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FESTIVALS Germany

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Golden Doves reward gripping stories at DOK Leipzig

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- The German gathering is set to introduce a quota for female filmmakers in the German competition next year

Golden Doves reward gripping stories at DOK Leipzig
The winners of DOK Leipzig 2017

Memories of war and post-communism, the fates of the seriously ill, but also the power of German punk rock – these were all subjects that left their mark on the 60th edition of the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (aka DOK Leipzig), which presented 340 films between 30 October and 5 November. Altogether, 21 prizes worth €73,500 were given out at this year’s gathering, among them seven Golden Dove Awards.

The international competition was won by Romanian filmmaker Ana Dumitrescu with her filmic portrait Licu, a Romanian Story, centring on a 92-year-old man who tells a story spanning two centuries. As one of the last surviving members of his generation, he has been an eyewitness to the Second World War, expulsions, Ceauşescu’s industrialisation and surveillance, the Revolution of 1989 and corrupt post-communism on the margins of the EU. Dumitrescu was the director, producer, cinematographer and editor of this cinematic journey that lasts just 86 minutes but serves as a life lesson. 

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The Golden Dove in the German competition was awarded to the documentary Muhi – Generally Temporary by Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman. Produced by Leipzig-based production company Neue Celluloid Fabrik in co-production with Israel, the film is about a six-year-old boy who is the son of a Hamas activist in Gaza, but has spent his whole life in an Israeli hospital. Due to his autoimmune disease, his hands and feet had to be amputated. He hardly knows his parents and siblings, because only his grandfather was allowed to accompany him to Israel.

Illness is also the subject broached in Mammas hår (Mum’s Hair) by Norwegian newcomer Maja Arnekleiv, who won the International Competition Animated Documentary. Her film portrays the survival story of her mother, filmmaker Anita Killi, who was diagnosed with cancer when Maja was 16 years old. Over the course of two years, she took more than 2,000 pictures that show that it’s not the hair that matters.

One of the festival hits at DOK Leipzig was the German documentary Wild Heart, about Feine Sahne Fischfilet, one of the most successful German punk-rock bands. The film, which marks the directorial debut by German actor Charly Hübner and Sebastian Schultz, shows how musicians fight against Nazis with music that is strong, loud and full of joy. Wild Heart was crowned with four awards, among them a special prize that was given out by a jury of young prisoners.

This year, several female filmmakers won awards at DOK Leipzig. “We have had a relatively constant presence of female directors in our international competition,” states festival director Leena Pasanen. “But we’ve noticed significant fluctuations in the German competition over the past few years.” As a result, the festival will introduce a quota for female filmmakers in the German competition for the next two years. At this year’s edition, a DOK Prize for female filmmakers was already given out, as was a Female Talent Development Prize at the Co-Production Meeting.

The DOK Industry section was attended by about 1,800 international industry representatives. A total of 900 meetings took place at the DOK Co-Pro Market, while 75 experts put their networking skills to good use at the DOK Exchange conference. Some of the 13 film projects that were pitched at the DOK Previews have already found distribution. Plus, for the first time, short-film projects could also be presented at DOK Short'n'Sweet. “I was particularly impressed by the many talented emerging filmmakers that we discovered this year,” sums up Pasanen. “Furthermore, the winner of the German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film proves that Central Germany is a vibrant location in the media landscape.”

Here is the full list of winners at DOK Leipzig:

Golden Doves

International Competition Long
Licu, a Romanian Story - Ana Dumitrescu (Romania)

International Competition Short Documentary Film
The Ashes Remain Warm (Na cinza fica calor) - Mónica Martins Nunes (Cape Verde Islands/Portugal/Germany)

International Competition Short Animation Film
Deyzangeroo - Ehsan Gharib (Canada)

Next Masters Competition
Baek-gu - Boram Kim (South Korea)

International Competition Animated Documentary
Mum’s Hair (Mammas hår) - Maja Arnekleiv (Norway)

German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film
Muhi – Generally Temporary - Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman (Israel/Germany)

German Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film
Mega Trick - Anne Isensee (Germany)

Further Awards

DEFA Sponsoring Prize for German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film
Wild Heart - Charly Hübner and Sebastian Schultz (Germany)

Healthy Workplaces Film Award
Turtle Shells (Schildkröten Panzer) - Tuna Kaptan (Germany)

Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize
Wild Heart - Charly Hübner and Sebastian Schultz (Germany)

MDR Film Prize
Granny Project - Bálint Révész (Hungary)

Leipziger Ring Film Prize (Audience Award)
Silent War - Manon Loizeau (France/Switzerland)

The Interreligious Jury Award
Love Is Potatoes - Aliona van der Horst (Netherlands) 

Prize of the United Services Trade Union ver.di
Wild Heart - Charly Hübner and Sebastian Schultz (Germany)

Young Eyes Film Award
F32.2 - Annelie Boros (Germany)

Prize of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique
The Project - Alejandro Alonso Estrella (Cuba) 

mephisto 97.6 Audience Award
Grandpa Walrus - Lucrèce Andreae (France)

DOK Im Knast Award
Wild Heart - Charly Hübner and Sebastian Schultz (Germany)

DOK Neuland Audience Award
Notes to My Father - Jayisha Patel (India/USA) 

DOK Co-Pro Market 

DOK Leipzig and EWA Development Prize
Waterproof - Daniela König (Germany)

Zonta Club Leipzig Elster Female Talent Development Prize
The Primate Citizen - Sinae Ha (South Korea)

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Les Arcs call
 

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