The Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival understands itself as a lively forum for the presentation and discussion of documentary work. The extraordinary significance of the younger generation of filmmakers is underlined by the Golden Key award endowed with 5,000 € in total, divided in 2,500 € for the best documentary short film up to 66 minutes and 2,500 € for the best documentary feature film of more than 66 minutes.
The Golden Key is sponsored by the City of Kassel. Documentary films and videos of all formats and lengths, whose directors were not older than 35 years at the time of the completion of the work, are eligible. The selection committees can decide about exceptions to this rule and nominate around 20 works for this award.
The Golden Key is listed as an officially authorized competition by the German Federal Film Board (FFA). Films with a duration of up to 30 minutes can collect five points to apply for financial support of the FFA by participating in the competition.
Markus Fiedler is a Hamburg based filmmaker and psychologist. For twenty years he works in the field of documentaries and essay films as a director, cinematographer and editor. Fiedler's artistic approach to his work is orientated towards the reciprocal relation between the filmmaker and the protagonists, concerning the process of filmmaking itself as well as its product. He represents a collective of directors that won last year's edition of the Golden Key with the film Cast Away Souls.
Volko Kamensky is a filmmaker, visual artist and author. He teaches and researches on Theory and Practice of Film and is co-editor of the anthologies "Ton. Texts on acoustics in Documentary" (Berlin 2013) and "Daniele Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub: Writings" (Berlin 2020). Since 2019 he is part of the team of the dokumentarfilmwoche Hamburg.
Anca Paunescu was born in Romania and graduated in German Philology and Documentary film at the Prague Film School. Paunescu has worked as a director and cinematographer on several documentary and promotional films screened at numerous European film festivals. She currently is the main programmer for documentary film at the Neisse Film Festival, Germany; preselector of feature documentaries for the DokuFest International Film Festival Prizren, and for FIPADOC International Documentary Festival.
Susanne Völker (non-partisan) has been Head of the Department of Culture of the City of Kassel since 2017. Prior to this, the art historian and cultural manager was entrusted with the project management of GRIMMWELT Kassel. In 2015 she successfully opened the internationally renowned house as founding director, which she managed until 2018. She studied art history, philosophy, law and museum management in Hamburg and Vienna. She represents an approach of transdisciplinary and participatory cultural policy.
Helena Wittmann originally studied Spanish and Media Studies in Erlangen and Hamburg. She then continued at The Academy of Fine Arts Hamburg (HFBK) where she graduated. Her films, among them her debut feature film DRIFT (2017), had been shown internationally and received several awards. She taught at HFBK from 2015 to 2018 and is currently mentoring at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola in Spain. She is responsible for the cinematography of several films by other authors.
2019 Feature Film: Jialing Zhang und Nanfu Wang: One Child Nation
2019 Shortfilm: Markus Fiedler, Nanna Katrine Hansen, Thomas Elsted and Stanley Edwards: Cast Away Souls
2018 Feature Film: Jasmin Preiß: Sweet Meadow
2018 Shortfilm: Agnes Lisa Wegner: No Fucking Ice Cream
2017 Ziad Kalthoum: Taste of Cement
2016 Ognjen Glavonic: Dubina Dva
2015 Mea de Jong: If Mama Ain't Happy, Nobody's Happy
2014 Leslie Tai: The Private Life of Fenfen
2013 Gabriel Serra: La parka
2012 Antoine Bourges: East Hastings Pharmacy
2011 Carmen Losmann: Work Hard - Play Hard
2010 Viera Cákanyová: Alda
2009 Thomas A. Østbye: Human
2008 Mario Hirasaka: Die Ryozanpaku
2007 Jess Feast: Cowboys & Communists
2006 Sarah Vanagt: Begin Began Begun
2005 Susanne Jaeger: Vater und Feind
2004 Alexandra Gulea: Die Daumendreher (GOD PLAYS SAX; THE DEVIL VIOLIN)
2003 Sandra Jakisch: 08/15 – Leben am Rand von Köln
2002 Klaus Stern: Andreas Baader- Der Staatsfeind