DOK.fest Munich 2019 Overview

The 34th DOK.fest Munich

May 8-19

This long-running German nonfiction event presents approximately 140 new features.


German-language features face off in the DOK.deutsch competition, including world premieres such as: Thomas Ladenburger’s I AM ANASTASIA, a portrait of the first MTF commanding officer in the German armed forces; Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss’ LOVEMOBIL, a heimat film focused on sex workers; Sebastian Heinzel’s THE WAR IN ME, in which the filmmaker explores his family’s wartime past; Lena Leonhardt’s HIGHFLYERS, on the global market for pigeons; and Jörg Haaßengier and Jürgen Brügger’s MASTER OF DISASTER, which explores disaster simulations.


World premieres in the competition include: Andreas Hoessli’s THE NAKED KING: 18 FRAGMENTS ABOUT REVOLUTION, a personal reflection on the simultaneous Polish Solidarity and Iranian Revolution movements; Alexandra Kaufmann’s THE SISTERS OF ROCINANTE, a portrait of three young Spanish women and their relationships with animals; and Mirjam Leuze’s THE WHALE AND THE RAVEN, about Canadian First Nation peoples’ relationship with whales.


Films from developing and emerging countries are the focus of DOK.horizonte, which offers: Francesca Scalisi and Mark Olexa’s DIGITALKARMA, about a Bangladeshi girl who wishes to become a businesswoman before she marries; Elpida Nikou Rodrigo Hernández’s SHOOTING, a profile of a Mexican photojournalist forced into exile; and Michel K Zongo’s NO GOLD FOR KALSAKA, about the broken promises made to Burkina Faso to exploit the country’s gold.


The Student Award presents a number of world premieres, including: Anna-Sophia Richard’s IN MY SKIN, a female-focused view of domestic violence; Katharina Kraft’s EYE CANDY, a portrait of a female wrestler in love; and Jan Prazak’s ANOTHER LIFE, a profile of a animal-loving hermit in Ireland.


The non-competitive DOK.panorama section includes world premieres like Christoph Röhl’s DEFENDER OF THE FAITH, on the rise and fall of Pope Benedict XVI; and Hubertus Siegert’s CHILDREN OF UTOPIA, in which former schoolmates reflect on their experiences in a class that integrated differently-abled students within the mainstream; international premieres such as Jacques Deschamps’ THE GRAND HOTEL BALLET, a documusical about workers in a French hotel; and German premieres including Marko Raat’s FUNERAL DIARIES, a portrait of Estonian priests in shrinking immigrant communities in Canada; Tanja Brzakovic’s THE CHINESE WILL COME, about the Chinese presence in Serbia; and Nathalie Borgers’ THE REMAINS: AFTER THE ODYSSEY, which explores the work of those who are tasked with recovering the bodies of drowned refugees.


Munich Premieres presents local debuts of recent German productions, including: Benedict Mirow’s DRAW A LINE: RICHARD SIEGAL AND THE BALLET OF DIFFERENCE, a portrait of the German dancer/choreographer and his company; Manuele Deho’s FOOTBALL-MAD, about a soccer team made up of players with cognitive disabilities; Martin Saxer, Daler Kaziev, and Marlen Elders’ MURGHAB, an ethnography of a remote Tajik village; Alexander Hick’s THINKING LIKE A MOUNTAIN, on an indigenous people in the Colombian highlands; Maya Reichert’s JUST ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, which focuses on three individuals living on a volcanic island in Cape Verde; and Stephan Hilpert’s CONGO CALLING, which follows Europeans who traverse bureaucracy to offer development aid to Congo.


Other sections include DOK.guest, which this year spotlights Russian nonfiction, including Zosya Rodkevich and Evgeniya Ostanina’s WHITE MAMA, an observational portrait of a large Russian family whose harmony is upended by the arrival of a seventh adopted child; and Anna Yanovskaya’s EXCITING LIFE, following a Moscow actor’s misadventures making a film in a provincial republic; DOK.focus humaNature, on the relationship between man and nature, with work like Tom Burke’s LOSING ALASKA, which looks at the plight of Alaska’s Yupik as they lose their home to climate change; and Karin de Miguel Wessendorf’s THE RED LINE: RESISTANCE IN THE HAMBACH FOREST, which looks at activism against Germany’s lignite mining; DOK.special, with work like Itamar Rose’s 100 MILLION VIEWS, following the filmmaker’s attempts to go viral on YouTube; and Murad Abu Eisheh’s SPIRIT OF THE BALL, which follows soccer fans as they travel to Russia for the World Cup; and Best of Fests, with work like Floriane Devigne’s NO BOX FOR ME. AN INTERSEX STORY, focusing on the experiences of intersex individuals; and Alessandro Cassigoli and Casey Kauffman’s BUTTERFLY, a coming of age portrait of a young female boxer.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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