The works we select for our programme afford insight into familiar and unfamiliar lifestyles, address current political issues and expose social systems and their imbalances. At the same time, the films’ creative styles reflect new trends in documentary and animated film.
DOK Leipzig endeavours to present these films to as wide an audience as possible and thus to contribute to a dialogue about art and the world we live in – a dialogue that will hopefully encourage people to embrace new perspectives and resolve conflicts.
“We want to bring outstanding artistic films and XR works together with people. Our aim is to create an atmosphere in which the audience can trust us and in which hearts and eyes remain open.”
Founded in 1955, DOK Leipzig is the oldest documentary film festival in the world. It looks back on more than 65 years of eventful and conflicting history.
During the festival week, DOK Leipzig is present throughout the city. Numerous cinemas and other locations turn into venues for the festival, we even show films in a pop-up cinema at Leipzig's central station every year.
Viewing films together and discussing films together – DOK Leipzig is, more than anything, a platform for dialogue and debate. Q&As with the filmmakers, talks and master classes encourage an exchange about film as an art form and about artistic approaches in dealing with the world we live in. In our discussion forums and film programme, we also deliberately juxtapose opposing standpoints and invite our audience to engage with controversial issues.
The extended reality exhibition DOK Neuland enriches our film programme with a range of immersive works. With the potential of new media such as virtual Reality, augmented Reality or 360° film, these projects question conventional narrative forms and open up new audio-visual experiences for the visitors.
DOK Leipzig is both a public festival and a meeting place for the international documentary film industry. DOK Industry welcomes some 1,600 trade visitors every year and offers them a marketplace for film projects as well as networking opportunities in an environment conducive to productivity. DOK Industry has established a reputation as an inspiring forum for fresh, creative ideas, collaboration and the promotion and distribution of new film projects.
DOK Leipzig is firmly rooted in Leipzig as a city of arts and culture and regularly collaborates with local arts institutions. We are also closely involved with many national and international initiatives and institutions. Through our film programme and collaborations, we maintain our longstanding affinity with Central and Eastern Europe and bring filmmakers from these regions together with other international representatives of the industry.
Have a look at our programme overview to discover more.
Alongside the annual festival and industry platform, other formats also supplement DOK Leipzig:
- DOK Education offers schools the opportunity to select films that fit their curriculum and explore them with pupils.
- Kids DOK provides the youngest festival guests with films suitable for ages 3+.
- “DOK im Knast” visits inmates at the Regis-Breitingen juvenile prison for film showings and discussions.
DOK Leipzig is also present in the city throughout the year beyond the festival week, for example with a summer cinema series.
Festival Recap 2022
The festival editions in 2020 and 2021 were largely affected by the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. Our 63rd edition in autumn 2020 took place as a hybrid version with a reduced film programme. DOK Industry was completely moved online.
With the 64th festival edition in 2021, we gave priority to the cinema screenings again and presented the complete film programme in our Leipzig venues, under the respective Corona regulations. National and international guests were again travelling to the festival and programmes that had been postponed in the previous year, such as the Retrospective, could be screened in the cinemas. In 2021, we implemented DOK Industry as a hybrid event for the first time. Via DOK Stream, a large part of the festival films could be viewed online throughout Germany following the festival week.
The 65th edition of DOK Leipzig also mainly took place in cinemas and venues from 17 to 23 October 2022 – this time fortunately with very few restrictions. After the festival week, the "DOK Stream" featured eleven award-winning films online. DOK Industry events also took place primarily on location in Leipzig again. Accredited participants could additionally follow individual formats online via livestreams. More information on DOK Leipzig 2022 can be found here.
“Films of the World - For World Peace!” was the motto of DOK Leipzig for many years – at that time still called “Internationale Leipziger Dokumentar- und Kurzfilmwoche für Kino und Fernsehen” (International Leipzig Documentary and Short Film Week for Cinema and Television). Linked to this was Pablo Picasso's dove of peace, which the artist had originally designed for the Paris World Peace Conference in 1947. In 1962, he gave permission for his dove to be the festival’s emblem.
The dove is still a symbol for the core values of the festival: peace, human dignity, inclusion and diversity.
DOK Leipzig does not pursue any political or aesthetic ideology. Instead, its programme is designed to allow a variety of perspectives and to encourage intense discussions on all subjects without taboos, in a fair and respectful manner. The festival takes a clear stand against any form of discrimination, racism, or physical or emotional violence.
Our aim is to enable people with different needs to watch and discuss films together. That's why we work to ensure that everyone has access to the festival with as few barriers as possible. Every year we provide audio description and SDH subtitles for a selection of films in our programme. We also offer programmes for families as well as free admission events.
Inclusion, diversity and sustainability are important social issues of our time, which DOK Leipzig has been dealing with increasingly for some years now. In our entire festival work, we are trying to involve and represent as wide a range of different social realities as possible. Continuing to develop into a more diversity-conscious, eco-aware cultural institution is a core goal that we are pursuing.
Each year at DOK Leipzig we welcome
- approximately 42,000 visitors
- and around 1,600 guests at the DOK Industry platform
At DOK Leipzig 2022, we presented
- 255 films and XR works from 55 countries
- 50 events for industry professionals
- 24 awards
- 40 world, 8 international, 7 European and 19 German premieres in the competitions
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