Golden Key

The Golden Key will award an outstanding documentary work of a young director. The City of Kassel supports the prize for the 19th time. The Golden Key is awarded in two categories: for the best documentary short film, up to 66 minutes, and the best documentary feature film, of more than 66 minutes. Each prize is endowed with 2.500€. Nominated are works whose directors were not older than 35 years by the time the work was completed. In justified cases the selection committee of the festival decides about exceptions regarding this regulation. The selection committees have selected 24 works out of the festival program to be nominated for the Golden Key.  

Since 2017 the Golden Key is listed as an officially accepted competition of the German National Film Board (FFA). Films produced in Germany with a running time up to 30 minutes are able to collect 5 Points for reference film funding with a nomination.

Jury 2021

Francesca Bertin was born in Italy and studied film at the Academy of Fine Art in Hamburg and Law at the University of Trento. She participated in the Werkleitz Professional Media Master Class in Halle (Saale). Francesca works as a film director and media artist; her films have been shown and awarded at various international festivals. She lives and works in Hamburg and is a fellow at the artist residency Vorwerk-Stift. In 2020 she won the Golden Key award for the best short film at the Kassel Dokfest with her work L`Artificio.

Jutta Brendemühl is the Program Curator at the Goethe-Institut Toronto, the founding curator of GOETHE FILMS @ TIFF Lightbox, and a board director of the EU Film Festival Toronto and the Toronto Arab Film Festival. Jutta creates engaging arts programs through a global lens and has worked with Bertolucci, Wenders, Rauschenberg, Bausch and others. She holds an M.A. in English Literature and is a fellow of the Toronto Cultural Leaders Lab. Her writing has appeared in POV, DIE ZEIT, German Film @ Canada et al.

Radu Ciorniciuc is a film director, cinematographer and investigative journalist. In 2012 he co-founded the first independent media organization in Romania - Casa Jurnalistului; a community of reporters specialized in in-depth, long-form, and multimedia reporting. Since then, Radu has been working as a long-form writer and undercover investigative reporter for most major international newspapers and televisions. His researches are focused on human rights, animal welfare, and environmental issues across the globe. His debut feature documentary film,"Acasă, My Home" won the Golden Key award at Kassel Dokfest 2020.

Heleen Gerritsen studied Slavonic languages and international economics in Amsterdam and St. Petersburg. In 2003 she moved to Berlin where, after a course in film production, she started working as a producer, scriptwriter and festival manager, mostly with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe. From 2014 to 2016 Heleen headed European documentary film festival dokumentART in Neubrandenburg. Since October 2017 Heleen is at the helm of goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, organized by DFF - Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum in Wiesbaden.

Jan Künemund is a media scholar, film journalist and curator (Berlin). He was born in Schwerte and studied Literature, Sociology and Linguistics in Bochum. 2006-2015 public relations work for the film distributor Edition Salzgeber in Berlin. Editor of the queer cinema mag SISSY. 2015-21 research and teaching at the University of Hildesheim. Film critic, co-author of the feature film „Lichtes Meer“ (2015), member of the selection committee of the Duisburger Filmwoche and consultant for the Berlinale Forum.

Erika Wackerbarth works for the Cultural Office of the City of Kassel, where her responsibilities include institutional funding and art in public spaces. She studied folklore, ethnology and German studies with a focus on the sociology of everyday life. After further training in the field of public relations, she previously worked for several years in press and internet editing.

Award winners

2021 Feature Film: Stefan Pavlovic: Looking for Horses

2021 Short Film: Guang Liu: 当海里长出森林 (When the Sea Sends Forth a Forest)

2020 Feature Film: Radu Ciorniciuc: Acasa  – My Home

2020 Shortfilm: Francesca Bertin: L`Artificio

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