The final program in 2017 has been selected from more than 500 feature film submissions. The criteria, which influence the selection, are the political, social and cultural relevance of the topics as well as the artistic handling of this topic in the submitted work. Next to more classical forms of presentation, the Dokfest is open for the introduction of innovative formats, which show alleged boundaries of the genre, the might and the power of manipulation of images. Furthermore low or no budget productions, works by up-and-coming artists as well as new projects of well-known filmmakers at the Kassel Dokfest receive special attention during the selection process: because accompanying documentary works-in-progress continually is as important to us as offering a platform for the perspectives of bold and extraordinary projects.
A viewing committee, consisting of five people with different professional backgrounds (since 2009), is responsible for the selection of this section. Next to their interest in the political and cultural happenings of the world and their curiosity towards courageous and unconventional (life) stories, this group of four is unified in a cinematic obsession for documentary film in all its topical and aesthetic forms as well as their pleasure in passionate discussion about the best documentary films for the Kassel film festival.
Obviously, the selection is only able to show a part of the increasing abundance of documentary work every year, trying to none-the-less cover a broad spectrum of topics and forms and reaching an equally broad audience during the festival days.
Short Film Compilations
204 short and mid-length documentary and experimental films have been presented at the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival in 2017.
The six members of the selection committee had the task of capturing the themes and trends in contemporary film production from around 2,000 films up to a length of 65 mins submitted. The result is a program ranging from observational documentaries to abstract animations, personal essays to queer political music videos to artistic-activist field tests. From films sighting places to family portraits, an incredible diversity of filmic examination of reality.
Filmmaking is a constant renegotiation of visibility, which produces the new and replaces and overlaps with the old. The way in which we speak of the world and create images for this purpose is highly dependent of the generation we are part of, the times and the societal circumstances we live in; this means that history is written in the present. The view upon the past is always negotiable. It remains something that can't be fixated and is rather ambivalent. The task of filmmaking – dealing with history and memory – is a challenge but it is possible, as the short films of this year's Kassel Dokfest prove. We have learned from history that there is such a thing as wrong interpretation and polarization, which incites hate, feeds and creates fears. The short films of 2017 deal with this process of interpretation and encourage a debate about how we can create a narrative, which does not polarize, does not discriminate, does not label people, which takes down physical and psychological barriers and is not part of nation state discourses.
Golden Hercules – Film Program from Northern Hesse
One of the declared aims of the Kassel Dokfest is to present regional works next to the works of international filmmakers and artists – on equal terms. The festival program includes 50 fictional, animation or documentary films of filmmakers from Northern Hesse. The commitment to the region – approximately 20 per cent of all presented works are from Northern Hesse – is very important for the Kassel Dokfest. The last years have shown that local talent and regional works are by all means able to compete and that the festival can serve as a steppingstone to national and international recognition.
On the occasion of the honorary prize awarded to Rotraut Pape in 2016, the Kassel Dokfest showed Fulldome films for the first time. Due to the great interest it attracted and as an addition to the festival profile, 2017, the Kassel Dokfest presented eight innovative Fulldome films, which gave an insight into the new possibilities of the medium of dome films.
Klaus Dufke (FH Potsdam), Rotraut Pape (HfG Offenbach) as well as Micky Remann (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar) have compiled the program with friendly support of the FullDome Festival Jena.
Completely submerging in an illusion is an ancient goal of humanity and art. The Dome, always a special place in the course of our cultural history, as a place of refuge and worship (caves), as an interface (church), a manifestation of power (architecture) and imagination (holodeck), as well as spirituality (firmament). After special planetariums were equipped with new projection technology, an innovative, audiovisual medium arose, taking account of this very special spatial situation in immersive experienced films: the fulldome film.
The audience is surrounded by images and sound and has to move independently to follow the stories. Liberated from the perspective of the external observer, one no longer sits in front of the stage or screen but rather in the midst of things and from then on shifts into the center of the world as viewer.
A Wall Is A Screen
Both guided city tour and outdoor short film screening, the Hamburg collective A Wall Is A Screen returns to Kassel. A Wall is a Screen creates a new context for the moving image and takes over neglected spaces, familiar buildings and commercial facades for ten minutes of lovingly curated short film before moving on to the next location. This temporary symbiosis between film and architecture creates a new perception of and in the public space.
Let's shed a different light onto the city's architecture and transform the nightly Kassel into a special one time venue.
The tour lasts about 90 minutes and will take place in any weather.