Returning for its 30th edition, DOK.fest Munich begins tonight, Thursday, May 7, and runs through Sunday, May 17. More than one hundred documentary features will unspool over the course of the event, which runs three days longer than last year’s fest, including the following highlights:
Fourteen films compete in DOK.international, with such titles as Pawel Siczek’s HALF THE TOWN, about a Jewish photographer’s quest through family history; Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd’s FOR THE LOST (pictured), a study of an isolated shepherd; Leonidas Bieri and Robin Burgauer’s ANDERMATT – GLOBAL VILLAGE, which follows the creation of a Swiss luxury ski resort; and Jens Schanze’s LA BUENA VIDA, on the impact of development on a Colombian indigenous community.
Filmmaking from volatile regions is represented in the DOK.horizonte competition, including Syria with Mohammad Ali Atassi and Ziad Homsi’s OUR TERRIBLE COUNTRY, which explores the revolution from the perspective of those outside of the country; Pakistan with Nausheen Dadabhoy’s THE GROUND BENEATH THEIR FEET (pictured), about two disabled women struggling in Pakistani society; Mexico with Itzel Martínez del Cañizo’s UPSIDE DOWN HOME, following indebted young Tijuanans; and Lebanon with Bassem Fayad’s DIARIES OF A FLYING DOG, the filmmaker’s personal reflection on family and war.
German-language work vies for recognition in the DOK.deutsch competition, with titles such as: Sobo Swobodnik’s LEBE SCHON LANGE HIER (pictured), a longitudinal portrait of a Berlin intersection; Christiane Büchner’s FAMILY BUSINESS, a look at the relationship between an elderly woman, her daughter, and her nurse; Nancy Brandt’s ELECTED, an exploration of German politics through the lens of gender; and Simon Brückner’s FROM THE SIDELINE, which follows the filmmaker’s exploration of his student leader father’s past.
Screening out of competition are the local works in the Munich Premieres section, which includes: Ralf Bücheler’s MISSION CONTROL TEXAS, about an atheist television program in Texas; Jakob Gross’ ABDO, a portrait of a young Egyptian revolutionary; Katharina Köster’s NATASCHA, a profile of a developmentally disabled expectant mother; and Ina Borrmann’s EVERY 28 DAYS (pictured), a look at a couple’s difficulty in conceiving children.
Other non-competitive sections include world cinema focused DOK.panorama, which, among several festival favorites, features lesser known titles such as Hubertus Siegert’s BEYOND PUNISHMENT, about murderers and family survivors meeting; and Zuzanna Solakiewic’s 15 CORNERS OF THE WORLD (pictured), about an octogenarian audio artist; DOK.money, whose economy and globalization focus includes Philipp Enders’ MONEY – A CONFUSED USER’S GUIDE and Amparo Mejias’ THOSE WHO GO WITH ME; and Film School Festival, which puts the spotlight on student work, including Lion Bischof, Jonas Heldt, and Felicitas Sonvilla’s look at life in a small border town, HINTERLAND; and Anna Frances Ewert and Falk Müller’s Roma ghetto portrait, NADESHDA. The program is rounded out by a focus on Chinese independent nonfiction, a social issue doc section, a music doc section, and some retrospective work.