The promotion of young filmmakers is an important matter the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival concerns itself with. The section DokfestEducation is an expression of this commitment. Imparting expert knowledge, taking up and critically discussing new developments, establishing contacts and networking – these are the goals of DokfestEducation.

Since the end of last year, the “HAB – Hessen Abschlussförderung: Projekt-Förderung für künstlerische und gestalterische Studien-Abschlussarbeiten in zeitbasierten Medien und Bewegtbild” (HAB – Hesse Degree Project Funding: Funding for Final Degree Projects in Time-based Media and Moving Image for Students of Design and the Arts) has been awarded for works by students. Now, for the first time, Kassel Dokfest is presenting a selection of films that have since then been realized with support of this Hessian talent promotion.

The DokfestEducation section includes the presentation of international, film-cultural institutions. This year, an international film distribution, a university and a film festival will be presented, giving interested viewers the opportunity to reflect concepts of film production, as well as considering structural and content-related aspects of curatorial work (especially curatorial work related to film). Guests will be the distribution of the internationally renowned Eye Film Museum Eye Experimental, with the program "Frame x Frame – Reflections on Form and Matter"; the XPOSED Queer Film Festival with the program "Everyone in Between: Queer Longings" and the Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Łódź,  as well as the associated vnLab (Visual Narratives Laboratory), which will present its progressive research approach.

This year’s edition of Profis Plaudern Praxis XIV / PraxisDokfest poses the question, whether film and media production is possible with a holistic approach that considers current discourses around inclusive action, work-life balance, gender parity, fair wages and ecological sustainability.

The hFMA

The Hessen Film and Media Academy (hFMA) supports the HHFT, the Hessian University Film Day, significantly. As a teaching, research and production association of independent universities, the central aim of the hFMA network is to connect the broad spectrum of film and media study programs in Hesse and to create a synergetic added value. With new ideas and in various cooperations, the hFMA realizes this matter in different projects – such as the HHFT.

The Hessian University Film Day is an event for invited professionals and accredited festival guests only. As part of the Hessian University Film Day (HHFT), the four Hessian universities that offer study programs in the field of film present a selection of their current and best feature, animation, experimental and documentary film works. Students will

Additionally, students will have the opportunity to pitch their newest ideas to an audience of industry professionals.

The aim of the HHFT is to establish a connection between Hessian students and graduates and the film and television industry, in order to promote future cooperation.

For this purpose, the HHFT invites editors, producers, festival directors and distributors as well as members of various industry institutions every year. After viewing the program, the industry professionals and professors make a pre-selection for HESSEN TALENTS, a project of the hFMA, which is presented at the European Film Market of the Berlinale.

In order to intensify the exchange at the HHFT, students as well as industry professionals are invited to present themselves and their projects and thereby establish new contacts. In addition, all visitors will have the opportunity to give students specific feedback on their projects.

The HHFT is supported by the Kassel Dokfest and the Hessen Film and Media Academy (hFMA), and organized and carried out by students of the Kunsthochschule Kassel.

Further information:

Starting in 2014, the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival expanded its profile by the presentation of a European film and media distributor, addressing both structural aspects and the substance of their activities. This year we are pleased to present Eye Experimental.

Eye manages the national film heritage of the Netherlands and maintains a collection that contains more than 54,000 films – among them a large collection of Dutch experimental films. Films whose subject matter, approach and format are unique. Eye is committed to preserving and promoting this collection through the international distribution of new Dutch experimental films and artistic moving image works via the Eye Experimental catalog.

presented by Edith van der Heijde

Since 2014, Kassel Dokfest annually presents one international film festival to broaden its profile and to document bridging the gap to other festivals that put together their programs with a similar focus but with the same passion.

The XPOSED Queer Film Festival Berlin was founded in 2006 as a community event for experimental short film. Since then XPOSED has grown continuously and stands for the belief that queer stories mean more than coming-out and boy-meets-boy. The festival showcases the diversity of sexual and gender identities and queer experiences around the world. Queer film is about much more than representation. XPOSED stands for a queer politics that does not primarily fight for acceptance, but is wild, poetic and searching. The festival focuses on short film programs in which documentary, scenic and narrative films come together, and the big screen becomes a meeting place for the community. Every year, film enthusiasts organize the festival on a precarious or voluntary basis – with a critical eye on societal circumstances and a lot of love for the world.

Presented by Merle Groneweg

For 30 years now, the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival has been presenting a European film school. For this purpose, some of the students of the respective university, as well as their professors, are invited to Kassel to present a selection of their works. The discussions that follow the screenings give the audience the opportunity to talk to the lecturers, as well as to the young filmmakers to learn more about European film and teaching approaches at other film schools. In addition, this event offers the opportunity to establish important contacts for both sides. This year, we are dedicating the university portrayal to the Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Łódź. Founded in 1948, it is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious film schools in the world. The "Hollywood Reporter" places it among the best film schools every year in its annual ranking.

