DOK Leipzig, Germany’s longest-running nonfiction festival, holds its 59th edition beginning tonight, Monday, October 31. Between now and Sunday, November 6, more than 80 new documentary features will screen in a program that also celebrates animation while also offering several retrospective selections. The following puts the spotlight on the event’s eclectic nonfiction:
A number of world premieres are presented in the German Competition, including: Hajo Schomerus’ KOKOLAMPY, on the hunt for a rare Malagasy egg; Susanne Kim’s IMAGINE SWIMMING, about seniors learning to swim; Lena Leonhardt’s DOG SOLDIERS (pictured), on military dog training; Dieter Schumann’s OFF THE TRACKS, an intimate look at the European refugee crisis through a small town pub; Jakob Schmidt’s TO BE A TEACHER, an inside experience of teacher training; and Carolin Genreith’s HAPPY, a portrait of the filmmaker’s sex tourist father.
Among the ten doc features in the International Competition that haven’t been covered here previously are two world premieres – Serhiy Bukovsky’s THE LEADING ROLE (pictured), about the filmmaker’s mother, a Soviet film star; and Mia Halme’s EVERY OTHER COUPLE, a meditation on marital divorce – and the international premiere of Behrouz Nouranipour’s A157, on the plight of three young Iraqi Kurdish refugees.
Emerging directors compete in the Next Master Competition, which also includes several world premieres, such as: Magali Roucaut’s BEHIND THE STONE WALL, a look at a soon-to-be-shuttered Parisian factory; Niina Brandt’s MY SECRET FOREST, a portrait of an autistic boy’s search for love; Tatyana Chistova’s CONVICTIONS, which follows the trials of four Russian conscientious objectors; Fabian Remy’s THE THIRD SHORE, a portrait of an indigenous Brazilian tribesman who moved to the city; and Mariam Chachia’s LISTEN TO THE SILENCE (pictured), about a school for Georgian deaf children.
The fest’s largest section, International Programme, offers up almost 40 new docs, with world premiere titles including: Jo-Anne Velin’s THE PICTURE OF THE DAY, a consideration of xenophobia in a small German community; Martin Rit and Mariette Désert’s WORKING LIFE, a study of young teens destined to a life of menial labor; Irene Langemann’s PAVLENSKY: MAN AND MIGHT, about the dissident artist’s crusade against Putin’s Russia; Claudio Capanna’s LIFE TO COME, a chronicle of preemies’ struggle to survive; Katja Duregger’s EGONOMICS, a consideration of the disturbing personality traits of management culture; Șerban Georgescu’s CABBAGE, POTATOES AND OTHER DEMONS, a look at a failing Romanian agricultural system based on overproduction; and Elí Roland Sachs’ BROTHER JAKOB (pictured), about the filmmaker’s brother, a convert to radical Islam.
Other films appearing in the International Programme include: Eefje Blankevoort and Arnold van Bruggen’s BRING THE JEWS HOME (pictured), about a Christian fundamentalist’s convictions about the Second Coming; Kurdwin Ayub’s PARADISE! PARADISE!, which follows the filmmaker and her Kurdish father to purchase property in Iraq; Elena Volochine and James Keogh’s OLEG’S CHOICE, about a Russian volunteer soldier on the frontlines of Ukraine; Shaunak Sen’s CITIES OF SLEEP, following the homeless of Delhi as they seek shelter for the night; Alexander Kuznetsov’s WE’LL BE ALRIGHT, about two abandoned Russian children fighting against their forced institutionalization; Benthe Forrer’s THE CHOCOLATE CASE, an exploration of child slavery in chocolate production; Ross Turnbull’s TERMINAL DEVICE, a history of the prosthesis; and Ronen Zaretzky and Yael Kipper’s CHILD MOTHER, in which women forced into marriage as youth to older men open up about their pasts tot their grown children.