Selection…”

OK, let’s take it step by step. “Big Names”, yes and at least two remarkable films that I have already seen: Mira Janek’s beautiful homage to creativity in

“Normal Autistic Film” (photo) and Vitaly Mansky’s timely, personal family essay “Rodnye: Close Relations”. And productive Sergei Loznitsa is back (last year he was there with magnificent “The Event”) with “Austerlitz”, “in which he observes visitors to a concentration camp with their selfie sticks: an eery scenery set in black & white tableaux.” Ukranian Sergey Buhovsky is there with “The Leading Role” and from good friend, producer Nenad Puhovski I heard that “Dum Spiro Spero” by Pero Kvesic should be something very special. Program director Grit Lemke writes, a quote: “…Dum spiro spero, to quote Cicero: while I breathe, I hope. But breathing can be a bit tricky when you have only twenty percent lung volume left, like Pero Kvesić. With a declining trend. The basic sound of this film (besides Kvesić’s Jew’s harp) is his wheezing as he moves through his shrinking universe, camera at the ready…”

Yes, for someone who thinks that “East Beats West” when it comes to original, artistic documentaries, DOK Leipzig has a lot to offer.

Next step. “a greater number of female directors”. Leena Pasanen, festival director: “We are very glad about the increased number of female directors in the competitions for feature-length films,” “Our team is making efforts to strengthen women in the film industry and we wish that more women are in a position to realise their film projects successfully. As one example, that’s why we have introduced a new prize this year for the best female-driven film project.” And make a retrospective with Russian director, producer and educator Marina Razbezhkina, who is also to be the one and only juror of the Next Master section of the festival.

And the special programmes… an exciting country focus on Turkey put together by Õzge Calafato and a wonderful  retrospective of Polish documentaries with director names like Lozinski (Marcel and Pawel), Maciej Drygas, Kieślowski, Dziworski, Jerzy Bossak, Karabasz, Koszalska, Pacek, Palka… And “Disobedient Images”, a collection of animation films, remember that the slogan of this year’s festival is Disobedience. And much, much more.

A total of 309 films and interactive works will be shown during the festival week… OMG! 

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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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