DOK.fest Munich opens its 29th edition tonight, Wednesday, May 7. Screening over a hundred titles through next Wednesday, May 14, the festival continues to showcase a broad range of brand new and recent nonfiction work, as well as retrospective programming which includes a selection of Oscar documentaries and the work of celebrated British director Kim Longinotto. What follows are highlights from some of the event’s competitive and non-competitive sections:
The eleven titles in DOK.international compete for the fest’s biggest prize, €10,000. These include: Till Cöster’s GONE MISSING – THE LAST TRIP OF OLD JOHN, about an old man who wanted to die in the jungle; Mirjam Leuze’s FLOWERS OF FREEDOM, a David and Goliath story of the Kirghiz people vs a Canadian mining company; Farida Pacha’s MY NAME IS SALT (pictured), following the efforts to recover salt from an Indian desert before the water washes it away; and Thomas Wallner’s Hot Docs winner, BEFORE THE LAST CURTAIN FALLS, in which senior trans women and gay male performers tell their stories.
DOK.horizonte presents work from volatile nations, with countries represented including the United Arab Emirates with Mahmoud Kaabour’s CHAMP OF THE CAMP, about a singing contest among South Asian migrant workers in Dubai; Cuba with Charlie Petersmann’s CANTOS, profiling four individuals just trying to survive; Yemen with Sara Ishaq’s THE MULBERRY HOUSE (pictured), on the impact of revolution on the filmmaker, who returns after a decade away; and China and Tibet with Jocelyn Ford’s NOWHERE TO CALL HOME, in which the director befriends a young Tibetan mother eking out an existence on the streets of Beijing.
National fare takes center stage in DOK.deutsch, such as Martin Rieck’s THE LIFE AFTER DEATH AT THE SEASIDE (pictured), about a couple who run a funeral home; Bendikt Kuby’s YOU REMAIN THE FARMER, about an octogenarian whose family has farmed since the early 17th century; Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken’s DIVINE MANAGEMENT, chronicling the gentrification of a defunct factory into a high-end rental property; Jürgen Brügger and Jörg Haaßengier’s ORGANIZED, which focuses on order-minded collectors; and Bettina Blümner’s TALKING TURKEY, a profile of a Turkish men’s group in Berlin.
The fest also celebrates German cinema in the Munich Premieres section, showcasing local work, including: Oswald von Richthofen’s 35 COWS AND A KALASHNIKOV (pictured), on three distinct expressions of African masculinity; Alexander Riedel’s SHINE WELL, about visiting priests tasked with strengthening dying church congregations; Anni Seitz’s TRAILS ACROSS THE STEPPE, about the unusual training rituals of Mongolian Olympian hopefuls; and Noemi Schneider’s WALAA!, a portrait of a soccer-mad young female Muslim.
The non-competitive DOK.panorama takes on world cinema, with selections like Annekatrin Hendel’s ANDERSON, on an underground East German artist who secretly reported to the Stasi; Nurit Kedar and Yaron Shani’s LIFE SENTENCES, about a mixed Israeli/Palestinian family contending with a troubling legacy; Marcin Malaszczak’s SIENIAWKA (pictured), a hybrid exploration of a Polish psychiatric institution; and Katharina von Schröder and Florian Schewe’s WE WERE REBELS, in which a former child soldier considers the new country of South Sudan.
Among the remaining sections are DOK.special, focusing on social issue docs, including Alice Agneskirchner’s AN APARTMENT IN BERLIN, about the experiences of Israelis who choose to live in Germany; the first-person films of DOK.ego, such as Eric Asch’s CODENAME PIRATE (pictured), in which the filmmaker investigates allegations that his father was a foreign agent in East Germany; and DOK.guest, on Brazilian cinema, including Cavi Borges and Luciano Vidigal’s CITY OF GOD – TEN YEARS AFTER, checking-in on some of the amateur actors from the acclaimed film; as well as music docs in DOK.music, kids’ films in DOK.education, and selections of the best work from various film schools.