Leipzig’s Door To The World

in 47th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film

by Lars Tuncay

The 47th international festival of documentary and animation showed that Leipzig is back on the track towards its former status in the days of Socialism. Fueled by sponsorship money and a large national media coverage, this year’s festival was able to climb new heights in attendence and prize money. The main prize, the Golden Dove for a documentary, was honoured with 10.000 euro, as well as the new awards, the Talent Dove and the Discovery Channel film prize. Another 3.000 euro went to the winner of the Silver Dove and to the Best Animated film.

The winner of the Golden Dove was Thomas Riedelsheimer`s Touch the sound, a Scottish-German co-production about Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie. The film is a visually and audibly stunning piece of art, that opens the viewers ears and eyes to the sounds that surround us. Canadian director Chris Landreth’s Ryan won the Golden Dove for Best Animation. The New Talent award was presented to Jeppe Ronde (Denmark) for Jerusalem my love. The prize money for that film is to be used for his next production.

Overall, variety was the word for this year`s festival. With entries from all over the world and documentary themes spanning many borders, as in the world premiere Über die Grenze (Across the border – Five views from neighbours) to moving, personal stories, as in the two Silver Dove winners, the Korean And Thereafter and the German entry Stroke (Am Seidenen Faden), the festival offered multicultural insights on people in different life situations. The animation part of it was not any different: computer-animation alongside hand-drawn images and stop-motion filled the screens, combined into five competitions. The winner, Ryan, tells the story of director Landreth`s long-term friend and colleage, Oscar-nominee Ryan Larkin (Walking) using both computer-graphics and drawings in a very artistic and surrealistic way. A visually ambitious and well deserved winner of the main animation prize.

Ryan`s scars and decay was a good contrast to the modernization and rebuilding of Leipzig’s city centre. With the market place near the festival, cinemas still under construction until the end of the year, visitors had even more reason to stay in their seats, as the festival offered an interesting, faceted program that left people curious about things to come.

Lars Tunçay