Presented by Martin Rath & Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz

Through the pilot program of the Polish Ministry of Science and Education – the "Regional Excellence Initiative" – the Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Łódź received a grant in 2019 to establish a modern, multimedia "Visual Narratives Laboratory". The creation of the laboratory stems from the realization that the digital revolution in media is not only a fact, but is also increasingly impacting the field of artistic practices of film – such as documentary formats, animation and photography. The stated goal is to engage the lab in the creative development of contemporary technologies related to narrative, such as cinematic VR, stereoscopy, interactive documentaries and other visual forms, as well as digital multimedia publications.

Presented by Katarzyna Boratyn, Dagna Kidoń & Michał Matuszewski

Inclusive actions, work-life-balance, gender parity, fair wages and ecological sustainability. Present societal discourse revolves around forms of diversity, justice and compensation. Artistic and cultural work has always had a significant role in this debate: On the one hand, it is the motor and mirror of social questions and expressions – sometimes with the intend to act as a role-model. On the other hand, it cannot deprive itself from critical (self-)evaluation: Imbalances are thematized and their corrections worked out.

Engaged initiatives, associations and reports of the sector have been making this clear for years: They demand change through union and make their topics visible. They set goals, introduce facts to the debate and define new standards. Fairness has many facets in the film- and media production, it follows the realization of a work from the idea to the marketing. The industry has reacted and increasingly connects funding to sustainability and fairness concepts. For the newcomers in the sector it’s clear: you want to do right by your own ideals, feel responsibility and thereby connect to the sense that is in one’s work.

With this year’s theme of Profis Plaudern Praxis XIV, we want to give young creatives the resources to orient themselves in the tense field of an idealistic debate by way of concrete pragmatic conditions and thus learn to position themselves. We want to reflect questions of funding and pay in (low budget) production, discrimination vs. inclusion in the film sector, green producing and sustainability as funding criteria in project conceptualization as well as priority in the tense field of fair production together and show strategies for actions

Free registration until November 17, via Anna Bell:

For the past 25 years, the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival has presented a film school from another European country each year, independently of the works selected from the regular program. For this purpose, some of the students from the respective institution are invited to Kassel together with their professors and then present their most recent works. This year we are focusing on Hessian film schools, because adequate support for university and graduation films is sorely lacking in the funding landscape here. This is about to change, as the universities in Darmstadt, Kassel, Offenbach and Wiesbaden have laid the foundation for an ambitious program to support graduation projects.

The initiative HAB – Hesse Degree Project Funding, a cross-university graduation funding program for students in art, film and media degree programs at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, the Kunsthochschule Kassel, the University of Art and Design Offenbach and the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden, which cooperate in the network of the Hessian Film and Media Academy (hFMA), is an important Hessian talent funding program that is currently being set up. This aims to improve the transition from student life to professional life. The measure is intended to promote young talents in the final stage of education and thus close the gap to a systematic promotion of young talent in the field of film and media.

The HAB – Hesse Degree Project Funding, which starts during the degree program, and the STEP program of HessenFilm und Medien GmbH, which has already started for post-degree projects, thus form a decisive alliance. The aim is to provide more support for outstanding young talents in the film and media sector during their studies in Hessen and to counteract the exodus to other attractive funding locations.

This is made possible by targeted support that offers students the opportunity to develop, realize and complete their final project free of restrictions due to scarce resources while at the same time ensuring high quality.

With regard to professional life and the possibility of further systematic promotion (for example through the HessenFilm und Medien GmbH), the graduation project represents the first key reference. For graduates, the portfolios developed during the course of their studies, and especially the graduation project, are an important ticket to employment in the professional cultural and creative industries beyond the formal university degree – especially in creative courses of study such as the film and media sector.

The aim of the planned funding is to support Hessian students in the realization of innovative, experimental, artistic and creative film and media content, technologies, applications and formats as well as enhancing their quality. This counteracts the structural disadvantage compared to the possibilities of funding for graduation projects at other film and media locations at the federal level. In addition, it increases visibility in trans-regional networks (e.g. workshops, festivals, markets, fairs, conferences).

At this crucial stage of artistic development, the networking of the universities and their students via the hFMA with future funding institutions and the cultural landscape of Hesse can be enhanced. A high level of synergy is also expected for research and teaching at the universities. One example of this is the organised, cross-university forums of the funding recipients, who present their projects to each other, enter into a creative and substantive exchange and thus can find cooperation partners and build networks beyond their own university.

The Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences finances its HAB contribution through budget resources from the Media Department. The Kunsthochschule Kassel, the University of Art and Design Offenbach and the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden are to receive funds from the Hessian Higher Education Pact for the implementation of the HAB concept. An advisory board of high-profile film and media professionals will guide the HAB funding: Anna Schoeppe (HessenFilm und Medien GmbH), Anne- Kathrin Brinkmann (ZDF/arte), Stefan Weil (Atelier Markgraph GmbH Frankfurt).

In close cooperation with the universities from the hFMA network and with support from the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts, a groundbreaking promotion of creative talent is thus being established in Hesse. The Kassel Dokfest and the B3 Biennale of the Moving Image Frankfurt support this initiative with the presentation of the graduation projects of the participating universities and thus offer attractive platforms to establish sustainable connections between professionals from the various media and creative industries and young creatives, thereby promoting exchange between them.