Tomorrow, Thursday, May 5 sees the launch of DOK.fest Munich. The 31st edition of the event runs through Sunday, May 15, and screens more than 100 nonfiction features. Selections from the various competitions and other sections are noted below:
DOK.international features more than a dozen contenders for the event’s top prize, including: Louie Palu and Devin Gallagher’s KANDAHAR JOURNALS, a personal reflection on war in Afghanistan; Daniel Abma’s TRANSIT HAVANA, on three Cubans seeking support from Mariela Castro for sexual reassignment surgery; Kaspar Kasics’ YES NO MAYBE (pictured), a sociological investigation into love; Werner Penzel’s ZEN FOR NOTHING, a look at people seeking answers in a Japanese zen monastery; and Nicolas Humbert’s WILD PLANTS, an intimate look at urban gardening.
German-language features compete in DOK.deutsch, among them: Volker Meyer-Dabisch’s portrait of a coal salesman, HERCULES; Sigmund Steiner’s look at the conflict between farmers and their offspring disinterested in agricultural work, WOOD EARTH MEAT (HOLZ ERDE FLEISCH) (pictured); Katrin Nemec’s profile of a couple’s contrasting response to a tragic accident, OF LOVE AND DEATH (VOM LIEBEN UND STERBEN); and Wolfram Seeger’s profile of a social worker, INSIDE YOUTH WELFARE OFFICE.
Films from developing and emerging countries are the focus of DOK.horizonte, with titles like: Pankaj Johar’s CECILIA, about the filmmaker’s maid’s personal investigation into child trafficking in India; Tatiana Huezo’s TEMPESTAD (pictured), a contrasting portrait of two Mexican mothers; and Hassen Ferhani’s ROUNDABOUT IN MY HEAD, an inside look at an Algerian slaughterhouse.
The large non-competitive DOK.panorama section offers favorites from other festivals as well as lesser known recent work, such as: Simen Braathen’s ARCTIC SUPERSTAR, about a young indigenous Norwegian rapper; Eldora Traykova’s CAMBRIDGE, on a Bulgarian school for Roma; Tora Mkandawire Mårtens’ MARTHA & NIKI, a profile of Swedish hip hop dancer best friends; Berta Valin Escofet and Stefan Höh’s MISTER UNIVERSUM, about a down-on-his-luck former Mr Universe; Levin Peter’s BEYOND THE SNOWSTORM, the filmmaker’s exploration of his grandfather’s contested memories; and Arbo Tammiksaar and Jaak Kilmi’s CHRIST LIVES IN SIBERIA (pictured), a look at a Russia cult.
DOK.special offers several special presentations, including: Eszter Cseke and Andras S Takacs’ CHILDREN OF DICTATORS, interviews with relatives of despots; Avo Kaprealian’s HOUSES WITHOUT DOORS, which finds linkages between the Syrian civil war and the Armenian genocide; and Monika Grassl’s GIRLS DON’T FLY (pictured), about a Ghanaian project to teach young women aeronautical skills.
Other sections include Munich Premieres, with titles like Wolfgang Landgraeber’s THE KILLING OF LIFE (VOM TÖTEN LEBEN), about a small town’s arms industry, and Maximilian Plettau’s SUMMER THEATRE (pictured), which follows preparations for a Munich presentation of THE TEMPEST; and Filmschool Festival, which features work like Christian Zipfel’s MAGADAN – CITY BUILT ON BONES, an inside look at a Siberian gulag, and Xenia Sigalova’s EMPTY ORCHESTRA, about three misunderstood karaoke performers.