The documentary feature film traditionally constitutes the center piece of the Kassel Dokfest. 54 films will be presented during this year's festival in the cinemas “Gloria” and “Filmladen”. This section shows documentary films with a total running time of more than 65 minutes; one focus lies on film productions from German-speaking regions.
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.
Every year the committee members take part in several national and international film festivals and other meetings of the film industry. Here the aim is to get an overview of the newest productions and foster contacts with filmmakers, before the main viewing process of the yearly submissions starts in the late summer months.
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.
Documentary films have looked at us with many different faces. They are equally at home in the world of art but can also be used for scientific purposes. Or even as a remedy for dealing with the past.
Films, which deal with strokes of fate, family dramas and secrets of the past, can also act as a motivational factor for filmmakers to face their own story via film. In the student production DEAR ME, Luise Makarov writes a letter to herself, the one she never received from her ex-boyfriend. Experienced filmmakers such as Thomas Frickel don’t shy away from the confrontation with painful experiences of loss or processing it through the burning lens of filmmaking in WUNDER DER WIRKLICHKEIT. A family secret – which transgresses the boundaries of birth and overflows into the next generation, like the “pink elephant” in the room that nobody wishes to talk about – is the trigger for WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND.
Apple and Volcano – In Search of What Remains is a production, which raises the question of how to deal with the awareness that life is finite.
Another focus for this year's selection lies on films, which create a bigger context than merely showing a singular fate and therefore display the immanent correlations of society. The films range from the question of “What is a human life worth?”, which is answered by the restitution specialist and attorney Ken Feinberg in the film PLAYING GOD to a marginal phenomenon, which has been gaining popularity in Scandinavia: In HOBBYHORSE REVOLUTION, we encounter young people training hard with their hobbyhorses, gathering at large tournaments or simply “going for a ride”. A Dublin based bed shop sends its employee to stand at an intersection for promotional purposes, wrapped up in a mattress. If this will be enough to save the shop from bankruptcy and personal life is shown in MATTRESS MEN. “If there is no money there, I'll just become a soldier, then my mom will be happy”, a young Argentinian man confesses in the film SOLDADO. And how can political participation be encouraged during a film festival? For example, by putting the portrait of AFD politician Jörg Meuthen (MEUTHENS PARTY) or the political concerts of Feine Sahne Fischfilet (WILDES HERZ) up for discussion.
The Team of the feature film section is looking forward to watching and discussing this year's films together with you.
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