DOK Leipzig 2017 Ceremony

… took place at Westbad, a former venue for the citizens to go to swim. Now turned into one big room for concerts, conferences and the prize ceremony of the 60 year old festival. Tables were put up with wine and snacks, very nice, as was the performance of the conferencier, former MDR commissioning editor Claudia Schreiner. Not an easy job – seven Golden Doves and an overall total of 21 awards, comprising €73.500 – and it was not her fault that the ceremony took almost three hours.

One who contributed to the overtime was the spokesperson for the Interreligious Jury. She talked and talked and came up with a harsh criticism of the festival for its selection and lack of political films. Schreiner, as conferencier, opposed her on stage and the producer of ”The Congo Tribunal”, Arne Birkenstock, used his thank you speech for an honorary mention to the film to make a pretty tough attack on the jury spokesperson for saying – in German that many in the audience do not understand – that 11 films out of the 12 in the main competition were bad. His speech was warmly welcomed. Also festival director Leena Pasanen felt that she had to make the comment that the festival does not look for films that directly point to what the filmmaker wants the audience to think. Of course not.

No reason to hide that this incident – a jury member that makes a strong critique of the selection, a jury member from the Interreligious jury! – did take away some of the good atmosphere of the ceremony, especially because we non-fluent-in-German-language did not get what was going on.

Having said so, it was great to have competent filmmakers and –

lovers on the stage to make professional motivations for their choices. Heddy Honigmann giving an honorary mention to Aliona vand der Horst for ”Love is Potatoes”, the master to her pupil, Rod Stoneman reminding us about the strength of the short film, and Jay Rosenblatt, who was the one-man-jury for the Next Masters section, honouring three films, ”The Strange Sound of Happiness” by Italian Diego Pascal Panarello, ”Delta” by Ukrainian Oleksandr Techinskyi and South Korean director Boram Kim for “Baek-gu”. Four South Korean young women were on stage to receive the award. Thank you speech in their own language…

You can read about all the awards on the site of the festival. Here is a quote from the press release mentioning the three main winners:

The Romanian-born filmmaker Ana Dumitrescu has won the prestigious Golden Dove in the International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film, granted by the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR). In “Licu, a Romanian Story” (PHOTO) (“Licu, o poveste românească”), the former photojournalist films Liviu Canţer, aka Licu, as he shares his memories of the 20th century and all its extremes. In an intimate atmosphere, the 92-year-old talks of the war, expulsions and the post-communist era. During the course of the film, the director becomes more of a visitor than an observer and a relationship based on trust develops between her and her protagonist. The jury praised her approach: “This way goes directly to our hearts, creating a filmic journey which lasts only 86 minutes but for us it is a life lesson.” 

Two of Dumitrescu’s other documentaries have already been released in French cinemas. 

The Golden Dove in the German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film was awarded to the Israeli-German coproduction “Muhi – Generally Temporary” by Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman. Muhi, a six-year-old boy was born in the Gaza Strip. He has an auto-immune disease and has spent most of his life in an Israeli hospital, accompanied by his grandfather. Even when his hands and feet are amputated, he demonstrates strength and optimism. 

The film was co-produced by the Leipzig-based production company “Neue Celluloid Fabrik”.

The South Korean director Boram Kim won the Golden Dove in the Next Masters Competition for “Baek-gu” („Gae-ui-yeok-sa“). With the help of an old limping dog, the filmmaker becomes acquainted with the inhabitants of a calm district of Seoul, who all seem to live in separate worlds. The prize, which is donated by the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, provides financial support to kickstart another film project. The 20-year-old Norwegian filmmaker Maja Arnekleiv won the Golden Dove for the best animated documentary film for her debut “Mum’s Hair” (“Mammas hår”). She captured the physical transformation of her mother – diagnosed with cancer – over two years. She then compiled over 2000 images to create a playful and personal montage of positive memories.


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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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