DOK Leipzig presents politically charged documentaries
by Birgit Heidsiek
- At the long-established festival, filmmakers will discuss the role of documentaries beyond the current media war
The 57th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (DOK Leipzig) kicked off yesterday with the politically charged documentary Citizenfour [+see also:
film profile], by Laura Poitras, in which the Academy Award-nominated director/producer (My Country, My Country) explores the first few days following the eruption of the NSA scandal. The audience is brought close to the action as Edward Snowden contacts her for the first time via Tor, a network of virtual tunnels that allows users to enhance their privacy on the internet, and as journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill interview Snowden in his hotel room in Hong Kong.
Produced by Praxis Films, the documentary-thriller about the world-famous whistleblower is a co-production with the German public TV channels Norddeutscher Rundfunk and Bayerischer Rundfunk. Poitras could not come to Leipzig for the opening but will hold her first press conference in Germany at the festival this Thursday.
Running until 2 November, DOK Leipzig will present a total of 368 films from 62 countries, including 41 world premieres. The official selection includes five competitions that will be showing international and German documentaries, movies by young directors, international short docs, and animated films. In the International Documentary Film Competition, 12 productions from 12 countries, including Citizenfour, Maidan [+see also:
film profile] by Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa and In the Basement [+see also:
film profile] by Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl, will compete for the Golden Dove, worth €10,000.
The International Animated Film Competition will offer an enormous range of artistic ideas and their technical realisation. The 34 productions from 16 countries use paintings, silhouette animation techniques and clay animation.
DOK Leipzig will also showcase the works of renowned Ukrainian and Russian filmmakers who have differing points of view when it comes to examining the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. At the DOK Talk Special, filmmakers such as Sergei Loznitsa and Anastasia Lobanova will discuss how documentaries can be positioned beyond the current media war.
The gathering owes its great international reputation to the commitment of Claas Danielsen, the director of DOK Leipzig and managing director of Leipziger Dok-Filmwochen GmbH. After ten years of managing the long-established event, he will hand over the reins to Finnish documentary expert Leena Pasanen on 1 January 2015.