Following the May 6 opening of the online DOK.fest München (with the virtual screening of Réke Szabó’s The Euphoria of Being), the festival got down to business May 7 with the two-pronged DOK.forum Industry programme, comprising Marketplace and Perspectives and Marketplace.
Described as “a platform for ideas and co-production,” the online DOK.forum Marketplace invites 44 selected international documentary film projects in development stage this year. Here they meet experts such as commissioning editors, producers, funding representatives, distributors, festival programmers and sales agents.
There are six prizes up for grabs, including the British Pathé Archive Award (€14,000 in archive material or €2,500 in cash), the German Composition Funding Award, valued at €2500, the DAE Mentoring Award which offers 4 mentor sessions for DAE members and membership of the fledgling doc association.
Meanwhile the DOK.forum Perspectives programme offers a series of pertinent panel discussions designed “to overcome the currently closed borders and to maintain and promote exchange in Europe,” as well as two ‘fishbowl’ online discussions on solidarity and working conditions, as well as outreach and promotion. Thanks to the format of a fishbowl, all attendees have the chance to join the online discussion. The event is organised in cooperation with twelve Creative Europe MEDIA Desks.
In Playground Documentary, filmmakers meet international experts to tackle the thorny topics of social media marketing, digital distribution, digital storytelling and editing in documentary film.
DOK.fest München is the first major German documentary film festival to be held online since corona breakout. It will screen online 121 films from 42 countries (159 had confirmed for the original festival). Of these, 21 films are world-premiering while another 69 celebrate their German premiere.
All three competition series will take place as planned, DOK.international, DOK.deutsch and DOK.horizonte, and all 14 prizes will be awarded.
The DOK.focus Lasting Memories section focuses on contemporary witnesses of National Socialism and how future generations will deal with their legacy. The festival presents a day dedicated to pan-Africanism and the new DOK.music series, presented by ARTE, “serves us musical seductions for both eyes and ears,” the festival notes read.
In a joint address statement festival directors Adele Kohout and Daniel Sponsel comment, very much with the pandemic in mind:
“In the spirit of a wonderful text by the theatre director Jochen Schölch, it can be said that the documentary film celebrates life in its contradictions and inner conflict. It tells us stories about humanity and its fallibility, about everything that makes us human. Documentary films are above all living places of memory: everything that seems to be very present on the screen is in reality already past and releases us into an uncertain future. Our awareness of this uncertainty is the essence, and grants us the freedom to choose our further path.”