52nd Leipzig International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film
Germany, October 26 - November 1 2009
Held each October, the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film is the largest German – and one of the main international – festivals for artistic documentary and animated films.
The festival was founded in 1955 by the Club of Filmmakers of the German Democratic Republic (Club der Filmschaffenden der DDR) as the ‘All-German Week for Cultural and Documentary Film’ and was the GDR’s first independent film festival. During the time of the Cold War, Leipzig was a unique place for encounters and exchange for filmmakers from the East and the West. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago, the festival has developed into one of the most dynamic events for documentary and animated film, providing a high-quality programme and an additional programme of industry events since 2004.
Artistic animated film has been an integral part of the festival for many decades and has been represented with its own independent competition since 1995. This so-called “twin-track character” makes Leipzig unique in the international festival landscape.
Traditionally, the Leipzig festival has stood for films advocating peace and human dignity. Indeed, the festival has had the symbol of the dove since 1962 after Pablo Picasso agreed to the use of his engraving of the dove from the Paris World Peace Congress of 1947. The festival’s trophies for the main prizes wereknown from then on as the Golden and Silver Doves. In view of its varied and exciting history, Leipzig has celebrated freedom of mind and speech as well as pointedly illustrated images over the years. High-quality arthouse cinema, superbly narrated stories, a critical eye, subtle observation and scrutinising the “memory of images” have shaped Leipzig’s character and diversity.
Known as DOK Leipzig for short and with “the heART of documentary” as its motto, the festival’s main programme comprises four competition strands; International Competition Documentary, International Competition Animated Film, German Competition Documentary Film, and International Young Talent Documentary Competition.
With the appointment of ClaasDanielsen as festival director in 2004, Leipzig changed along with the international documentary scenetoestablish an extensive programme of industry events to run alongside the main festival. Collected together under the banner of “DOK Industry”, these events provide networking opportunities for filmmakers, producers, commissioning editors and visiting professionals from abroad, as well as showcasingthe DOK Market digital videotheque and the Leipzig Screenings for recently completed productions to be viewed by festival programmers, distributors and TV buyers.
Speaking about the 2009 lineup of over 300 outstanding works, Danielsen explained that each of these titles “proves how imaginative, exciting, personal, moving, artistic and political film can be today. Apart from a sidebar dedicated to the revolutionary changes of 1989 in “Gdansk-Leipzig-Bucharest” and a retrospective organised with the Bundesarchiv to honour the great documentary filmmaker Joris Ivens, the festival revealed, in a programme entitled “The Undaunted Ones”, how many DEFA animators kept working indefatigably after 1989 and ultimately achieved international success. Moreover, the retrospective “Between Irony and Lyricism” showcased the work of the Russian animation film pioneer Andrey Khrzanovskiy. (Edited by Tara Judah)
International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film: